How to Transfer Photos to Wood
The first time I heard about transferring a photo to wood I thought it would be some elaborate project that you would require a special machine. Fortunately, it can be done at home in less than a day. This instructable will cost you as little as $40 depending on what supplies you choose to use.
Step 1: Supplies Overview
· Laser printed photo
· Piece of wood
· Gel Medium (must be an acrylic gel medium)
· Brush to apply gel medium to wood
· Butter knife or flat instrument to smooth out print onto wood
· Wood stain (optional) and rag
· Soft Wax or Mod Podge to smooth and seal print
· Brush to apply wax or Mod Podge
Step 2: Selecting Your Photo
The first step requires you to select the photo you wish to use fortransferring to wood. A high resolution, vibrant picture (color or black and white can be used) works best. If you desire to use a specific photo that isn’t vibrant in color, you can edit it in photoshop to allow for a higher quality transfer to the wood. Make sure the photo you use laser jet print; ink jet will not transfer properly. You can get a laser jet print made at stores like OfficeMax or Staples. The average cost is around $2.
Step 3: Wood Selection and Applying Gel Medium
It’s best to try and select a piece of wood as close to the size of your print as possible, but it is not required. You can easily find the wood you need at Menards or Home Depot for anywhere from $10-$50 depending on the size you need. After purchasing your piece of wood, you need to apply a single layer of the gel medium to the entire surface of the wood. Not too thin but not gloopy either. If you get the layer too thick the paper will be hard to get off when it’s done setting. Too thin and the paper won’t stick at certain points and the print may not transfer.
Step 4: Applying the Photo
After the gel medium is applied, it’s time to place the print face down onto the wood. This part can be nerve racking, but it is required to complete the project. Do your best attempt at getting the photo on straight and flat with minimal air bubbles. You will need to smooth our as many air bubbles as possible. Use a spoon (like I did), butter knife, ruler, or anything you think that might work. After the print is applied let it dry for at least eight hours and make sure you do not touch it.
Step 5: Revealing the Wood Print
The most exciting, yet tedious part is revealing the print. To remove the paper photo get it wet and begin to rub it off. I found that my fingers worked best for removing the paper from the wood. This can be messy and somewhat strenuous at times but be persistent and eventually all the paper will rub off. You may need to repeat the process a few times as well.
Step 6: Finishing the Print
After you’ve removed all the paper we can begin to seal the print. You can either use “Mod Podge” or Soft Wax for sealing the print, however Soft Wax is considerably more expensive then Mod Podge. Apply the Mod Podge to a sponge and begin dabbing it all over the print. You only want a thin layer to make the print nice and smooth. After the Mod Podge has dried wipe the print down with a rag to remove any excess Mod Podge and to make the print appear shiny.
And that’s all there is to it! This project can very heavily in cost and time, depending on how complex you are willing to make it. Hopefully my instructable was easy, simple and fun. I hope I inspired you to make your own wood print