Image Transfer Technique With Transfer Medium

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to take your favorite photos or images and transfer them onto wood or painted furniture. It's a great way to make budget-friendly wall art, DIY signs, or add Wow factor to a piece of furniture. This image transfer technique with a transfer medium is so easy to do and a fun project you can do with the kids.

Image Transfer Technique

Image Transfer Technique With Transfer Medium

Let's take a look at some examples of how you can use this image transfer technique.

Transfer graphics onto old fence boards or reclaimed wood to make budget-friendly DIY Signs or wall art. Here is an example of where I transferred a family photo onto plank wood for rustic nursery art.

Photo Transfer To Wood

Another example is transforming plain terracotta pots into pretty DIY French Country Flower Pots with graphics.

Image Transfer Tutorial

In this example, I used this image transfer technique to add graphics to painted Kroehler French Provincial Side Tables.

Transfer Graphics To Furniture

What Do I Need To Transfer Images Onto Wood

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Materials List

Photograph or Image Graphic
Color Laser Printer
Bond Computer Paper
Image Transfer Medium
Foam Brush
Brayer (or old credit card)
Spray Bottle
Protective Clear Coat

How To Transfer Graphics or Photos Onto Wood

  1. Download a graphic or photograph you'd like to use for your design. My favorite source for images is The Graphics Fairy where you can find hundreds of free downloadable graphics.
  2. Print a mirror image of the photo or graphic onto regular bond paper with the print quality set to Best. Even subtle text like tattoos or clothing with text will appear backward otherwise.
  3. If you're using an inkjet printer, you must let the ink dry for several hours to prevent the ink from smearing. No need to wait when using a laser printer.
  4. If applying a small graphic, cut the excess paper around the graphic. Ignore this step if printing a full-size photo.
  5. With a foam brush, apply a generous coat of image transfer medium onto the good side of the image. It's important that you cover the entire surface of the image.
  6. Place the graphic or copied photo, image side down, on to the wood or furniture, being careful NOT to move it or it may smudge.
  7. With a brayer or old credit card, gently rub over the graphic to remove any air bubbles and ensure a tight bond with the wood.
  8. Allow the paper to completely dry (approximately three hours) before moving on to the next step.

Transfer Images To Wood

  1. It's best to work in sections during this step. Spray (not saturate) the image with a spray water bottle and with the ball of your finger or a damp cloth, gently remove the first layer ONLY of paper.
  2. Let the paper dry and repeat this process to remove the next layer of paper.
  3. Repeat again until all the layers have been removed and the graphic is visible. Don't be alarmed if the image looks somewhat mirky after all the layers of paper have been removed. We'll address this further down.

Mod Podge On Wood

How To Distress The Image

If you'd like the graphic or photo to be distressed along the edges, carefully sand the edges with 220-grit sandpaper.

How To Protect The Finish

Now we're ready to protect the finish on your piece. Brush one coat of either Mod Podge (matte or glossy) or a clear matte polyacrylic (especially for furniture) to protect the finish. You'll notice the murkiness disappeared with this step.

How To Age The Finish

If you'd like your project to have an aged time-worn patina, once the topcoat is dry, brush dark wax over the entire surface, including the graphic, and remove the excess with a lint-free rag.

DIY Mod Podge Ideas

Here is an example of how it'll look when you're finished on my Scalloped Tea Table.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer

Here is another idea for transferring graphics and typography onto furniture and home decor with this Image Transfer Technique Using Graphite Paper.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and that it inspired you to turn your favorite photos or images into inexpensive artwork or add that special touch to painted furniture.

If you have any questions about this image transfer technique, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this Wood Craft Idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your DIY Photo Crafts or DIY Mod Podge Ideas board on Pinterest.

Image Transfer Technique On Wood Crafts

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.