DIY Photo Transfer on Wood

transfer photo

Recently, my family and I played the game What Would you Grab if Your House Were on Fire? My father’s automatic response was Twinkies and a case of beer (I can’t help but think of poor Woody Harrelson in Zombieland). True to my character I mulled over the rhetorical emergency for quite some time and after serious deliberation chose my memories – an external hard drive packed with thousands of family photos that is. I’m no Ansel Adams, but every single one of my images traverses time and space and reminds me of happiness.

I think this simple DIY project really showcases the importance I see in photographs. Transferring an image to a wood plaque transforms a simple print into a unique piece of artwork. All you need are a few supplies and little bit of patience.

Tools you probably have lying around the house:


Wash cloth

Old gift card

Craft Store Shopping List:

Image printed from a laser printer

Piece of wood

Mod Podge

Gel Medium

Paint brush

Sponge brush

Picture hangers


Step 1:  The Fun Part

Choose the perfect image. To retain the characteristics of the image, you will need to reverse it. You can do so by opening the image in a photo editing program (I use Click on the image tab and select flip horizontal. The result is a mirror image of the original.

Step 2:  The Important Part

For the transfer to work, you have to print the photograph from a laser printer. I printed and resized mine for a couple cents at my local FedEx. Then, cut out your image to the required dimensions.

Step 3: The Hard Labor

Paint the photo with a coat of gel medium and immediately flip it on to the wood. Use your gift card to smooth out all bubbles and firmly affix the paper to the wood.

Step 4: The Waiting Game

Let the paper dry for at least 8 hours. To be cautious, save the grand finale for the following day; this is the hardest part for me.

Step 5: The Magic Trick

When the paper is dry, cover it with a damp wash cloth for about 5 minutes (or until the paper is completely moistened). Then, very carefully, rub the paper away from the wood. It will take some time to completely remove all paper particles. Just remove a layer, let it dry so you can see what crumbs are left, re-wet the wood, and repeat the rubbing process. Don’t worry about being perfect, some of the image will be wiped away with the paper. It gives the final piece character; it’s antique chic!

Step 6: The Final Details


Once all of the paper has been wiped away, use the sponge brush to seal the image with Mod Podge. I chose the gloss finish to give the image more depth and richness. Finally attach picture hangers to the back of the wood and compose your very own portrait gallery.


Now free your creative spirit! Variations could include printing a black and white image, pastiching several images together, adding an inspirational message, hanging the piece from hooks with a chain or twine, or cutting out your favorite vignette. The adaptations are limitless!

Once you’ve created your own mini masterpiece, post an image of it to Facebook or Instagram, and be sure to tag EverydayFamily. We can’t wait to see how you add your own personality to this project!

All images via Marlena Antonucci

What do you think?

DIY Photo Transfer on Wood

Marlena Antonucci is a recent graduate from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a minor in Environmental Science. She is not quite sure how to define herself just yet, but is ready to exhaust every single opportunity to figure it out. At this point she can proudly say that she’s a late night reader, inventive chef, fanatical crafter, daydreamer, lover of Parisian culture, loyal friend, and devoted partner. She steers her life by her step dad’s famous w ... More

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  1. KT. S says:

    Awesome Idea!! Best of all I work at Michael’s Craft Store and I will have close access to all of this! I’m totally going to give your idea to my Boss!!! He will love it! GREAT IDEA THANK YOU!!!

  2. Thank Marina! I hope you’ll try out the project and share your work of art with us!!

  3. Marina says:

    Great project idea.


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