I wish I was an artist who could paint any image that I wanted to by hand. I’m pretty sure that even if I took classes, that is not something that I could easily do. You’ve either got it or you don’t!
Luckily, there are other ways to create and it is quite possible to make a fun wooden sign, with an image, without creating the actual image yourself! All you have to do is find a favorite graphic, print it out, and transfer it to your wood with an inexpensive freezer paper that you can get from the grocery store.
I’ll show you exactly how to transfer images to wood like I did in making this fun fishing lure coat rack.
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Image Transfer To Wood Tutorial
What You Will Need
- a light piece of wood or wood painted a light color
- freezer paper roll or freezer paper in 8 1/2 x 11 sheets
- spray adhesive
- image to print – needs to be printed as a mirror image if using words
Instructions For How To Transfer Images To Wood
Before I show you how to transfer images to wood, you need to find and print your image to use. I found my image from Microsoft Word. I opened up a new document and clicked on insert and then clip art. Since I wanted something rustic and for our fishing cabin, I searched on fishing lures. It would go well with the rest of our fishing decor. There were several graphics to choose from and I chose a fairly simple one. Then, I simply double clicked it to put it in my document and then worked on resizing it to the size I wanted for my board. If I had wanted to add any words or more graphics, it would have been very easy to add right to my word document.
*Another great place to search for graphics is from the Grapics Fairy. I especially love all of the vintage graphics and labels available on that site.
1. Prepare Wood For Image Transfer
First, I painted my wood with a coat of flat white latex paint and set it aside to dry. This creates a nice light background to help the image to really stand out. If you use a light color wood, you don’t necessarily have to paint it first. The image will still show up. Just don’t use a dark stained wood.
2. Cut Freezer Paper To An 8 1/2 x 11 Sheet
I bought my freezer paper from the grocery store in a roll so I needed to cut a piece out to fit in my printer. *You can also buy freezer paper in 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets. Since the paper curls, you will want to attach it to a regular sheet of printer paper so that it goes through the printer without a problem. It works best to first cut the freezer paper a little bit larger than your regular sheet.
3. Adhere Computer Paper To Freezer Paper
Place your computer paper in a protected area, like a cardboard box, and spray it with adhesive. I used a colored sheet so I didn’t waste my white paper! Adhere the computer paper to the non-waxy side of your freezer paper.
4. Trim Away Excess Freezer Paper
4. Now you can trim away the excess freezer paper so that it is the same size as your printer paper.
5. Print Your Graphic
Now all you have to do is insert your paper into the printer, making sure to insert it so that it prints on the waxy freezer paper side. The waxy side will be more shiny. If you are printing any words, make sure to set your printer to print in a mirror image.
6. Transfer The Image To Wood
As soon as the image comes out of the printer, carefully carry it over to the wood you want to transfer it to. The ink will stay wet so you want to be careful not to touch and smudge it. Turn it face down on your wood and carefully rub it with a hard flat tool. I used a square pencil.
The ink will stay wet on the wood for a little while so don’t touch it until it is dry.
Next, I just added a couple of vintage coat hooks to the sides of my board and now I have a fun coat rack for our cabin.
I’ve also used this freezer paper method for transferring images on wood furniture. Since my graphics also contained words, I had to print them out as a mirror image.