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There are many great photo ideas available when it comes to personalized gift-giving. This project is near and dear to my heart. Have you ever seen a photo transferred to a piece of wood? I love giving my friends and family customized gifts, and this DIY project definitely fits the bill. In this post, I’ll show you how to transfer photos to wood and give some pointers I learned along the way.
I knew this project was would end up being a favorite because I loved the look. I have to say, though, I didn’t realize all the different ways I would end up using them! Recently, I gave one to our baseball coach with a team picture. I had all of the players sign it. As you can imagine, the coach loved it. Photos always make the most personal gifts! When I decided to make this tutorial, I was making family gifts from my baby brother’s wedding.
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 since I use Purebond plywood for everything 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 Liquitex Matte Gel Medium to your unfinished wood board.
I’m showing this closeup because I want you to see how much you need to apply. It is better to apply too much than not enough. Even coverage is very important. If you don’t 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 don’t want to push out any of 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’ll want to get this pretty wet. After a minute or two you’ll 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’s okay too. It 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, 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: