Whatcha Need:

  • Pictures to transfer
  • Light-colored wood piece or panel
  • Simple photo-editing program
  • Access to a laser printer
  • Scissors
  • Bone folder (edge of a gift card works)
  • Matte gel medium (found in the acrylic paints section of the art store)
  • Mod Podge with your choice of finish (we went with matte)
  • 2 different brushes (can be bristles or foam)
  • Towel rag
  • Scrap paper & towels to protect your work surface

STEP 1: PUT IT IN REVERSE

Open up the photo file you wanna use for this transfer in a photo-editing program and reverse it. Why in reverse? You’re going to be laying the photo face-down on the wood surface you’re transferring it on, so you want your photo to end up facing the right way when it’s revealed on the flip side.

Check that your photo is set at 300 DPI so that it won’t print out all pixelated.

Don’t forget to also size your photo to fit on the surface of your wood piece.

STEP 2: LASER PRINT IT OUT

Get your reversed, properly-sized, 300 DPI photo printed from a laser printer on fairly thin paper-0 the cheap stuff from a big box store about 24 lb paper. You want your photo printed on thinner paper because this’ll make it easier in Step 8 when you’re going to rub the paper fibers off.

We got double prints of our photos just in case our scissors go hay-wire in the next step.

STEP 3: SCISSOR ACTION

Cut out the laser-printout of your photo.

STEP 4: GEL IT UP

First, cover your work surface with some scrap paper. Then take one of your brushes and use it put on a thin layer of matte gel medium right on top of your photo.

STEP 5: FLATTEN IT OUT

Now, very carefully lay your photo face-down on top of your wood piece. Once you got your photo in place, use a bone folder (or the edge of a gift card) to smooth out and flatten any air bubbles underneath your photo. Wipe off any extra gel medium that seeps out of your photo’s edges as you’re smoothing it out.

STEP 6: LET IT DRY

Now it’s time to let your photo transfer sit and dry for at least 8 hours. Depending on when you started this DIY, you may pick up on this project the next day.

STEP 7: SOAK IT GOOD

Once your photo transfer has been out to dry for 8 hours or so, it’s time to give it a good water-soaking. First, protect your work surface with some fun towels. Then take your towel rag and get it wet with some water. Squeeze out excess water from your rag—you don’t want a sopping wet rag—and lay it on top of your photo transfer. Press the wet rag on top of your photo transfer, making sure the photo in the transfer is completely soaked. You can also just let the wet rag sit on top of the transfer for a couple of minutes if you’d like.

STEP 8: RUB-A-DUB-DUB

Now that your transfer is soaking wet, use your rag and/or your fingers to rub off the fuzzy white paper fibers and to reveal your lovely photo underneath. For a distressed look to your transfer, use the wet rag to rub off the paper fibers. The rag’s own fibers will also rub off a bit of your photo that’s revealed. For a less-distressed, cleaner look, use your fancy fingers to rub off the fibers. Let the transfer dry a bit in between paper-rubbing sessions so you can see any paper fibers that still need to be rubbed off. In our experience, the best consistency for being able to see and peel off the fuzzy fibers is when your photo transfer is almost dry. Don’t rush it, lest you ruin all your hard work up until now.

STEP 9: DRY IT SOME MORE

You’re almost done, hooray! Let your photo transfer completely dry. Again, if you notice as it’s drying that there are some fuzzy fibers you missed (like our photo shows), you can always go back and moisten your transfer a bit to rub the fibers off some more.

STEP 10: MOD PODGE IT UP

Once your photo transfer is dry and satisfactory to your creative eye, use the Mod Podge and your other brush to seal your hard work. That’s it! Your photo transfer is done and ready to be the limelight. Enjoy- The Homesteader’s Wife