Laser Printer Image Transfers




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This is a great way to give digital images a vintage feel. Laser print image transfers are an easy-to-make home decoration, and make great gifts.

For this project I used:

Plywood or 2x6
Masking Tape
Rubber Gloves
Color laser prints.
Paper Towel.

Step 1: Prep Your Piece.

Cut down the laser print to fit the piece of wood that you want to work with, then tape the edges with masking tape.

Step 2: Burnish

Apply some xylol to a paper towel and burnish/rub the back of your piece like crazy. If you have a bone folder available, that works as an excellent burnishing tool.

You will know you have sufficiently burnished the back of your piece when the paper becomes translucent.

Step 3: Check It.

Gently peel back the paper and tape from the wood, check to see if the image has transferred. 

If it seems a little light, you can tape it back down, and repeat step two.

Step 4: Finish.

Allow xylol to dry for about 10 minutes, then it is ready.

That's it! Have fun, try to apply your transfers to paneling, furniture, cutting boards, whatever! It is a good idea to spray paint a layer of clear coat to the finsihed piece.


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22 Discussions


3 years ago

what is xylol I would love to try this transfer but in Australia we do not know where to get xyloy ? Can you please help? kind regards Lisa G

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

I made it! with acetone and it works OK!


Reply 3 years ago

You can use acetone, it's not he same stuff but works.


2 years ago

No need to use chemicals, you can just iron the back of the paper. See

If you use glossy paper it will work even better than in that video.


3 years ago

I wanted to suggest a less-harmful chemical alternative: Citrus Solvent.
I have done that method (using the back of a spoon for burnishing) and it works.
Though for a more vivid, less washed-out look, this is currently the best way I have figured out to do it:

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

awesome video, subscribed... you NEED to make more.... please.


2 years ago

Could this be used to transfer an image onto silk fabric?


2 years ago

Are there particular laser printers that are better for doing transfers? I hear some have output that won't release/transfer.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

I have heard that as well. I find that the paper stock has to be particularly crummy too :P Im using a very old colored laser jet printer, but when i tried to do the same process with a color print off my offices big xerox machine, the paper wouldn't release the color, only black.


6 years ago on Introduction

So it dissolves the toner, which soaks into the wood. Then the solvent evaporates and you're left with a print.
That means you can do this on any porous surface, but don't try it on metal or most plastics (plastics would dissolve anyway...)

2 replies

5 years ago on Introduction

sazure0 seconds agoReply

using these highly toxic (and life damaging) chemicals might wish to
read "Artists Beware" by Michael McCann PhD CIH (who sent me much
information after I ended up nearly dead - building fire and use of
toxic renovation chemicals with no OSHA, MSDS or any safety standards).

One should wear the proper gloves (as another poster mentioned)
as the SKIN is the largest organ and absorbs all into the blood system
whereby it is dispersed to do it's damage to all systems. As well the
nose, lungs direct line to the limbic system of the brain(all aspects
are involved (and the reason one feels "dizzy" the cells are dying and
eventually so will it). A proper OSHA mask is required PLUS powerful
box fans facing OUTWARDS or other proper ventilation. All disposal must
be done properly - toxic pick up days vis a vie your municipal


a person working with art's chemicals for decades, although one could
take precautions often the school (esp printing) classes were not
properly ventilated. I ended up paralyzed - these chemicals acts as
both "sensitizers and anesthetizers" with multi organ damage or near
failure, bleeding internally and much more (and no ability to cognate ie
think or form a thought). They damage all systems, enzyme systems,
cells, tissues, eventually organs. This did not happen overnight and I
was working/living in NYC (33 years) whereby I was obtaining my Masters
in Health care, had a minor in NYC government (who do little to enforce
any regulations), background in biochemistry, decades in arts/advanced
arts chemistry and mother in orthodox medicine. I used entirely
holistic means to recover but can not be around any synthetic chemicals
(perfumes, household products are made from same toxic classes - petro

I remembered a column by Dr. McCann (on chemicals and
cough variant asthma) and he sent me copious information on chemical
injury (MCS, "Sick building syndrome - building toxic, people sick, or
environmental illness - all of which overlaps many other physiological
breakdowns - CFIDS, FM, so on)

It is easy now to read MSDS's...
material safety data sheets and take precautions. It isn't pretty to
die for one's arts/crafts. 500 a month disability and many are homeless
and have to avoid society due to chemical exposures. Plus all of these
are tested on animals (rabbit eyes -draize eye rabbit tests) and 50/50 -
tubes down Beagle throats until 50% die. I know, that was my degree's
research paper.

It took me over 20 years to recover enough to
function again - a huge chuck of my life, goals, were gone forever. I
consider myself "lucky" - many artists are dead (Eva Hesse who used to
work in epoxies greatly) and non artists becoming exposed at work, and
in the home with common products. Others with so called MCS (chemical
injury) are homeless, living in tents and cars. NO art/craft is worth
that MHO.


take care and take a look at this MSDS. This is a partial file. Note
the "central nervous systems" - now I know and it means your brain, and
nervous system. (hence being "paralytic"). The fumes also are heavier
the air meaning they float along the ground (pets are greatly in danger)
esp cats which can do not have the liver detox system for even plant
based chemicals (fragrance and aromatic). (or can build up and ignite if near electrical outlet).


Health Hazards

Harmful by inhalation and in contact with skin. Vapors may

cause drowsiness and dizziness. Slightly irritating to respiratory

system. Irritating to skin. Moderately irritating to eyes. Harmful:

may cause lung damage if swallowed.

of organ or organ system damage from prolonged exposure; see Chapter
11 for details. Target organ(s): Central nervous system (CNS).

Auditory system.

Safety Hazards

Highly flammable.

use, may form flammable/explosive vapour- air mixture. Electrostatic
charges may be generated during pumping . Electrostatic discharge may
cause fire.

Environmental Hazards - :Toxic to aquatic organisms.


Xylene is an organic substance that is toxic to
blood, nervous system, kidney and liver. Xylene is flammable liquid with
flash point 25oC (closed cup). It can be explosive in the form of vapor
when is exposed to open flame, spark or heat.

is generally used as solvent, paint thinner and cleaning agent. Rubber
and leather industries are examples of industry that use xylene in their
production processes.

Special safety precautions
shall be given in case of its handling and storage. All ignition and
heat sources have to be kept away from xylene storage. And all
equipments containing xylene have to be grounded. Meanwhile, in laboratory, xylene has to be stored in flammable safety


7 years ago on Step 4

Xylol is nasty stuff! Use solvent-resistant gloves and a well ventilated area.

Rock on!


7 years ago on Step 4

I think it should work also for magazines photos, the ones printed on glossy paper.
And since toner melts down with heat, you could try transferring using an iron,
using a normal laser black /white print.
Also I dont think xylol is nice to your lungs! :-)



7 years ago on Introduction

Would spritzing the Xylol on help minimize the amount of total fluid used?


7 years ago on Introduction

Of course I'm thinking about Gizmos that use Fabric parts, but news about this went into my Blog:


7 years ago on Introduction

Is xylol one of the more toxic and flammable industrial grade solvents to try?