Photos to Wood

Board?   Wish an interesting project wood come along?

Here’s an easy project that will show off your treasured pictures in a whole new way.  You can transfer photo images directly onto the wood of your choice.

Before you start you will need to pick out that perfect picture and then reverse the image.  You’ll be laying the photo face-down on the wood surface, so reversing it will cause the image to end up facing the right way when it’s revealed.  You can do that in your photo editing software, PowerPoint or even Paint.  Just tell it to flip the picture horizontally.

Select a light colored wood so the image will stand out.  The wood adds character to the finished project so look for interesting grain patterns.  Knots and occlusions will add visual interest but be aware that they may obscure parts of the picture.  Size the image and the board to match and sand the wood so it’s ready for a finish coat once the image is applied.

Now you’re ready to transfer.  There are two different techniques depending on whether you are using a laser or an inkjet printer.

Laser Printer

  1. Print your image on light weight copy paper and then cover it with matte gel medium (found in the acrylic paints section of your local art store).
  2. Lay the gelled picture face down on the board and smooth it with flat scraper like the edge of a credit card. Be sure there are no air bubbles and the entire picture is tight to the board.  When done, let it dry for at least 8 hours.
  3. After drying, soak the paper with a wet towel. You can even leave the towel on the paper for a few minutes.  Then rub away the paper fibers with your fingers to expose the transferred image below.  You may need to repeat the process to remove any “fuzzies” that were left behind.
  4. Once the image is completely dry, you can coat it with Mod-Podge or a finishing spray to seal and protect it.

Inkjet Printer

  1. Peel all the labels off a page of labels and print your image on the slick surface underneath. The smooth surface that allows labels to peel off easily will cause the ink to just sit on the surface rather than soaking in.
  2. Lay the picture face down on your board and smooth it all over with your fingers or a flat scraper. Once the entire picture has been pressed down to the board, just peel off the paper.
  3. Coat the image with Mod-Podge or a finishing spray to seal and protect it.

Both methods will transfer pictures but the laser method can give you higher image quality while the inkjet method has more of an antique, rustic look to it.  The great part is that the image will look like it is part of the wood rather having been decoupaged over the top.

Why wood you not do this?

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