DIY: Photo to Wood Transfer

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. All happy occasions with one stressful thing in common – choosing the perfect gift. If you’re scrambling for inspiration, how about trying something different this year? Give something homemade.

We’ve got just the project. This week, we took a stab at transferring a photo onto wood. We wanted to find out if it’s really as “easy” as Pinterest claims it to be. Short answer, it is. And the result is an awesome, fresh take on photo gifting that’s fun to both give and receive. Have a look. 

DIY Wood Transfer Supplies

Collect the supplies.
It won’t take long. We used Mod Podge Photo Transfer for the glue. Towel, wood, brush, scissors, and a picture of you and the lucky recipient. A couple of important notes:

  • Use a laser printer.
  • Print the mirror image of the picture.
  • Print on regular copy paper. The fancy stuff will make the latter steps difficult.

Wood Transfer Photo

Cut and paste.
Cut your photo to the right size, and add Mod Podge. Make sure you get enough Mod Podge to spread over the entire photo. However, it’s easier to add than remove. Start with a nice base layer and add more if needed while brushing.

Photo Wood Transfer Glue

Until you have covered every corner of the photo.

DIY Photo to Wood

Aim and shoot.
Carefully place the photo (Mod Podge side down) on the wood. Once it’s set, lightly press down. Start in the middle and get rid of any air bubbles.

Now, wait.
You’re done for the day. Let the Mod Podge sit for 24 hours. Wash up, and pick back up the same time tomorrow.

DIY Photo to Wood Transfer

Welcome back for day two.
First, dampen your towel. Then, place the towel on the back side of the image. Let it soak for 3-5 minutes. We pressed down on the towel to make sure the back of the photo was soaking up lots of water.

Photo to Wood Transfer

Remove the towel, and start scraping. Finger nails will do. Quarters, pennies, keys. But be delicate. The trick is to only scrape off the top layer (the damp paper), not the ink.

DIY Photo Wood Transfer

Distress to your liking.
We used car keys to “roughen up” the look. The colors transferred so well, we thought it could use some worn-in charm.

Seal your work.
Add water to your Mod Podge and add a thin layer on top of your photo. Allow it to dry and repeat two more times.

All in all (minus the 24 hour wait period), this project took about 15 minutes. Not bad for a personal, handmade gift.

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