There are many great photo ideas available when it comes to personalized gift-giving. Have you ever seen a photo transferred to a piece of wood? This project is near and dear to my heart. I love giving my friends and family customized gifts and this DIY project definitely fits the bill. I am going to show you how to transfer photos to wood and give you some pointers I learned along the way.
I knew this project was would end up being a favorite because I loved the look but I didn’t realize all the different ways I would end up using them. Last year I gave one to our baseball coach with a team picture and all of the players signed it. Photos always make the most personal gifts! I was making family gifts from my baby brother’s wedding when I decided to make this tutorial.
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Supplies For Wood Photo Ideas:
- Laser copy of a photo in black & white or Sepia
- Unfinished or finished Scrap Piece of Wood (Same Size as Photo) – I used Purebond Plywood
- Paintbrush or Foam Brush
- Mod Podge or Rust-Oleum Matte Clear Spray to seal the project
- Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
- Rag and bowl of water
Instructions for Wood Photo Ideas:
Step 1) Decide on the piece of wood you want to transfer your photo on. I started with a 4′ x 8′ sheet of Purebond plywood from Home Depot. I was making several of these and I use Purebond plywood for everything so I already had a sheet at my shop. I used my Ryobi circular saw to cut several 11×14 pieces. If you don’t have your own saw, Home Depot will cut it for you if you give them the dimensions.
Step 2) Begin by applying an even coat of the gel medium to your unfinished wood board.
I am showing you this closeup because I want you to see how much you need to apply. It is better to apply too much than not enough and even coverage is very important. If you do not use enough gel the photo will scrub off too easily.
Step 3) Lay your laser-printed photo face down on the gel medium.
Step 4) Gently smooth out any bubbles with your hands. I would not recommend using a tool to smooth it, you do not want to push out the gel.
Step 5) Let dry overnight.
Now its time to expose the magic..
Step 6) Take a damp rag and wet the paper backing. You will want to get this pretty wet. You will start to see the image through the wet paper. With your fingers, begin to gently remove the paper. Keep re-wetting the paper as you rub through the layers of the paper.
Be patient with this step. It will take you a bit of time to fully expose the picture. If you rush this, you can rub right through the picture. Remember, this is a handmade project so if some does rub off that just adds character.
Step 7) Once your picture looks the way you want, let it dry. If there is still a film over the photo when it dries just add more water and continue to rub gently. A little film on the top will be fine once you add the sealer.
Step 8) Seal with Mod Podge or Rustoleum Clear coat.
Here is the finished one I made featuring my family from my brother’s wedding.
And here is the one Michelle and I made on the set of Kansas City Live today…just beautiful.
You all inspire me and I LOVE to see the work that you’ve created. Feel free to share with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. And as always, be sure to follow Diva Of DIY on Pinterest and sign up for our FREE Newsletter to receive the latest projects delivered straight to your inbox!
If you like this project, check out these other photo ideas: