I really love Photojojo’s weekly emails because they always share some great photography products and DIY projects. It’s always inspiring to skim through their newsletters regardless if I decide to do-it-myself or not.
This week the email featured how to transfer a photo to a block of wood. This is a project I’ve been interested in trying out for awhile and it involves using my recently purchased Mod Podge Starter Kit. And if it turns out well, this project will be great for gift giving.
DIY Photo Transfer To Wood
- Your favorite photo to transfer – of course I used a shot of Chloe for this task
- Light colored wood block – can be purchased at any art/craft store, but if you want to go large for your transfer you may have to go to a Home Depot-type store.
- Simple photo editing program
- Access to a laser printer
- Gift Card (or Bone folder so you can smooth out the image)
- Liquitex Matte Gel Medium (easy to find at any art store in the acrylic paint section)
- Mod Podge with your choice of finish (I went with matte this time, but if I do this project for Megan I’ll use my glitter Mod Podge. Wink, wink.)
- 2 different brushes (I used foam, but could be a bristle brush)
- Paper or towel to cover your work area
Step 1: Fun with PhotoShop
You don’t need PhotoShop, any photo editing program will work. You will just need to make your photo file 300 dpi, so that you have a sharp, clean image, and you will want to reverse the image. This is a must if there is any text in the image that you choose. You will most likely have to edit the size of your photo to fit the piece of wood you will be transferring to.
Step 2: Laser Print the Photo File
This was the easiest step for me. Luckily for me, work got a brand new color laser printer and I got to use it. I printed two copies JIC (just in case) and I was ready to go! Yippee! This project could look really cool in black and white, but I wanted to go with color since Chloe’s necklace looks so vibrant. Do what works best for you! I used the regular recycled printer paper at work, but if you have thinner paper to use that will help you out later in Step 8.
Step 3: Snip, Snip
Carefully cut out your image. Don’t leave any white, it will transfer to your block.
Step 4: Are you Gel-in?
Cover your work area with a paper or a towel to protect your dining room table. Then, paint a thin layer of the matte gel medium right on top of your photo.
Step 5: These Bubbles Aren’t Fun
Next, place your image face down on the block of wood where you want it. You should take your gift card (or Bone Folder if you’re fancy and have one of those) and smooth out and flatten any air bubbles underneath your photo. Wipe away any of the extra gel the comes out on the edges as you smooth.
Step 6: Drying Out
Time to run some errands! This project needs to sit for at least 8 hours so that it dries.
Step 7: Soakin’ It Up
Did you wait 8 hours? Ok, let’s go! Take a towel or a rag and soak it in water, squeeze out the excess and lay it on top of the block and let it sit for a few minutes. You want to make sure the paper gets completely wet.
Step 8: Rub One Out
The transfer should be completely wet before starting this step. Use the rag and/or your fingers and rub off the white paper fibers. For a more worn look use the rag to rub the white paper fibers and parts of the actual image away. But if you are going for the clean look, just use your fingers to get the paper fibers off the block. To tell if you have removed all the paper let the piece dry for a bit, you’ll see where there are fibers remaining that you need to remove. (Once you varnish those clumps will be there forever.) This step can take awhile depending on how big your wood piece is.
Step 9: Drying Out (Part 2)
Let your piece completely dry. If you notice more clumps as it dries just go back and moisten your transfer again to rub the fibers off.
Step 10: Finally, it’s Mod Podge time!
Once your piece is how you want it and is completely dry, use the Mod Podge and your brush to seal up the image. This will make it permanent and you’ll be ready to display your work (or give it away as a gift).
Total Cost - $18 (I only needed to purchase the wood block, matte gel medium, foam brushes.)
Total Time - 1 hour / 9 hours if you want to include Step 6.
What you’ll need
Laying on the matte gel medium. This is the magic for the photo transfer.
Smooth Out The Wrinkles & Bubbles
Rub off the paper bits to reveal your image.
Done & Done
Thanks to Wholly Kao and Photojojo for this terrific little project! I love it and will do it again!