I have always wanted to try to transfer a photo to wood, so I figured what better photo to use than my all time favorite picture of my kiddos. It was fun and surprisingly easy to do. It is also a cheep way to add a unique look to your decor.
To begin with, know that you can not use an image that comes from your ink jet printer at home. The ink will smear and you’ll be disappointed. Know that you also can not use an actual photo print as they have a plastic/vinyl coating and the image will not transfer.
You must use a photocopied image. I went to my local Staples to use the copier - just take the actual photo and copy it on plan white paper - you can either use color or black and white. (It cost me around $2.55 for a 16 x 20 black and white copy.)
Supplies needed to transfer a photo to wood:
Unfinished Wood - sanded smooth (I bought a 24 x 24" sanded board at Menards for around $5.00 and had my hubby cut it down to the size)
Liquitex Professional Matte Gel (medium gel)
Step 1: Apply a generous amount of the Gel Medium to the image. You need a thick layer.
Step 2: Press the image, photo side down, onto the wood panel. Rub firmly to smooth out the image and remove air bubbles. Make sure to put it on straight. Let it dry completely. (Overnight drying is recommended.)
Step 3: Use a damp cloth or sponge to wet one section of the paper at a time. Begin rubbing gently to remove the paper and expose the transferred image below. Remove the top layer first, let it dry slightly, and then repeat the process as needed to remove the fuzzy paper that was left behind. (I found the fist layer of paper came off better while wet, with a sponge. However, for the last fuzzy paper, I found it came off better if it was a bit more dry and I used my fingers to rub it off.)
Step 4: Once you are satisfied with the image, sand the edges lightly. Seal the photo to the wood by brushing on a layer of Mod Podge.
Step 5: Let dry completely.
What makes this process different from decoupage is that it looks as if the image is part of the piece, not glued on top of it. If you decide to try this, I'd love to see photo's of your finished project! Have fun!
Note: This is the first time I have done this.... you can see some mistakes in my finished product, but overall, I liked the way it came out.