How To's

DIY Photo Transfer on Wood

I am my mother’s daughter. As much as I try to fight it… I love to do crafts! My new favourite site is Pinterest and on my page you will find a DIY board. One craft project I found that I had to try was a picture transfer to a wood board. It’s so easy to do (and people will think you worked a lot harder on it).

Step 1: Your Supplies

You will need:

  • Mod Podge (You can choose your finish. I chose matte.)
  • Matte gel medium (This can be found at any craft store in the acrylic paint section.)
  • A lightly-coloured wood piece or panel
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Two towel rags
  • Scrap paper
  • Paint brush
  • Your photo (Be sure to reverse the image so it is not transferred backwards.)
Step 2: Cut Your Image

Take your scissors and cut your image out.


Step 3: Gel Your Image

Place the image on a scrap piece of paper (you don’t want to ruin the surface you’re working on). Next, get your paint brush and cover the ink side of the photo with a thin layer of matte gel medium.


Step 4: Flatten Out

Take a ruler and flatten out your image(s). Remove any air bubbles and wipe off any excess gel that may seep out of the sides.


Step 5: Let Me Dry!

Let your image sit and dry for a minimum of 8 hours. It’s best to leave it overnight.


Step 6: Soak

Now that your image has dried it’s time to soak it! Place a towel beneath your wood panel (protecting your work surface). Take your second towel and get it wet with some water. Ring out the excess water. You do not want the towel to be dripping.


Step 7: Peel

Once the image is soaked use your towel and/or fingers to rub off the paper fibers.

  • For a more aged look use the wet towel.
  • For a cleaner look use your fingers.
Step 8: Let Dry Some More

Leave your project to dry for a few minutes. As you can see there are a couple spots that came off too much. Try not to be too eager to peel it all off!


Step 9: Mod Podge and Done!

Finally, cover your panel in a thin layer of mod podge to seal and you’re done. Your photo transfer is complete and ready to impress!

  1. This is a great idea! I want to make a couple Christmas presents using this technique. I was wondering if it works if the wood is painted first with acrylic paint? Or would soaking the paper mess up the paint? The idea I have is to paint a background first, and then transfer a picture. If that won’t work, I will just include the background as part of the image!


    1. Hi Jen, it would be best to incorporate the background into the image as it may not transfer evenly if the wood has already been covered with acrylic. Best of luck!

    1. Hi Liz. A photo printed on photo paper won’t work as well. You’ll want an image printed with a printer so you can brush off the excess paper.

  2. Just wondering if the picture you use is printed on regular white paper or actual photo paper. Would love to know before I try this! Thanks! 🙂

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