How to Transfer Photos onto Wood

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I love finding new ways to display photos, especially in this super digital world we live in. So, let me show you how to make these gorgeous little photo rounds. The whole process is really fun and intriguing, and it’s a great project to do with the kids.

I’ve used rough cut wooden rounds, which give quite a charmingly rustic result. But you could also try this method with clean-cut wooden blocks, for a more modern look 

The trick for this project is using Mod Podge, which is a pretty cool craft glue. It has loads of different uses, and this photo transfer project is one I’ve been wanting to try for ages.

Read on to learn how to make these photo rounds, and for lots of tips and tricks I learnt along the way. Plus some ideas on how to display and use them :)

Don’t they look cool displayed on the wall in the kids room?

Don’t they look cool displayed on the wall in the kids room?

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You will need:

  • Mod Podge – I used the plain Matte version

  • Images which you’ve printed using a laser printer

  • Wooden rounds – they need a smooth surface

  • A brush

  • Scissors

  • Cloth

  • Bowl of water 

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You can get all of these supplies from my partner Warehouse Stationery!

Step One

Print your photos with a laser printer, onto normal paper (not photo paper). It’s really important you use a laser printer not an inkjet printer.

Note that your photo will be revealed in reverse on the wood, so if it has words or a style that needs to face the original way, then flip it digitally before you print. You can use an app like Canva or PhotoGrid to do this.

Make sure you size the photos so that they will print out and fit onto the wooden rounds. I actually used Canva to create a page of round images, but you could just print and trace suitably sized circles over the top of each image, then cut them out.

Tip: any white areas on the photo will end up relatively clear, with the wood showing through.

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Step Two

Cut out the photos, so that they are ready to fit onto the wooden rounds.

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Step Three 

Paint a thin even layer of Mod Podge over the image, on the printed side. Then lay it face-down on the wooden round, and gently press it into place.

Tip: Try not to get Mod Podge on the top of the image - when it squeezes out the sides wipe it off, rather than spreading glue over the top.

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Step Four

Wait 24 hours for the photo to fully dry onto the wood. If you’re super impatient you could try using a blow-dryer to dry it – I tried this with mixed results (some turned out fine, some didn’t).

Step Five

Grab your cloth and bowl of water, and dab the wet cloth on the image, so that the paper gets quite saturated. You don’t want to totally dunk the wooden round in the water, but you’ll need it to be pretty soaked.

Now slowly rub off the top layer of white paper. I used the friction of my fingers, so I could be as precise as possible. Don’t rub too hard or you might by mistake rub off the bottom layer which is the printed image (I learnt that the hard way!).

Keep rubbing off the paper, and dabbing on more water to help it lift off. The more patient you are, the better finish you will get 

Now wait for it to dry. If you can see leftover paper which dries white, then have another go at wetting and rubbing it off.

Step Six

Once you’re happy with the finish, paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the image. This acts like a seal and gives it a nice finished look. Wait for it to dry, and you’re done!

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What do you think? Ready to give it a go? I love how this project creates a lovely photo display, but it’s also quite a fun process along the way.

There are lots of ways you can display these little photo rounds, and I’ve given you some ideas below. They even make cute coasters (helloooo Christmas gift for the Grandparents).

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Let me know how you go, and I’d love to see the finished results of anyone who tries this.

xxx

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LATEST, DIYJulie Stuart