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Kasia is a DiY enthusiast who is exploring the world of upcycling pallets and turning them into exciting projects
Peel off the paper and let the transfer dry. Just to mention this only works with laser printed or copied images.
Use the solvents in a glass container and only small amounts at a time- they evaporate quickly. You can either dab your empty pen in or use a sponge.
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After the gel medium is applied, it’s time to place the print face down onto the wood. This is just as nerve racking as trying to put a protective shield over your iPad or iPhone but it’s a step you have to take! There will no doubt be air bubbles in the print. Do your best to smooth out and eliminate as many of these as you can. We used a plastic tool that we found laying around but you can also use a butter knife, a ruler, a roller or anything you can find that you think might work.
A second way is actually using the solvent found in blender pen which is called Xylol Xylene. If you, for example, have a large image to transfer you can get a big container in hardware stores.
Let it dry overnight and then the same way as previously wet the paper and rub it off. The last step is to put some Mod Podge on top to seal it off.
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A printed image – laserjet ones are best or xerox copies, for color pictures you can print them on a photo paper(quality of the image is far better than normal paper) and then have it copied in color a surface to transfer to a gel medium a Mod Podge
Now you press your image facing down onto the surface. Make sure you don’t move it once it’s stuck to Mod Podge. You can use a credit card or a similar piece of plastic to smooth the surface out and get rid of all air bubbles.
I’d like to show you 6 simple ways how to transfer photos to wood. It’ great fun and gives you plenty of opportunities to experiment.
Try not to overdo it with the solvent because it may cause ink bleed. Several thin layers are better than pouring it over the image.
This is the really fun part. To remove the paper we just got the paper wet with water and used our fingers to rub it off. This is a pretty messy process and there might be a better way but fingers seemed to work best for us. Some parts of the print will come off easier than others so just know that your fingers and hands might be a little tired at the end. This whole process might have to be repeated several times and will probably take around 10-20 minutes. But it is really exciting to see the print come to life on the wood. Be sure to have a vacuum cleaner on stand by because there will be a mess to clean up!
All that’s left to do is to use a small paintbrush or a pen marker and fill in the contours and voila!
When the paper is completely soaked you peel it off gently. You can hold it under running water for the small pieces. Then gently rub the rest of the paper pulp off with your fingers. And that’s it! You have a nice and smooth surface with your image on it.
covering your image with chalk or pastel putting it on the desired surface tracing the outlines with a ballpoint pen
Looking through many tutorials online I’ve found many different uses for Mod Podge for example. Some use it as a sealant and some as an image transferring medium. Same goes for using inkjet and laserjet prints. If you wonder what the difference is between a gel medium and Mod Podge you can read more in this post.
Once you’ve done that you can remove the paper. The image is ready and dry. You can seal it with some clear spray lacquer.
First is old, well-known Acetone. But not the nail polish remover kind unless you have 100% pure acetone one without any additives.
Put your image face down on the wood and please don’t move it. You’ve only got one shot at this otherwise, it will smear. Press it down.
Since we used two pieces of wood, we needed some fastening brackets to make sure the wood stuck together. You can pick these up at any hardware store. I used four at different angles to make sure they never come apart!
a digital or printed image a piece of chalk, soft pen or a pastel crayon a ballpoint pen
First, make sure the wood is clean and dry without any finish. Then spread some of the gel medium on it and on the photo itself. Put the photo on the wood facing down and press. Get a credit card or similar tool and get rid off of all air bubbles and excess gel.
In both cases, you must be careful while using them. They are damaging to the skin, eyes and respiratory system so wear gloves, safety goggles, and face mask and use them in WELL VENTILATED AREA.
If you have different experience or method for transferring images to wood I’d like to hear from you. Feel free to comment or drop me an email 🙂
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If you’re thinking about giving your pallet projects more artistic edge or simply want to try something new, this list of how-tos is where you should start.
Make sure that the place you transfer it on is clean, free from any finish and sanded smooth. Porous surfaces take in the ink better.
Here’s a list of supplies we used. You don’t have to necessarily use the exact same ones in every case but if you do I’ll let you know.
This method allows you to use inkjet prints to be transferred to wood using Mod Podge – a medium used to transfer images. What I found out, is that most people say you can’t use it with inkjet prints but only with the laser ones.
This is VERY important: The image that you print for this project MUST be a laser jet print. Ink Jet will not work with this process so don’t even try it. We decided to get a 20×30 print made so we went up to Staples to have it made from a file we brought up there on a thumb drive. The 20×30 laser jet print cost us a mere $2.14 including tax and looked impressive for such a bargain!
You have to let it dry completely overnight and you’re ready for your next step. Now the fun begins. You can immerse the wooden piece in water or if it’s large one like a furniture surface etc. you soak it wet with a sponge or use a spray bottle.
a hot iron a laser printed image or an image printed on “iron on” paper
This method that I’ve found on matsutakeblog.blogspot.com shows that you actually can. You can use normal paper or piece of cardstock. All you need is put some Elmer’s glue on it before printing your image. Remember to let it dry first! You don’t want to break your printer 🙂
You put your image/ graphic on the surface(remember to mirror it) and apply the acetone or Xylol. You can secure it by using some painters tape.
One thing I love about my family is that there never seems to be a shortness of creativity floating around. My wife Kristin works with her mother Lori running a website over at Katie’s Rose Cottage and this project was really just right up their alley. At the time of writing this article Kristin is less than a week away from giving birth to our first child and son Isaac. It’s almost a guarantee that by the time you read this I will be a father! So suffice it to say that Kristin has been doing quite a bit of nesting to get ready for baby Isaac. My father-in-law has a small Cessna and I’ve been working towards getting my pilot’s license for some time now, so because aviation is fast becoming a tradition in our family we decided to do an aviation theme for Isaac’s room.
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How To Transfer Prints To Wood: An Awesome Photography DIY Project
This is really the most crucial step. 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. So you’ll just have to eyeball it here and do your best to make a nice, even layer.
Next step is to rub the image with the back of a spoon or a bone folder. Apply firm pressure but don’t rush. You don’t want to damage the paper.
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Finally, we added a layer of a product called Soft Wax to seal the print and make it all nice and smooth. Use a brush to apply a thin layer to the print. Just like waxing a car, let it dry and then buff it out with a cloth to smooth it out. The wax we used was, obviously, a soft wax. Not too glossy, not too matte.
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an inkjet printer a photo editing software, don’t worry anything fancy 🙂 a clear finish to preserve your photo
Laser printed photo Wood cut to the same size as photo 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 rags Pigment (optional) Sander or sand paper Soft Wax or Mod Podge to smooth and seal print Brush to apply wax Hanging brackets Fastening brackets (if multiple pieces of wood are used) Step 2: Finding a Print and Choosing a Look
Next we sanded the edges to remove the excess gel and to distress the wood. Then we used a product called Pigment to distress the edges of the print (almost like a grungy textured vignette). Just use a sponge to apply this. It’s much darker than the wood stain so use it sparingly! This isn’t required but we liked the effect.
I think this is the most popular way of transferring images to wood. It works with black and white or color ones. It’s very similar to Mod Pod and Glue way but instead of glue a gel medium is used and Mod Podge to finish off. All you need is:
Yes, you see that right. In this first tutorial, I want to show you how to use a simple freezer paper or labeling paper to transfer photos to wood. You’ll need:
2. A Typography Transfer Using Chalk, Ballpoint Pen and Paint
This method allows you to transfer any kind of graphic, mainly writings on wood or wall etc. It’ s very easy and straightforward. All you need to do this is:
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This step is where Kristin took some creative freedom to get the look she wanted for Isaac’s room. She wanted the print to look old and vintage so that’s what she did. First we applied a single layer of wood stain to the entire surface. You have to be careful with wood stain though. The longer you leave it on the wood the darker the stains effect is so we would apply the stain with a rag, let it set for a few seconds and then rub it off with the same rag.
A freezer paper/labeling paper. I hurry to explain what a labeling paper is. It’s simply a back of a sheet of self-adhesive sticker like this
The first step is obviously to find just the right print that you want transfered over to wood. If you took a look at my wife’s website then you can see that a lot of their stuff is very distressed and vintage looking. So my high resolution, vibrant and clean looking airplane photo just wasn’t going to work in it’s current state. So I took the image into Lightroom and converted it to black and white, bumped up the contrast quite a bit and added some film grain.
Next we went to Home Depot to get some wood made. Kristin just got two pieces of wood that together measured 20×30. She wanted two separate pieces of wood but you could just as easily use a single piece of wood. Just whatever your preference is.
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In a first step, you need to mirror your photo. This way if there is any text in it, it’ll come out properly. Then you print your photo on a glossy side of the paper. Important! You must be careful not to touch it otherwise it’ll smear and will be ruined.
Once the print is applied to the wood, let it sit overnight and make sure it nobody messes with it!
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Well that’s it! The total cost of this project is around $95. If you use a product called Mod Podge instead of the Soft Wax you can save over $50 because you won’t have to use the wax or the expensive brush in the picture. Mod Podge is another product that can be applied with a sponge brush. It won’t look quite as nice but it still acts as a sealant. You also have to consider that this is the initial cost. The more prints you make on wood, the cheaper it gets since you would just have to buy a print, wood and gel medium the next time around. I hope this will inspire you to go out and try it for yourself! Once more, be sure to check out Katie’s Rose Cottage, they are always creating new things and you may just find something you want for your home.
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If you need your image blown up you can use a free website tool called Block Posters and then print it on several sheets of paper. Here is a good example of how to do it on a piece of furniture.
So what do you need? The simplest way is to buy a blender pen. You can get it in most craft shops or on Amazon. But if it happens that you’re in the middle of a project and your blender pen stops working there is a different solution you can use.
The glue should be on the side which you want to print on. After drying is time to print. Remember to mirror your image. When your image is printed put some Mod Podge on your wood surface.
This is the most, in my opinion, a surprisingly easy way of transferring any color image. All you need is:
I have several aviation photos in my portfolio and Kristin said she wanted to print the photo on wood. I had no idea what she was talking about or how that was even possible but I listened and let her do her thing. So here’s how to get from the ‘Before’ image to the ‘After’ image, you’re gonna love it!
Next I screwed in some mounting brackets to hang it on a wall. You can use any kind you want but I chose these. One thing to note: Be sure that the screws you use to mount the brackets to the back aren’t longer than your print is thick! I made sure of this before I screwed them in and still placed my hand under the print as I slowly screwed the bracket on to make sure I didn’t feel the wood expanding.
This is a fantastic method you can use on wood, metal and many other surfaces. I really like it because is extremely easy. I’ve found it on villabarnes.com. It’s another great way to make your pallet projects more unique and exciting.