Tuesday, May 3, 2016

DIY: Photo Transfer to Wood

Hi Everyone!  I'm so excited to post this DIY project I worked on!  It turned out so amazing!  I mentioned this project in my Mother's Day Gift post last week and hope you are excited to read about it.

A while ago as I was doing a quick refresh on my bathroom and realized I wanted to hang something different in our small half bath for some interest and warmth.  The bathroom is a basic white which made it look very stark so I thought adding some wood would make it warmer.  We had some great professional photos, by Release Photography, that I knew would be perfect for the bathroom and having them printed on wood would add the interest I was looking for.  I looked online for a place that would print my pictures and kept thinking "I can do this myself for a lot less."  So, challenge accepted.

Supplies needed:

Step 1:  The Prep

If you are going for a rustic clapboard look then you'll need to attach your pieces with the metal plates.  You can easily find inexpensive wood at your local big box hardware store and they can cut it for you.  I generally get mine at Home Depot.  You can also use one solid piece of wood and therefore would skip this step.  There are some great options for wood at a craft store or even a lumbar yard if you are looking for reclaimed pieces.    

I placed  three 6" x 12" wood pieces together in order to make a 12" x 18" transfer surface.  I then used 4 flat head screws to attach the metal plate over 2 pieces of wood.  I used my drill with the screw driver attachment without pre-drilling to holes.  This was pretty easy but you can also use a hand screw driver if the wood isn't too hard.

After the wood was attached together I lightly sanded the front and sides with a 150 grit sand paper and my electric palm sander to remove any splinters and smooth out the surface.  If you don't have a palm sander you can also easily hand sand this project.  But I do love my palm sander so if you like to work with wood I highly recommend!

This next step is optional however, I like to darken the wood to give it some warmth so I stain the wood using gel stain.  I'm pretty cautious with stain because if you make it too dark by leaving it on too long then the picture may not show up as well.  Generally, the longer you leave your stain on the wood the darker it will get.  I tend to wipe it on with a rag, leave it for about 30 seconds or so and wipe it off.  If I want it darker I just repeat the process.  However, if you do happen to stain it darker then you wanted you can always sand it down and start over.

Step 2: Photo transfer

Using my foam brush I lathered gel medium over the front of the picture.  Remember:  Your picture needs to be printed using a laser printer onto regular paper (the thinner the paper the easier it comes off later).  Photo paper will not transfer the image to the wood surface.  Also, when you transfer your picture it will be a mirror image, therefore, if it has words or you prefer it to look exactly as it did in the photo then you will need to use the mirror image option when printing your picture.

Using the same brush I lathered a good amount of gel medium on the wood surface.  It's important to get a moderate layer of gel medium but to not over do it.  Too much gel medium could make it hard to get the paper off later and too little will result in the picture not transferring.  

Now this step is really important.  You want to avoid wrinkles in the paper as you place it face down onto the wood surface.  For this step I carefully place the picture face down starting at one end and gradually laying it onto the wood surface a little at a time while lightly smoothing it with my hand. Once the picture was completely down onto the wood I took an edging tool and brushed down to smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles.  The picture needs to lay flat in order to transfer.

DRYING TIME:  I recommend letting this dry overnight.  I usually do the picture transfer in the evening and let it dry overnight.  However, if you decide not to let it stand overnight then give it at lease 8 hours to dry.

Step 3:  The Reveal!  

This is the fun & also most tedious part!

In order to remove the paper it needs to be wet so I used a wet cloth/rag and placed it on top of the paper and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.  I honestly just used my husbands old t-shirt!

Then I placed 2 fingers on the paper and move them in a circular motion while pressing down.  The paper started to come off in small clumps and the picture gradually showed through.  I let it dry and and noted a white film still over the photo.  This means I was not done yet and I needed to repeat this process MANY times...like 10-15 times. Yes, tedious!  Your fingers will get tired so don't despair.  In order to rest my fingers I also used a rough rag or sponge and just pressed down a little lighter.

I lost small pieces of  my picture while rubbing the paper off mostly at the edges.  I was OK with this since I wanted a more vintage rustic look.

Continue to repeat these steps until the photo is as clear as possible or to your liking.  You will only know if it still looks cloudy by letting it dry.  Make sure you completely dry your project before advancing to the next step.

Step 4:  Finishing Touches

These are the easiest and final steps!

I preferred a vintage look to my DIY photo transfer to wood so I sanded down the edges of the picture.  Then to match it up with the rest of the wood I re-stained the edges and the sides.  You can also put some stain on the picture transfer itself to darken the color if you like.

Once dry, coat your completed project with Mod Podge using your foam brush.  This will seal your project and protect it.  I tend to use matte Mod Podge but you can use glossy as well.  My preference is matte Mod Podge on top of glossy Gel Medium.

Step 5:  Time to Decorate!

My last step was screwing in my D-ring picture hanger on the backside of the wood then hanging it in my bathroom!  Voila!  All Done!!!

I'm saving the spot next the picture for my next project of my other Little One!
Feel free to send me questions or comments!  I would also LOVE to hear about & see your DIY photo transfers!  Remember, you can do this transfer with just about any laser printed picture...even newspaper if you want to get creative!

I hope you enjoyed my first DIY reveal!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blog Design by Get Polished