DIY Gifts: Photo Transfer To Wood

Hi Everyone! I’m Allie Bloyd at Builders Surplus with a holiday inspired how-to: Photo transfer to wood pictures! This is a fairly simple craft (for even the least crafty of you) that can be done for Christmas DIY gifts for loved ones. This is a very person and heartfelt gift that I’m sure they will love. Is is pretty inexpensive, but absolutely lovely! Let’s get started!

Photo Transfer To Wood Materials List:

For this project you will need:

  • An unfinished wood block (any shape that you want)
  • Mod Podge
  • A laster jet printer
  • Regular printer paper
  • Photos of your choice
  • A sponge
  • Paint (optional – add an extra sponge for this)
  • Decorative Bows (Optional)
  • Sand Paper
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • How Glue Gun & Hot Glue


Photo Transfer to Wood Instructions:

Photo Transfer to Wood Builders Surplus

Step 1:

Your first step is to print out your favorite photo using a laser jet printer. If there is text in your image, mirror the image before printing so that you’re text will come out correctly.

Step 2:

Take your unfinished wood block and paint the edges, or the full block. You can also leave it unfinished. This is up to you. Painting the edges tends to give it a more finished look.  Let dry.

Step 3:

Take your Mod Podge and sponge, along with your printed photo. With the photo side up, pour a generous amount of Mod Podge onto the photo and spread it around evenly. Turn the image over with the Mod Podge covered image face down on the block.

Step 4:

Using your hands, get the image as straight as possible, soothing out any large lumps or creases. Then, take a credit card or ID (any card will work) and run it from top to bottom over the paper smoothing out any bubbles or smaller bumps. This is very important to getting your image to come out correctly.

Step 5:

Let sit for at least 4 hours. If you try to take it off before this time has passed, your image will come off along with the paper.

Step 6:

Take a rag soaked in water. Lay on top of the paper on your block. Let sit for 5 minutes to get the paper fully saturated.

Step 7:

Remove the rag and take your fingers to the top of the image. In a circular motion with 2 fingers, start rubbing the paper off. Don’t use too much pressure initially or you will run the risk of tearing the image off with the paper. Keep the image wet as you are doing this. After you’ve gone over the entire image, you should see your picture fairly clearly. It may seem that you are done, but you’re not! You can take a hair dryer to the image to make it dry faster, or you can wait for it to dry, but when it is dry, you’ll see paper residue on the image.

Step 8:

Repeat step 7, keeping the image wet as you slowly rub the paper off. Repeat until your image is clear from white residue when it is dry.

Step 9:

When your image is clear, and dry, get out your sand paper. Take it to the edges of the photo to remove the straight line. This makes it feel like it is part of the wood. If you painted the edges, the other option is to take a sponge to the edges of the image with the same color to make it blend in. Let dry.

One thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be perfect! Part of the beauty of these are the rustic imperfections. Don’t beat yourself up if a little something scratches off!


Step 10:

Decide how much you want your image to hang down. Take a pair of scissors and cut a piece of twine. Flip your image over. Take hot glue and make a strip going from top to bottom on the upper left corner. Immediately put the twine over top of it. Then, go over top of it with another layer of hot glue. Repeat on the upper right corner. Let dry.

Photo Transfer to Wood Builders Surplus


Step 11:

Lay your image flat on a table. Lift the string upwards as if it were hanging. Take your decorative bow (or any other decoration you choose) and lay it flat on top. Then, take your hot glue and glue it there. Make sure the string is laying as it will be when it is hanging up, or your bow will be pointing towards the ceiling instead of straight ahead. Let dry.
You’ve completed your first photo transfer to wood! These will be perfect DIY Gifts or a nice addition to your home. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have any question about this project or others, feel free to drop us a comment below! Happy Renovation!

Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!

Written By: Allie Bloyd