Ink Jet to Wood Using Rice Paper and Polyurethane




This is a simple easy method to put your printer design on wood and allow the wood grain to show through.
The rice paper becomes transparent when wetted and effectively disappears, leaving only your design on the wood.

Step 1: Rice Paper

Buy some rice paper preferably flat and sized for your inkjet printer so you will not need to cut it into 8x11 sheets like I did

Step 2: Printing

Printing the design on the rice paper is the hardest part of this process. Delicately feed the rice paper into the printer. Sometimes it wrinkles and doesn't feed correctly.

Step 3: Poly

Waterbased polyurethane, this is the type I had so this is what I used.

Step 4: Application

I'm using pine 1x8 board.

Paint the poly on the wood and gently place your design in the spot you want it.
As soon as the rice paper gets wet you will not want to try and move it as it gets fragile.

Smooth out wrinkles and bubbles with fingers and more poly on your brush.

Be careful to brush too much as you will start to lift the ink from the paper.

Step 5: Finished Product

This poly drys so quickly it's done in 30 minutes the label says 2 hours.

In case you are wondering a color photo as applyed using the same technique, I don't think it's as nice of an effect.

Step 6: Simple, Easy

I first got the idea for this process on Instructables when researching creating long boards.
That process uses epoxy fiberglass, and creates a similar effect.
The waterbased polyurethane in this method is so much easier to use than the epoxy.
The most difficult part of this process is getting your printer to print on the delicate rice paper.
No need to reverse the image and no need to wait 24 hours or run paper off.



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    11 Discussions


    Question 6 months ago

    I've tried this a few times, but always have bubbles, once soaked up. I've tried rolling out the bubbles and gently stretching the paper. I'm always afraid I'll tear it. Bubbles always come back before curing. Any tips? Thanks


    2 years ago

    wow.. super cool! Thanks. I will give it a try.


    2 years ago

    This looks so cool! But what exactly is rice paper and where could I get it? When I google it I only find the stuff to make spring rolls, but that's not it, I guess? :-)

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    if you google - rice paper sheets art - , you'll find it. Art supply stores carry it; I know it's used for calligraphy.


    2 years ago

    Genial!! La única duda es, ¿si valdría también con una impresora láser?


    2 years ago

    Looks like this is a great way to make a cross between decals and decoupage.

    OK so who's going to volunteer to try this with an (old) laser printer? :)

    Solves the problem of the poly/brushing lifting the ink, but maybe rice paper (even bonded to an A4 sheet for handling) and the hot roller/fuser won't get on well?


    2 years ago

    Brilliant! I've been doing this by printing on wax paper (mirror image) and then carefully placing the paper face down, rubbing the ink onto the surface. It's tough to line up, easily smudges and when done correctly is still very faint. This has that technique beat in spades! Just a suggestion I've learned from the wax paper, use 4 small pieces of tape to just hold the points of the corners on a regular sheet of paper. It will go through the printer much easier. Thanks for the instructable!


    2 years ago

    Good suggestion, use the method that best works with your printer.


    2 years ago

    Patents look cool printed on wood