How to Transfer a Photograph Onto a Block of Wood

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial that’ll teach you a cool method of transferring a photo print (black and white or color) onto a block of wood.

All you’ll need (aside from the photo and wood) is some gel medium and Mod Podge. You’ll want to use prints made with some kind of laser printer or copier rather than an ink printer.

DIY Wooden Picture [ReadyMade]

  • Andjeo_92

    hello guys.. i need some help..i cant find gel coz i live in a village and the only mod podge i can make or find is uhu kids school glue with water..seeing the gel can replace the mod podge u thik i could only use that type of decoupage ( the school glue for both?or is there any DIY gel medium? thanks for ur help in advance!!!!x

  • Andie

    I would try sanding the wood first or using a wooden plaque (they sell them at Joann’s and Michael’s for something like $5). The piece you’re using looks like it has a heavy grain and that the image is rubbing off in the direction of the grain. It might be that the raised parts of the wood is preventing the image from sticking.

  • Krumer89

    This is great, going to give some out as Christmas presents this year.

  • monica

    I’m having the same problem as well. I’ll try more gel medium. Did you find if either sanding the wood or more gel worked? 

  • Anonymous

    Hey all getting a little frustrated and need all and any advice. I have tried this five times and I’ve either scrubbed too hard to where the image came off, or all th eother time there is white paper residue all over. I have tried rinsing, scrubbing gently, putting more modge podge over it. Christmas is next week and I have tried all I can think of. Any other suggestions?

  • Dillpickle666

    you have to remember to put the mod podge on right away, I forgot to do this and it made my picture look worse

  • Emma

    hello guys.. i need some help..i cant find gel coz i live in a village and the only mod podge i can make or find is uhu kids school glue with water..seeing the gel can replace the mod podge u thik i could only use that type of decoupage ( the school glue for both?or is there any DIY gel medium? thanks for ur help in advance!!!!x

  • Anonymous

    you need the gel medium because of the acrylic. You can also look into using acrylic culking as well maybe a hardware store can have that

  • Anonymous

    I did that as well :(

  • Orangequeen1025

    are you supposed to take off all of the paper or just rub off until you have the last layer left then modge podge the last layer of paper?? 

  • James

    I’ve done this with caulking and it works well.

  • James

    The types of inks and the type of paper both come into play. You’ll need to experiment. I would imagine that one of the inks could be running. That’s why laser toner is better

  • Anonymous

    for best results you let it dry then you can rub again. I finally got a few to work using copy paper ink. I needed to let it dry and “rinse” by rubbing about 3 to 4 times

  • Stephanieluimes

    i tried this and it didn’t work at all, i thought it was the coolest idea and planned on doing it for many christmas gifts and now have no idea what to do? is there some other type of way i could get the same outcome?

  • Guest

    How long after you wet the image with water do you wait until you put the modge podge on??

  • duncancreamer

    When you’ve rubbed all the paper off and the block of wood is dry. The last modgpodge is just for protection of the image.

  • duncancreamer

    #1: Watch the video.
    #2: Read the labels.

  • D Taylor

    I hate that Canada never has the crafty stuff you need…. I cannot find Clear acrylic or clear medium gel anywhere…. i googled another transfer site and they said you can use Gesso in replace of the gel and they liiiiied!!!!!! Canadian Brands??? help plzzz

  • Vicki

    Could I use elmers craft bond spray adhesive to replace the gel medium? I have looked high and low for it and no luck.

  • Silje Andersen

    I’ve made four attempts now: two on canvas, two on wood. For one of each I left the image under a huge stack of heavy books over night (well, for about 24 hours since I didn’t have time to remove the paper before work).

    The result is way better when I leave it under the books for both :)

  • Lara Croft

    The Gel Medium and Modge Podge are both available at Jo Ann’s Fabrics (Dallas/Ft. Worth area), if you live near one.

  • Lala5

    Does this work with homemade Mod Podge (water and elmer’s glue)?

  • Lizbarret

    Where can you get that size of wood?

  • Artsmart

    Did that back in the early 70’s it was called Decoupage.

  • Pirateboy11

    So I’ve done this a few times and only once did it work really well. My problem is that I can’t get all of the paper off the wood without taking off a lot of the image so when I put the modge podge on top it leaves a white residue where paper still is. I don’t know if i’m just rubbing the paper too hard or if i’m not using enough gel medium or if i’m not letting it dry long enough. Can someone help please?!

  • Johanna

    My black and white prints have a green coat when I rub them off…what am I doing wrong?

  • Bigalguitarpicker

    Or save yourself a lot of trouble and use Lazertran paper . . .

  • Cobi

    Any gel will work.  The purpose of it is to make the image stick to it.  You know, I bet even a mix of elmer’s glue and water would work as well.  Understanding the ingredients purposes will enable you to experiment with different items.  This works on glass and plastic as well.

  • Cobi

    If you don’t have modge podge, you can also coat the top with the same medium.

  • Cobi

    All it does is protects the image after you’ve rubbed the paper off.  You can use the same medium on top if you do not have modge podge.

  • Cobi

    I know it will work on glass and plastic.  There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work on metal as well.

  • Cobi

     once you put a clear coat on, it should take care of the fuzzy white residue you’re seeing.

  • Syndee

    Here is a recipe I found on Pinterest if you cannot find in in a store near you. (You can always buy it on Amazon, too.)White school glue.
    A jar with twice the volume of your glue
    Yeah, that’s it

    Squeeze the glue into the jar.
    Fill the glue bottle with water. Seal and shake. Now squeeze that watery
    stuff into the jar. Seal and shake.

  • Ladyluckboom

    Has anyone tried adding a stain or painting the wood block before transferring the photograph? I was wondering if it would be a better idea to stain/paint all the surfaces EXCEPT the one where the picture is going…any ideas?

  • Mati_m

    can it be done in color

  • iXpress

    Thank You for the great instructional video. Trie this with my student and it was a great success.

  • Nikki

    I tried this, accept when I went to wet the paper and peel it off (after letting it dry for over 24 hrs), all the ink came off with the paper. And it left like white splotches wherever the paper didn’t come off… any suggestions?

    Did I let the paper bond to the wood for too long? Did I use too crappy of paper? Or a bad printer maybe?


  • Snoopyrees

    Do believe mod podge is PVA watered down like some one else said white school glue lol n so cheep.You can also use it to seel a wall before its plastered. Works like a barrier x

  • Michellebuckner

    Tried with the ink printer and it rubbed the picture off. Guess I will have to figure something else out.

  • Christiannurse1

    50% elmers glue 50% water

  • Kimberlydiana

    just get a copy of the picture from any copy machine. i paid 15 cents at a gas station. my sister went to kinkos & got a copy. it worked great! not perfect but definately not bad for my first try!!

  • TJ

    Staples has laser printers so you can save pictures to a flash drive and get the copies at staples. :-)

  • Tony

    Great video! Very educational and I like the way you made the video – and the song is cool, too. Thank!

  • Julia198x

    I just did it and it worked perfect…I used Omni Gel…which I found at Michaels! Thank u so much!

  • Renee

    Nice tutorial! Yes, laser print is the way to go, not ink jets. But I really appreciate the tips from Brunnie to print your image flopped so it prints correctly on the wood & from duncreamer to use several coats of acrylic on front of a glossy inkjet paper, then remove paper backing with a damp sponge. Actually, many fab tips in the comments!

  • Qbheineman2011

    I just tried it on glass, I let it dry over night, and everything peeled off..What did I do wrong?

  • Scobellexpressions

    What a great video. You are so cute and entertaining! I am going to make something like this for my dad’s birthday

  • Bucklandcharlie

    Off topic: What’s the music?

  • Jessica Ramey

    Mod Podge is a glue, sealer, and finisher all in one product. It’s like white craft glue and water mixed;that’s the consistency. I use it all the time.

  • Anthrprettyface

    Also, try using a sheet of clear lamination (the transparent shelf paper kind of stuff) – simply apply the lamination, smoothing out any bubbles, then soak it in soapy water til you can see image through the paper.  Rub the paper off and you have a stained glass style print!