Transfer Inkjet Photos to Wood - Last Minute Christmas Gifts!




About: Hello my name is Gideon, I am into architecture and I do some arts and crafts for fun :)

Hello everybody and Merry Christmas!

Coming up to Christmas fast here and do you still not finished your shopping for presents? Well I have a quick and easy tutorial here for you to make a amazing custom printed wood piece!

I made one for my Uncle for a family gift exchange! He loves sailing and owns his own sailboat, so I got a photo of it and edited it a bit and pasted it on some old plywood with a sailing quote!

This also can make great ornaments if you have small circular pieces of wood, you would just drill a hole in the top and hang it on the tree.

I hope you enjoy and voting is greatly appreciated!

Step 1: What You Need

There are very few things you need for this.

  • Some sticker paper (8.5" x 11") or wax paper cut down to 8.5" x 11"
  • Inkjet printer
  • Ply wood
  • Sand paper
  • Clear gloss wood finish (I use Polyurethane clear gloss) - Optional
  • Foam brush

Step 2: Printing

First, find a photo you want to use for this.

Next edit it until you are satisfied with how it looks.

Print it out to whatever size you pick, if it is too small or too big just adjust it to the right size. Do not print on wax paper/sticker paper.

Once you get the photo printed out to the size you are satisfied with cut out a piece of ply wood so that your photo will fit it. I suggest keeping a inch extra on each side rather then exactly perfect fit for your photo.

Next invert the photo horizontal, when you print it out make sure it comes out mirrored. Once again fit the photo to the wood to make sure it fits right.

Step 3: Prepping the Wood

Once you have your ply wood cut out to the right size to fit your photo use sand paper to make the surface smooth.

Sand down the corners and make sure there are no sharp edges.

Note: If you skip this step the ink might not look right on the wood and will have streaks of ink.

Step 4: Applying the Ink to the Wood

If you are using sticker paper, peel off the stickers and place it face down in your printer so that the ink prints on the glossy side.

Next print out your photo onto the glossy wax paper or sticker paper. Optional: You can cut the wax paper/sticker paper to match the size of the wood to make sure it is aligned correctly

Grab the prepared wood and place the wax paper/sticker paper face down on the wood. Use a credit card or in my case and old gift card and firmly smooth the ink into the wood, make sure the paper does not move while doing this or it will smear.

Go over the paper with the card several times, slowly peal a small corner of the the print and make sure the ink has applied on the wood. If it is then peel off the paper, if not then spend another minute or two using the card to push on the back of the paper.

Once you peel off the paper let it dry for about 30 minutes to an hour. Optional: You can use the sand paper again if you want to fade the photo a small amount but is not advised because you can ruin the print.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Once the ink is done drying on the wood get your wood clear glossy finish and follow the directions on the can and use the foam brush to apply.

This step is kind of optional, if you don't have the clear finish you can go without it but won't look as good if you were to use it.

Once the finish has completely dried it is ready to go!

I hope you enjoyed this instructable and would greatly appreciate a vote!

Thank you and Merry Christmas!!

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017



    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I have tried printing on wax paper with my hp printer and it just makes sparse color droplets and is unusable. Any suggestions on making it print better? I have adjusted it for best print to no avail. Is sticker paper any better than waxpaper?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hello Gene,

    That does happen sometimes, you could try printing it on fast print or even adjust the print to have less ink, fading it could also work. In my photo at the begining and end of the instrucatable I fadded the boat and the corners to make it look a little more like it was apart of the wood rather then a photo on top.

    I had originally tried wax paper but there was a lot of errors with it so I just switched to the sticker paper as it comes out better.

    Wax paper can work but there are many errors with it and might be more expensive then wax paper.

    Merry Christmas!!


    Reply 1 year ago

    I am not entirely sure what mylar paper is. If it is glossy and can print with your printer without destroying it, it should work :)

    I was originally using wax paper but it kept jamming beacuse I didn't have the right size so I switched to sticker paper, from the images that come up from when I google mylar it looks like it could work!


    1 year ago

    Is the glossy side the page with the stickers or the backside of the stickers?

    Also, when printing, how did you get the Merry Christmas to print correctly instead of backwards?

    I like your simple and easy instructions.

    Merry Christmas!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hey LSU19,

    You want the glossy side up, also when you print you want it on a slower print rather then a fast one so that the ink won't turn into little droplets.

    As for printing out text like that you want to invert the text horizontally, mirroring the text, so if you were to hold it up to a mirror you could read it just fine!

    Thank you and merry christmas!


    Reply 1 year ago

    sticker paper

    Thank you HilliM, sticker paper is well, a page of stickers that you can buy to print out your own stickers. If you do buy some then I'd suggest using them before getting rid of the remains of the stickers if that makes sense. I have a plentiful supply as my mother owns a buisness and has a lot of extra sticker pages unused