Transferring Photographs to Wood

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2 Transferring Photographs to Wood Difference between transferring photograph to wood and decoupage. Decoupage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts such as photographs, etc. and then applying a varnish or lacquer finish. Photo Transfer is the art of taking a laser copy of an image and applying a gel medium to actually transfer the ink of the photograph to the surface of the wood. This process makes the image appear to be part of the wood instead of just glued to the surface as in decoupage.

3 Note: This is a process where the finished product has a very rustic look. Supplies: Wood (old or new unfinished, stained, painted) Photocopied Mirror Image (you must use a laser photocopy on standard printer paper or it will most likely not turn out correctly) Acrylic Gel Medium (liquitex, golden, etc. found at AC Moore s or Michael s) Mod Podge (gloss or matte) Brushes (foam or bristles) Soft Rags (I use old t-shirts) Scissors Old Credit Card (something to smooth out air bubbles and wrinkles) Hanging Brackets and Coated Wire (Ook readyscrew D-ring hangers, Softstrand plastic coated wire) Sand Paper or Sanding block Opt. Bristle Brush (1 in.) Wood Stain Acrylic Paint

4 Directions: (The following are the steps that I use in this process there are other methods that accomplish the same thing.) Step 1: Find an image that you think would look good on wood. Images can be either b/w or color. An image with high contrast seem to come out better on the wood. I up the contrast and saturation on the images I choose. The images needs to be flipped horizontally and saved at 300dpi resolution. You also need to decide on the size that you want your finished product. Remember that you have to get laser copies of your image on standard printer paper. There is not a problem getting large laser copies of b/w images, but large color laser copies are difficult. I go to UPS and the largest color copy is 13x19. Images I want larger are pieced together. I have been to other printers and searched online, but as far as I know they do not have laser color copy machine that print in larger than the 13x19. At first I would print the reversed image and then take that picture to get it copied, which used a lot of ink, paper, and money. Now I just save the images to a thumb drive. My last image copy cost me 95 cents at UPS. Either cut the image out or tear the edges for the torn paper look.

5 Step 2: Get your piece of wood to fit your picture size. You can use most any type of wood, new or recycled. If I use new wood, it is usually a 1x12 pine board from Home Depot that I cut to picture size (image is usually 11x14). I have also used boards salvaged from where they replaced the boardwalk at HBSP, old boards from steps of a deck, and a piece of paneling salvaged from one of the stores that burnt on Front Street in Georgetown. I like the natural grain and look of the old boards. I do sand the boards some more than others. The board can be stained, painted or left natural depending on your image or the look you are trying to achieve. Step 3: Take a 1 in. sponge brush and the Acrylic Gel Medium(I use Liquitex) and put a smooth coating over the surface of the board. Also use another sponge brush to put a smooth layer of medium on the image. Note: If it is too thick or there or globs of medium the paper will be hard to get off, however if you don t have enough medium the ink from the image will not adhere to the board.

6 Step 3: Carefully take your image and place it face down on the board. Smooth it with your hands and the edge of something straight, such as a old credit card, to get the air bubbles out. Then set the project aside to dry at least 8 hrs. I just always wait until the next day. Step 4: Now for the fun part! After it has dried overnight I take a soft rag and a small bowl of water and gently wet the surface of the paper. You should be able to tell when all the paper is saturated with water. Then using your fingers (keeping your fingers wet) in a slow circular motion begin rubbing the paper off. The paper will come up in little balls and pieces. This step has to be repeated until all the paper is off or until you are satisfied with the way the picture looks. Note: Do not rub to hard or to long in the same spot. Some of the actual image will probably come off and unless it is an important part of the picture it will just add to the rustic look. I remove a large part of the paper the first time, then I let it dry. When it is dry if the picture is still white, cloudy, or I see fuzzy paper fibers, I wet the surface again and repeat the rubbing process. I use a dry paintbrush to brush off the paper pieces. This step may have to repeated as many as 20+ times depending on the size of your picture.

7 Step 5: After you finally have the picture like you want it and you have cleaned up all the mess that Step 4 created, you are ready to seal the image. Using the Mod Podge and a sponge brush cover the surface with a smooth layer. You may want to use several layers of sealer letting it dry between layers Note: Before sealing if you want the edges of the board painted do that step now, also paint or stain can be added to the surface of the picture to make it look more antique or texture to the picture. Step 6: Attach whatever style hanger you choose to use. I use Ook hangers and plastic coated picture hanging wire. Note: I have not been doing the process for very long so I am in know way an expert at this technique, but if you have any questions I will try to either answer, find the answer or refer you to where you may find the answer. My address:

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