How to Transfer a Photo to Wood

Learn how to transfer a photo to wood with this step by step tutorial. But first, make sure to check out Morena’s photo transfer to wood video tutorial here!

Transfer-Photo-to-Wood-Crafts-UnleashedTransferring a photo to wood is one of my favorite crafting techniques!  Transferring any image I want from paper to another surface is so much fun and surprisingly easy to do.  I’ve transferred images to fabric (here) and even on to painted surfaces (here).  Once you give this a try, I think you’ll find yourself looking for more ways to apply this technique!

Photo Transfer to WoodTo begin with, know that you cannot use an image that comes from your ink jet printer at home.  The ink will smear and you’ll be disappointed (unless you were going for an impressionist style piece!).  You need to use a photocopied image.  I went to my local public library to use the color copier.

Supplies needed to transfer a photo to wood:supply2

*If you want the wood grain to show through, use regular Mod Podge Matte. If you want a white background with no wood grain showing through, use Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium

Step 1: Paint the edges of your wood panel.

step 2Step 2:  Apply a generous amount of the transfer solution to the image.  You’ll need a thick layer.  (Photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Girl Photography.)

step 3Step 3:  Press the image, photo side down, onto the wood panel.  Rub firmly to smooth out the image and remove air bubbles.  Let it dry completely.

Step 3BStep 4:  Use a damp cloth or sponge to wet one section of the paper at a time.  Begin rubbing gently to remove the paper and expose the transferred image below.  I like to remove the top layer first, let it dry slightly, and then repeat the process as needed to remove the “fuzzies” that were left behind.

step 4Step 5:  Once you are satisfied with the image, sand the edges lightly.  Seal the photo to wood transfer with a finishing spray.

Step 5I love the end result!  What makes this process different from decoupage is that  it looks as if the image is part of the piece, not glued on top of it.

Photo to Wood TransferYou can also paint the wood before you transfer your image.  Think of all the ways you could update your furniture or wardrobe with this technique!  What project will you try first?

Transfer-Photo-to-Wood-Crafts-Unleashed-2Want to try it out? Make sure to check out Morena’s step by step photo transfer to wood video tutorial here, first! 

Edited: Due to the overwhelming response to Morena’s awesome project, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience. Read them here –> FAQ HOW TO TRANSFER A PHOTO TO WOOD

About Morena

Morena Hockley is the crafty mind behind the tutorials at She loves to share ideas for projects that are fast, frugal, and fabulous: easy on time and money, and great to look at! Morena is a stay at home mom to four young children, and crafting is what helps her maintain her sanity. It’s a wonderful outlet and it’s how she gets her “me” time. In a past life, Morena was an elementary school teacher and an assistant principal. She misses teaching, so her blog is in a sense a virtual classroom. Make sure to swing by and check out Morena’s Corner!


  1. jillian says

    Hii! Im trying this out with gel, but when I wet the surface not all parts are turning grey but are left white. How can I solve this?

  2. nikki says

    I used an ink jet printer and mine worked. I’m doing several and I’m struggling with the wood I’m using has wood rings and the faces on my photos are hard to see … any suggestions thanks

  3. Bethany says

    Thank you for this! Can this craft be done on old barn wood that isn’t smooth or new? If not do you have any tips or tricks for making the wood look really aged before the transfer?

    Thank you!

  4. Brynn says

    Is there a way to get this to dry faster, and still work? Like, setting it out in the sun or using a hair dryer?

  5. Kate B. says

    Hey does anyone know if you can put another image over a spot that has gel medium on it? For example, I have done a photo transfer on wood and realized I still have extra wood showing on the bottom. It is already covered with gel medium and mod podge…the image is fine but I wanted to add a quote to the bottom. Can I use gel medium again or it only works on “naked” wood (without any prior DRIED gel medium/mod podge on it)?

  6. Amber Mitchell says

    What type of paper should the images be on? Print paper or photo paper?

    Does the type of paper make a difference?

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Eugenie, if you paint over the transfer you probably won’t be able to see the image. If that’s the look you’re going for, then you can try whatever you’d like! We have not tested it so can not tell you one way or another.

  7. Jo Gerber says

    Hi. Thank you so much for your fabulous tutorial on wood photo transfer. I’m planning to do a large wood mid-century serving tray. I want to cover the entire tray with many pictures. I would like the pictures to touch each other, like a collage. Is it best to photocopy them separately or place them together before the photocopy? Once I start the transfer process is it best to transfer one page and scrape off the backing. Then start a second page? Is it better to lay down all the pages at the same time, allow them to dry and do all the peeling at the same time ? Please help! Thanks for so much amazingly inspiration!

  8. says


    Thanks for the easy-to-follow tutorial. It definitely came in handy when I wanted to learn how to transfer an image to wood using Mod Podge.

    There is one very important thing to note though, that makes all the difference in the world—Mod Podge’s Photo Transfer Medium does not dry clear; rather, it creates an opaque, white layer which will not let the wood grain show through (as seen in the tutorial).

    I know this actually by accident, because at first I used Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer (Matte) since I had some left over from another project. It gave me the results I wanted, where the wood grain showed through. Then when I read that I had to use the Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium, we went and bought some, and it did not yield the same results, as it leaves an opaque white layer beneath.

    You can see the results (using Mod Podge Matte Acrylic Sealer) on my blog:

    Thanks again for all your help!

  9. madhuri says

    hi,m from india.m having HP ink jet printer 3525.this printer would be fine,or hav to use some other printer and what type of that,plz suggest the name?glossy or mat paper will do,or have to use some other paper,so suggest type.

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi madhuri,

      Do NOT use an ink jet printer. The photo needs to be copied from a photocopier machine. Regular copy paper needs to be used – not photo paper.

  10. Charles says

    What I would appreciate knowing is the photo medium… Was this a photo paper copy, an inkjet or laser printed copy? You did not specify this by simply saying a “photocopy”. I suspect one of the previous postings regarding color being off was likely the result of using inkjet printing which unfortunately is water soluble.

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Charles, Morena used a photocopied image. From our research, a photocopy is neither inkjet or laser printed.

      Photocopier Printing Process:
      A traditional photocopier prints using the xerographic process, which uses a series of positive and negative electrical charges to transfer the image. Negatively charged toner is spread over a drum containing the image of the document, where the dark areas of the document are positively charged. The toner adheres only to the positively charged area. The negatively charged toner image is then transferred to a piece of paper that has been positively charged. The toner is then fused to the paper using heat, making the image permanent. (from

      How Laser Printers ‘v’ Photocopier Source the Image
      • Photocopiers scan a document by reflecting white light off it in order to obtain an image for the photoreceptor
      • Laser printers do not scan a document prior to forming any image on the photoreceptor. They start by receiving the document data in a digital format. (from

      Photocopies can be made at office supply stores (Staples, Office Max, etc.) or even the library. For best results, use a photocopy.

      • Michelle says

        The word “toner” means that it is a laser process. If the reasoning for the photocopy is the quality of “ink” and paper then by using a professional photocopier you would get a laser copy. Toner will not smudge the way ink would so this does make sense. So yes there is a difference between a photocopier and a laser printer… a laser print prints an image from your computer onto paper with toner. The photocopier does all it’s scanning process first to get the image and then prints it out with its internal laser printer. There may be a difference in the quality of paper or toner in a home scanner that would effect the wood transfer, but that I have not done a comparison on yet.

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Rachel, did you use a photocopied image? You can make a photocopy at office supply stores (Staples, Office Max, etc.) or even the library. For best results, use a photocopy.

  11. nat says

    Hi I did this and the white of my photo transferred white on to the wood? not like yours where the white stayed wood? what did I do wrong?

    • Amy says

      Hi Nat!

      I’m actually curious about how you got the white to transfer! I’m trying to figure out how to do that because other processes I’ve tried have not worked. What did you use to produce the image? Like, where and how did you print your image?

      • nat says

        Hi I used my own laser printer at home, it was a photo with a white ski in the background and it transferred that to the wood, which I wanted the wood showing like in the above pic ….? I wish I could get this to work

        • Charles says

          I would like to know the type of paper and the model printer. Does your printer have white toner capability? There is such a thing but the mainstream consumer printers we all see on the shelves are NOT usually anything but CMYK capable. A white toner capable printer would run about $3400 from OKI. Other than that, the only other possible reason for white transfer would have to be the medium you chose to print on before transferring it to wood. Its possible a matt or gloss finished paper was the reason.

            • Charles says

              Then I would have to say, it’s likely the paper simply stuck well in the non printed areas and that the paper simply did not rub off as easily in those areas. I see no other way that “white” could remain since it clearly is not printed like the other colors. If the color of the paper was some other color, then that would have been the resulting color in the non-printed areas remaining.

              • Lovemelissa says

                She used mod podge transfer medium which keeps the entire image and looks a little plastic… Regular mod podge matt or mod podge gloss don’t do this. I used the photo transfer on an image and was not happy at all with my results. Than I read a blogg and found out the mod podge photo transfer does this which is great for t shirts and any other fabric surface but doesn’t look so great on wood :-(

        • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

          Nat, for this tutorial, a photocopy is highly recommended. You can get a photocopy at an office supply store or even the library. To get the results you’re looking for, use a photocopy.

      • Cindy Boyd says

        I’m on my 3rd try! I’ve followed the instructions to the tee, but the faces in my photo transfer seem to get washed out and you can not see any detail. Am I rubbing too hard with the wash cloth when removing the paper? I don’t see any ink on the wash cloth. Please help!

        • says

          You might be rubbing too hard or using the wrong kind of copy (ink jet instead of color copy). I’ve posted a video tutorial here at CU….maybe that will help you!

  12. Matt says

    Has anyone tried sealing the picture with a clear varnish or stain rather than the mod podge? I want to seal everything but also want to put a clear finish on the wood as well. Thanks for the help.

    • says

      I sealed it with the Krylon finishing spray (linked in the supply list). Once it has been sealed with Mod Podge it’s safe to finish with epoxy, wax, etc.

  13. nana says

    Hi. I read and see this post very carefully but I didn’t understand how the picture reverse at the end.look at the first picture befor and the final work its different and completely reverse. Why?!

    • Charles says

      Because the image in the demonstration is placed on the wood face down, so naturally the image will be reversed

    • Kingfisher says

      To keep transferred project from being backwards have it printed in mirror image. The instructions on the transfer medium state you need to use a commercial copier. Home printers use water soluble inks. If you want white areas to show white-paint the board white first.

  14. Brittani says

    Will the background color of my image transfer as well? It is a saying and not a an actual photo. But the background is a distressed beige and the font is black. I am doing it on a stained piece of wood. On 20lb bond paper from a laser printer. So I am hoping the background will appear so the wording will be legible! Thanks for any help!

  15. Keith says

    I just finished my image transfer onto a stained stacking table! The image came out perfectly and the end results are perfect! I belI’ve (after 2 prior failed attempts) that the key to success is the type of picture (pulled mine from Chrome magazine published by the APHA), an even layer of mod podge, ensuring the photo is smoothed out properly (I used an old store rewards card), and sufficient drying time. I also discovered that if you moisten the paper with warm water (not drench) after it has dried, it is easier to remove the paper from the work surface. Be careful not to rub over one area for too long, as it will rub the image off of the surface! Time and patience are key to this project, and thank God I have just enough of both! Thank you Morena for the how-to instructions!!!

  16. Kelli says

    Hello! I tried doing this twice, and they both turned out the same…once I had thought I rubbed all the paper off, it still leaves a really foggy film over the entire picture. It rubbed off relatively easy, I was using my fingers, then I noticed a towel went much faster. Then after sitting for a few minutes it turned hazy/foggy. (Thinking the towel might be part of this, however it was old, and not fuzzy) Do you think I didn’t rub enough, or I rubbed too much? I just used Mod Podge. Thank you!

    • oz says

      Hi Kelli, having same problem here after removed all paper the image appears in contact with water and comes like opaque, blue foggy after it drys, did you found out how to fix it?

      Thank you

  17. Gabi says

    Hello Morena,this will be my first attempt transfer to wood.My question is can I paint my block of wood a light or darker colour? using the medium gell even if the back round of my photo is darker will the photo come through on painted wood or will I need a different medium? Or can I stain my piece of wood a little darker since it’s pine or a clear stain? Thanks I hope this makes sense.

  18. Joe Adams says

    I have tried this with an actual photo and it didn’t transfer over. What type of paper should be used to achieve this? should it be photo paper or regular copy paper?


  19. Julia says

    I love this but am having woes. I am having no trouble achieving the transparent effect where there is white – but I am finding I am rubbing off chunks of the print with the paper. I am trying to be as gently as possible.
    Is it just not dry enough? It seems to like doing it over faces so we all look slightly zombified. My wood isn’t completely smooth either – but I don’t want it to be. I guess this doesn’t help. Any tips before take 2?

  20. Kim says

    I am very confused with this post. I have followed directions to a tee, but don’t understand how you could have possibly achieved the see through effect that you have on the white areas of your printed photo. Once transferred, they show the grain of the wood through as it would if you used regular Mod Podge… but the Mod Pod Photo transfer formula dries white, not clear!!!! I have tried SEVERAL different methods of application, but it still dries white… even when just painting the wood and leaving it. I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED. Your post is misleading and I will now have to use an alternative method which requires another trip to the store. If you did in fact use the Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium, you may want to try this project again to see if the result is the same. Maybe they changed the formula??? I don’t think you would in any way intentionally mislead readers, but unfortunately this does not work as implied.

    On the other hand it would work great if you wanted to keep the white in a photo!!

      • Jon says

        Hi Morena,
        As this tutorial is one of the first that appear in searches you should update the article.

        I think you need to either retry this project or put an edit/warning at the beginning. There is no way to obtain the wood grain effect with the product Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium CS15067 (this may be a Canadian part#). As Kim says it does not dry transparent, it dries as a white plastic and the background will not show through.

        My daughter and I have spent 2 days and money attempting to make a Mothers day gift on wood to have the grain show through similar to yours. After trying different papers and modes of laser printing the photo the end result is that the product still dries white and will not come off in the ‘white’ areas of the photo unless its peeled – ruining the image.

        • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

          Hi Jon, thanks for your feedback. We are sorry to hear your project did not turn out as hoped.

          As Morena mentioned in the comment above, the project and product used is 2-3 years old. The manufacturer may have changed the Mod Podge transfer formula since then. Morena did do a follow up post with video here:

          A photocopied image is suggested for this tutorial – we are not sure how a laser printed image works. Along with the type of copy, the paper thickness may affect the results.

  21. Linda says

    Wonderful project, exactly the solution I’ve been looking for!!
    BUT – is the krylon enough to seal out water? (I want to transfer a photo to a serving tray)
    AND – could I print the image on a color laser printer and use that?
    Thank you

  22. Roberta says

    This may have been asked, sorry if I missed the answer…..i want to make a picture matching game for my granddaughter. ….
    I’ve read enough to understand the photos don’t work if printed from an inkjet printed….i need to make multiples of the same image so I was wondering if I can print the photos on my inkjet and then take that paper to get photo copied….

  23. Tara says

    Hi! I have used actual laser paper with the laser copier and I have had issues. Should I be using regular printing paper with the laser copier instead?
    Also, I have painted over the messed up pictures. Do you think I could try the picture on the painted side?

  24. Janice Turner says

    Hi Morena,

    Love your craft ideas & have a question or two. The only Mod Podge I bought was this photo transfer medium. My back of project is a thin wood star I want to cover with scrapbook paper then once that’s dry the wood letters with photos on it will be on top of the star. Could I use this same Mod Podge for the scrapbook paper on the star or do I have to buy a different one? Please advise. I appreciate it. Thanx

  25. julie wilkes says

    If my photos are on my phone, can they be taken to Wal-Mart and pick the one off my phone and have them print it? But think they use matte or glossy.will this work to do it this away and i have mod podge gloss-lustre will that work?

  26. Emily says

    I tried this, and followed the instructions to a T. So how come on mine the white in the picture is still white instead of showing the wood through? Also, around the edges the photo is peeling up, maybe I didn’t use enough medium? Do I need to clean the board if it’s been sitting in a garage or lumbar yard?

  27. Chelsea says

    Excited to try this but I was going to try to do it with a smaller surface. How do you shrink images to make them fit? I was going to use 4×6 pictures and I want to shrink them to fit a 2×2 surface. I can figure out how to crop them square but not sure how to print them to scale. Any input would be appreciated

  28. Victoria says

    Hi, please may I clarify. Does it work best on normal photocopied images (so basically on white paper) rather than photo paper?

  29. Mitch says

    Hi, I just tried this, and let it dry for about 2 hours, since the Mod Podge seemed to be dry. Everything was going fine when I started rubbing the paper, but the white parts of the paper were not transparent like I thought they would be. It looks like everywhere I put Mod Podge, regardless of whether or not there was ink on the paper, stuck to the wood. Now I have this ugly looking picture with a white blob all around it.

    I’m wondering what I did wrong. Do I have to let it dry overnight? What will make the white parts become transparent?

    • says

      I’m not sure. The paper sticks to the transfer medium so if the paper was white then the white will transfer. Can you trim off the excess before you transfer?

      • Mitch says

        It’d be difficult to trim the all the excess, since there’s unwanted white inside the image as well.

        In the picture of the children in the car, how does the background behind the children and the bright sky rub off to show the wood? That’s the ‘transparent’ effect I was trying to acheive

      • Laura S. says

        I believe you need to trim that white border all away before you start your transfer. If you want wood to show all around your picture edges, use a larger piece of wood or a smaller photo. And/Or, it would be more tedious but, it you don’t put the transfer medium in those places on the photocopy, it won’t xfer either.

    • Lovemelissa says

      Did you regular mod podge or mod podge photo transfer? Photo transfer mod podge has this affect where it teansfers the entire image. Great for fabric not so great on wood…

  30. Tara says

    Hi I was wondering what I am doing wrong. I have tried this 3 times now and each time my colors aren’t great it has a pink tint to it. I did a black and white one and it also had a pink tint to it also. When I rub my picture off the color actually gets on my fingers and on the paper coming off. Please if u could help me on what I am doing wrong I would appreciate it thank u

      • Heather says

        Good morning,

        I hope I’m not repeating something that has already been answered here but I just need a lil clarification please. Is a copy from my personal inkjet printer the same as a copy from a printing company? Or is there a particular type of printer I can purchase to avoid long drive to the copy store? Thanks in advance!

      • esthi says

        Hi Morena,
        Maybe a silly question. Would an inkjet image work if you iron it priot to transfer (without steam, with baking paper between iron and image)? If no-one has tried it yet, I’m having a go during my next holidays.

  31. terri says

    I was wondering about the printer.. if our printer has a copier on it could we use that, copy the picture and print the picture on regular computer paper life your saying.. is that the same thing as going to a print shop??

  32. alina says

    I want to do cubes of Peter rabbit pictures on it. So it’s not photos do u still have to use laser printer which I don’t have? I can print the images on my hp printer and then go to like a ups or kinkos? I’m not sure what to do.

    • Antony Sendall says

      Mod Podge is basically just 3 parts PVA glue to 1 part water ! It really is as simple as mixing them together 😉

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Allison, if the wood is smooth (like the wood panel Morena used), there is no need to sand. If you are using a very rough piece of wood, you should probably smooth it out.

  33. Britney Hudson says

    do the pictures have to be laser printed or can it just be an actual photo printed off at any kiosk?

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Britney, use a photo copy for the best results. Glossy and matte photos will not transfer well.

  34. Chris says

    I am wondering if I could do more then 1 picture on a piece of wood! I’d like to center a somewhat bigger picture in the middle and then put smaller ones around it? Could you also cut different shapes out of the picture’s your transferring? Please help right away! My email is

  35. Diana says


    Thanks for your tutorial. I tried this craft and it is almost OK except that I ended up with some air bubbles between the medium and the wood! I wouldn’t mind if the bubble wasn’t exactly on my son’s eye. What did I do wrong? Is there a way to avoid this? Thank you

  36. jaylynn martinez says

    Hi, I have all the materials I need, except for the ppictures. I called my local fed-ex/kinkos to make a photo copy enlargement. They can do them for me very inexpensively. However, theyre printers/copiers are laser. And their paper is 24 lb. Would that work? Or do u suggest anything else?

  37. laura says

    I have a Epson printer at home. I have color pictures printed. I want these pictures transferred though in black and white. What do I do. Just make a copy if them on a printer at my work or what?

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Laura, if you want the project to be black and white then make a photocopy on a black and white copy machine.

  38. Tim says

    Morena I was wondering a couple of things.
    1) My ink is considered quick drying, its the Epson XP-410. I have used highlighters on things I’ve printed out on my inkjet and they have completely smeared everything this printer has not done that so i was wondering if it would work.
    2) Did you use photo paper or copy paper?
    Thank you so much,

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Tim, we are not familiar with your type of printer, so cannot tell you if it will work or not. If you’re not sure how well your printed image will work, test it by dropping some water on it to see if the ink smears or not.
      You need to use a photocopied image on copy paper.

  39. Netta says

    the image that will be photocopied, does it have to be an actual image? or can it be like a printed image from my computer at home?

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Netta, the image can be anything you wish. You just need to use a photocopied image for best results.

  40. Jonathan says

    Morena thanks for the idea. I’m working up the courage to do this. My only question is, the photo I’m looking to transfer has a little text. Do you have any recommendations for a program that can invert the photo. I’m looking through windows and it doesn’t apprear to be an easy option for the image viewing programs I have.


  41. Sabrina says

    Question about printing. I have a photo printer (an HP Photosmart Printer). I assume I need to print my picture on reg copy paper or would photo paper work. If not, then it has to be printed on copy paper via a laser printer?

  42. Rachel says

    I did this with several photos on a plaque. I had an issue with two photos. Can I rub the whole photo off and try again? I don’t want to redo the whole thing bc the other photos came out ok. Also, there are still some fuzzies, will a layer of mod podge hide them?

  43. Cathy says

    I’ve tried this project using various things with mixed results. I used a teeny, tiny canvas from my craft store (like 2.5″ x 2.5″) using a thin piece of flowered scrapbook paper I had as a test. I didn’t use the Mod Podge because my craft stores don’t have it so I used the Liquitex. It came out okay. Still had a little bit of that white ‘film’ on it and I didn’t want to rub anymore off for fear of losing my pic so I immediately coated it with regular Mod Podge and it went away. So I got a little braver and did a test on wood. I printed out a pic of a chicken I took in sepia with just the eye area red colored and printed on my laser printer. The first time, I just couldn’t get the paper all the way off and rubbed too much off for my liking – didn’t even fit my ‘rustic look’ definition. So I rubbed everything off and started over. Did some more googling and found a handy tip: With the rest of the fuzzies or opaque look, go over it gently with oily furniture polish like Old English. That did the trick for me! Then I sealed it with Mod Podge (drying now). I tried doing two 8×10 canvases after the tiny canvas success but both were bombs. I think my laser paper is too heavy (24 weight). So I’m going to search for at least 20 weight and try again. The scrapbook paper I used was definitely lighter weight than my laser printer paper. I’ve read mixed reviews on the Mod Podge photo transfer stuff so I might skip buying that and stick with the Liquitex, depending on if the lighter weight laser paper makes a difference or not. Anyway, try using the Old English trick on your canvas – that tip was from someone that used in on canvas and I’ve not had a chance to do that yet but it worked on wood.

  44. Jess says

    I have a quick question. I have done the photo transfer onto a piece of wood. I followed the instructions, but when I removed the paper I had major issues. :( I no matter now much I rubbed the paper I couldn’t get rid of a very fine layer of paper. I’m not sure if that’s the fuzzies you mentioned above? I would rub, and rub and rub…but I would eventually just either still have a white layer on my piece of wood or I would end up rubbing the photo completely off. Any tips?

  45. Adele says

    I’ve made 6 of these and they came out wonderful! I had no idea you could do it on a painted surface. I’m trying that one today :) Can you transfer the image to a STAINED surface? I was thinking of applying a coat of stain to the wood first. Thanks!

  46. April says

    In printing the photo, can I use an ordinary paper? Like a bondpaper?

    Btw, your crafts here are really good. More powers! 😀

      • Dhru says


        I have transferred a few pictures onto wood but the image on wood is cuming out to be lighter than the original image. The colour dsnt look faded but it looks very light. Can you plz suggest me what can be done in this case.

    • says

      It’s hard to describe…it may seem like a very thin layer of paper left, but it’s as if the color has been transferred to the medium and thus sealed onto the surface.

  47. Ieshia says

    Hello , I love this idea and wanted to add something to my 2 yr old son’s wooden table to make it stand out a little more. Right now his table is just black and he have 2 spiderman chairs, can I add pictures to a black table without the pictures being too dark?

    • says

      Yes, you can. For a dark surface, I would trim the image to remove any excess paper, and be sure to use the photo transfer medium that states “for dark fabrics”. Regular Mod Podge or gel medium gives a more transparent background.

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for stopping by! According to Morena, it needs to be completely dry. She let it dry overnight, so about 18-24 hours. Smaller projects will dry faster than that.

  48. Jessica says

    I want to do this for my father for Christmas & yes I realize that is less than a week away. I’ve been through youtube and several websites and read over this project. My only problem is the inkjet part, i’m worried I wont choose the right copy paper, copy machine etc. I am now officially panicking. :/

    • says

      Oh nooo! Please send that to CraftFail. :)

      It looks like the transfer solution didn’t dry completely, and then way too much water was used. Just use a damp cloth….don’t soak the board. I hope the second attempt was better.

    • Lynn says

      Hi Morena,
      Is the idea to completely remove the paper after it’s wet to reveal the image so that no paper is left? Thank you!

      • says

        It’s hard to describe…it may seem like a very thin layer of paper left, but it’s as if the color has been transferred to the medium and thus sealed onto the surface.

  49. LAYLI says

    Thanks for an awesome lesson on this! I noticed any white on the image to be transferred comes out clear in the finished product which can be an advantage,but what would need to be done to have the white bits white, where you wanted them? Thanks

  50. Jay says

    I’m trying to make a few of these with pics of my son for Xmas gifts. I’m using laser printers and I’ve tried both 20lbs paper and 18lbs paper. After I get the top layer of paper off there’s always the little fuzzys left, so I wet it down and try to rub them off but usually I end up rubbing off parts of the picture. Any tips?

    • says

      Jay, let it dry completely then use a lightly damp cloth and light pressure to try to get the fuzzy’s off. You can also seal it with Mod Podge or a spray on sealant to give it a glossy look and hide the “fuzzy” parts.

  51. Denise says

    Hi Morena, I saw this process on a utube. I have done crafts for years, I got really excited and jumped right in. After looking at some other videos I am now a little scared. I printed several photos at photo store, so now I am confused. I need to copy a photo from a copy of photo to regular paper? Please respond ASAP. Thank you, Denise

  52. says


    I tried this and let it dry overnight, and the image isn’t transparent. I used modpodge photo transfer medium. It came out white…. I am really embarrassed I couldn’t do this simple project… please help!

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      Hi Julie, is it still white after following step 4? It will be white until you remove the paper with a damp cloth.

      • says

        I ended up redoing my project using Liquitex Gel Medium instead. Just a note to anyone attempting this project, you cannot use Mod Podge photo transfer and expect a transparent background. This is an opaque, white liquid, and it dries opaque white.

  53. Melissa says

    Can I use an actual photograph or do I have to have a photocopy of it? I’d really like to make a 12 x 18 print. I don’t think I can get a copy in that size but can have the photo printed in that size. Thanks for your help.

    • says

      Melissa, I have experimented with both glossy and matte photos, and neither worked for me. The glossy print was just glued to the wood….there was no transfer. The matte print mostly worked, but there were sections that did not adhere, so the end result wasn’t attractive (ie. a missing nose!). You can make large color prints at copy stores, like Office Max, pretty inexpensively.

  54. Tami says

    Hi Morena,

    I have an ink jet printer that has a color copier also, and I’m assuming that part of it is ink jet too, so is there a difference between using that or taking it to the a store’s copier machine like you recommended? Thank for the tips, your crafts are so cool.


    • says

      Thanks, Tami! An ink jet copy won’t work: the ink will smear when it gets wet with the transfer medium. If you have a laser printer, that would work. You can test your image by dropping some water on it to see if the ink smears or not.

  55. amanda says

    What kind of paint would you use behind it if you didn’t want the wood showing through? I am doing this on dark wood but the photographs are black and white so I was thinking of painting a cream color where the pictures will be transferred so that you can still see them well but I don’t know if I should use acrylic or? Thanks!

  56. Michelle says

    So, I want to do this for my daughter’s wedding. I have an old piece that is actually several pieces of wood put together… It is the “floor” of an old swing that my daughter used to swing on when she was little. What I’m trying to get across is that the wood is not “solid.” Will that still work?

    • says


      I think it would work. I would experiment on a practice piece first, but I think this is doable, as long as you’re careful to press the image firmly into the uneven spaces. What a great gift idea!

      • mead says

        I found this great tip for transfering to old wood from another site. you can get better results by applying a layer of gel medium going with the grain of the wood on the old swing, let it dry, then another layer going across the grain, then a layer or two on the face of the actual photo itself, and then a final layer [going with the grain] on the wood to glue the photo down. this will help greatly help the photo transfer on your old swing…

  57. Michelle says

    Hi! So if I were to say do two layers of transfer would that work? Like first I transfer a book page then once i completed that I redo the whole process adding a picture on top. Could that work out do you think?

  58. Tracy says

    Thanks for the clarification Morena,

    I’m off to get my photo photocopied as I only have an inkjet printer at home.

    Take care,

  59. Tracy says

    Hi Morena,

    I really like this idea and have done it before but am going to try again. You mentioned you photocopied the photo. Did you print it at home with an inkjet printer or laser and then take it to get photocopied in colour?

    Thank you,

    • says

      Thank you, Tracy!

      I used an actual 8 by 10 photograph and made a color copy of it at my local library. You could also print it at home and make a copy. As I mentioned in the tutorial, don’t use your ink jet printer copy…the ink will smear when wet! You can also use images from books and magazines and transfer them.

        • says

          Danielle, a page from a magazine would work!, even if it was glossy. I don’t think a magazine cover would work, because I think it would be too slick, but I have experimented with pages in magazines and books, and they work. If it’s an image I want to use again (like in a book I don’t want to destroy) then I make a color copy.

          • larry says

            would this also work with a poster? I have an actual print, similar to the print quality and paper of that on a calendar.

  60. Karen says

    I think it would be nicer if you use software to reverse the image of the print you plan to use so that the finished product is not reversed image. If you flip the print, then the final product will look like the original image.

  61. Lisa Moerbe says

    I too love that it looks like its part of the wood ! The photo transfer buy at like a Michaels or local craft store??
    I also love the way you sanded the edges once applied, it really gives it a cool stylized look. There is an app on a smart phone that decorates the edges of a snap with that sort of “rough border”…
    Just really neat,..thanks for sharing!

  62. Kat Chavez says

    I have tried this a thousand times I feel like and when every I rub I guess I rub too hard and the picture starts to come up? I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong. I feel like there is always still a layer of paper left on the board….I haven’t used the mod podge photo transfer product yet I have used Liquidex gel medium…d you like the podge better?

    • says

      Hi Kat! I have done this with gel medium and the mod podge medium, and they are very similar to me. I’ll have to try them side by side sometimes to see which turns out better. The first time I tried this technique I did rub too hard. Also, if you wet the surface too much you can lift too much of the image. Try practicing on smaller pieces of wood, and make sure to use a LOT of the transfer medium…almost to the point that you cannot see the image…and be sure it dries completely before you start. I hope that helps!

      • Stacey says

        I finally gave up on this technique. I guess either I wet it too much or didn’t put enough transfer medium on to begin with, but after some mediocre successes and a few failures, I just decided to stick to decoupage. BUT. After reading this, maybe I’ll give it another go. :-)


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