I’ve been curious for awhile now how to do a photo transfer on wood. My local MOPS group (mother’s of pre-schoolers) does an Antiquities fund-raiser and I just love these pictures. So I wanted to learn myself how to transfer these antique style photos onto a rustic wood “frame.” Once I figured out how to do it, I had to share it with you because its SO easy to do – and fun!!
- Wooden Plaques 4.5″ X 6″ X 1/8″ – these are the ones I used
- Unfinished Wood Plaques – are also a great choice if you are looking for a more polished look/shape
- Liquitex Professional Matte Gel Medium, 8-oz
- Sand Paper
- Drift Wood – I actually got my sticks from a beachfront – but that isn’t available to you, you can get some on Amazon.
- Hot Glue Gun
- A printed image from a laser printer (ink jet will NOT work!)
To start, apply a healthy amount of the gel medium to your piece of wood. I used a foam brush to make sure it was smoothed out.
You don’t want it glopped on too thick, but you want to be able to tell you have a smooth layer of gel medium. This will attach to the ink in your image and dry, so you want to make sure all spots are well covered where you want your photo to be transferred to.
Take your image that has been printed by a laser printer and trim it if necessary to fit on the wood. Then with the picture side down, glue onto the wooden plaque. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles and air bubbles. If there are air bubbles, then that part of the picture may not get transferred and you’d end up with a small blank spot.
After this is done, let it sit and dry 12-24 hours.
The next part is my favortie because you get to slowly “reveal” your image. Get a damp sponge and rub that on your paper. Made sure you paper gets wet enough and then start rubbing the paper with your fingers until it starts to peel off.
You will do this once, and not realize that there is still some paper left on top of your image. When the paper dries again, it turns back white, and you’ll see that you’ll need to get it wet again and keep rubbing off the paper until its really gone. You may need to go back and do this 3-4 times.
Because these are antique style photos, I wanted it to look a little rough around the edges on purpose to give it a true antique/rustic feel. So I used some sand paper and gently rubbed around the edges to get that worn look.
Now I know I mentioned earlier that you need to be sure to use an image printed with a laser printer. I did try this with an ink jet, and you can see above what you get. It totally does not transfer enough ink with the ink from an ink jet printer. I personally do not have a laser printer, but I luckily had a friend willing to print out some pictures for me that has one. I know you can also go to places like Office Max or Staples and get an image printed with laser printer ink.
I finished mine off with hot gluing on both a piece of drift wood at the top, and some twine on the back to hang it. To fully protect your image, you should also top it off with a coat of ModPodge to seal it.
I want to make 2 more of these and hang 3 in a row in my “cabin style” family room!
Looking for more rustic decor ideas? Check these out: