Transferring A Photo Onto Wood: A Tutorial

I’d heard of transferring photos to canvas, but never to wood. So when I came across this pin, the other day, I just HAD to try it out! This project was so much fun! Honestly, I did NOT think that it would work as well as it did. My sister and I were just in awe, repeating “oh my goodness, no wayyyy, this is too cool!” as I cleaned the wood off to reveal my photo. It may seem really intimidating, but it’s super, super easy! I practiced (and failed) a few different ways, so I know what to do, and what NOT to do. I’ve got so many ideas for this method!!!

So, first of all, here’s what you’ll need… A MIRROR IMAGED (unless there’s no words) photo (on plain paper, people! I’ve learned the hard way that it won’t work on photo paper!), a piece of wood, gloss gel medium (I got a 4.06fl oz tube by Artist’s Loft from Michaels for less than $4, and used a coupon!), a paintbrush, and some Mod Podge.


Start by squeezing some gel medium onto the wood, and spread it out evenly using your paintbrush. Place your picture where you want on the wood, and push any air bubbles out using a flat object. Let this dry for at least a few hours!


**Okay, so now you’ll notice that I have a different picture, and a different piece of wood. Well, this is when I found out that a regular old picture will not work, so I tried again, and since the process is the same, I didn’t waste my time taking more pictures (especially since this was the third time that I had tried, and messed up! lol).**

So now that you’re gel medium is completely dry, get a towel and a bowl of water. Soak the picture until it’s completely drenched. Then, start rubbing the paper away. This is when you get really excited seeing your picture (even if you didn’t realize that the words will be the wrong way haha, another lesson learned!)


Even after you get all the paper, there will be tiny little pieces stuck. DON’T LEAVE THIS!! It will dry, and become white, and look awful. Simply rub it away in a circular motion with your finger. You may need to rub kinda hard!


Finally, (and I would wait until the water had completely evaporated, so you know there are no more little pieces of paper left) paint some Mod Podge over it.


After it dried, I painted around the edges.


A few spots came off in the process of peeling the paper away, but I think it kind of adds to the look, so I didn’t mind it. Just be very careful while rubbing, and don’t peel to try to peek on the image after you place it on the wood. Just let it dry!!! You can even do it before going to bed so it dries for a while. I don’t know what I’ll actually do with it, but it was SO cool to do, and I plan on doing so much more with it!

**Have a project you made using one of my tutorials? Show it off! I, along with all my followers, would love to see it! πŸ™‚ I’ve started a new page on my blog called “Your Pictures!”, located right next to the “About This Blog!” link at the top of my blog. Check it out for more information, and to see other fan pics!**

Until tomorrow!!


35 responses to “Transferring A Photo Onto Wood: A Tutorial

  1. These would be cute on the smaller, thin squares (4″x4″ or 5″x5″), finish and top coat with a poly to make a set of coasters! And I love that you admit to your mistakes LOL We alllllll make them and the mistakes are part of the process to get to our finished products/ideas and I have learned new things along the way!

    • Great idea!! That would be a great gift! I can’t tell you how many picture tutorials I have in my folder that just didn’t work out lol…I’m actually going to do a post about it so everyone sees that I mess up……occasionally lol.

    • also, this would be great in a kids room! i don’t put any glass frame pictures in there, i have boys and boys are rowdy and i am afraid that it will fall and glass shatter everywhere while they are playing so this idea gets 5 stars from me!

      • Oooooh that’s a very good point!! … know, you could also just Mod Podge or even just glue a picture onto a piece of wood….it would be a lot easier!! I just really wanted to try this project out because I didn’t believe it would work! Lol

  2. VERY cool, another project I keep meaning to try! So was your photo just from a print out from a normal printer rather than one done at a professional shop…thats where I must have gone wrong when I tried it! πŸ˜›

  3. Very much like a project I remember doing with my grandmother when I was much younger. We put modpodge on the front of our pics then rubbed the paper off the back & placed it on the base. Thanks!

  4. Reblogged this on CrescentMelissa and commented:
    I came across a similiar post on BuzzFeed yesterday and I had to share this. Wouldn’t this be fun to do with old pictures of the kids? Or how about food pictures and you can hang them charmingly in the kitchen? Coasters, a plain wooden tray, and old table?? Photo on wood forever!

  5. This is amazeballs! I just reblogged. You can do so.many.things with this. I was thinking a plain wooden tray for the coffee table, or cute pics of food for the kitchen, or an old table? Possibilities are endless.

    • I was actually thinking of a tray today!! Would be SO cute! And a great gift! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reblogging! The best part is when you wipe the paper away and your print is actually there…it’s just crazy and you really don’t think it’s going to work! lol

  6. Pingback: The blogs that make my day!! | ibelivetoday·

  7. I tried with a black and white photo yesterday and have several lines through the picture. Do you use full quality when printing pictures?

    • I had the same thing happen to mine… I am not sure what the problem is. I did it exactly as described. “Best” quality on my printer. I tried to transfer it onto a wooden cutting board. I am so disappointed!

      • I have lines through some of the ones I made, but they’re from the wood grain going through, is that what happened with yours, because that’s something you can’t help unless you get a totally clear piece of wood.

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