How To Transfer A Photo To Wood – Video Tutorial


Many decorations are expensive and not that stylish to being worth your attention. With the tricks featured in this tutorial, you can make your own custom piece of decoration. Read the following and learn how to transfer a photo to wood and actually make a nice `painting` to place in your living room. Here is what you’ll need:

• a picture printed on a regular piece of paper;
• a block of wood (smooth, sanded wood is recommended);
• gel medium;
• Mod Podge;

You begin with covering the piece of wood with the gel medium and place the paper with the picture facing down. With your hand, smooth out the entire surface of the paper, getting rid of the bubbles in the process. Now, leave to dry overnight. The next day, get a slightly wet cloth and soak the paper with it. Make sure there aren’t any spots left un-soaked. You will notice then how easily the paper comes off, leaving the picture underneath imprinted on the piece of wood. Continue to rub with your fingers until it all comes off. Take the cloth and clean any residue of paper off the wood. Finally, cover the entire picture with some Mod Podge and let to dry for a bit. You’re done!

Video Tutorial – DIY Wooden Picture

62 Responses to “How To Transfer A Photo To Wood – Video Tutorial”

  1. JP. says:

    Any other names for “gel medium” and “mod podge” so i can try to find them here in chile!


  2. Anett says:

    Uhm.. It’s me once more… In my country it’s the same. (Hungary) You can find them in furniture shops also.

  3. Elize says:

    Any other name for “gel medium”? I”m in RSA and would love to try it.

  4. Sepee says:

    I love this, can you please answer JP? I tried asking ACE Hardware in Dubai and they don’t know what i want except for the wood.

    thank you.

  5. Birthe says:

    Id there alternatives to gel medium and mod podge. Cant seem to find it around here (Denmark)
    But awesome idea. Would love to try this

    • Baka says:

      Mod podge can be made by mixing elmers glue with some water so you can paint it onto any surface. I don’t know of an alternative for the gel.

      • Elaine Olds says:

        ahhhh…………then, the alternative to Mod Podge is basically PVA glue watered down….used in this way, it works as a sealant, like a varnish…………..not sure what gel medium is though x

    • mone says:

      “Søstrene grene” Has the gel in the art section… For det other one i guess you have panduro? as we have in Norway. They’ve got decopauge glur for the top

  6. Terry says:

    Ok here is the $64,000.00 question, what paper do you use?

  7. dore says:

    hola alguien me lo explica en español gracias¡¡

  8. Bart says:

    Your picture will be mirrored this way.

    • Brigitte says:

      If you print your picture in the “mirrored” fashion, you can then get the “true” original image on your piece of wood.

    • Jennifer says:

      I thought about that too! I guess if you don’t want the picture mirrored you could mirror image it and then print it out, then it would be a true representation again. 😉

  9. Jaime says:


    Yo voy a intentar hacerlo este fin de semana. Mientras hago el experimento te explico lo que he entendido hasta ahora: Necesitaras

    • imprimir una foto en papel comun (no fotografico). En otros blogs he visto que debe ser con impresor inkjet o puede ser tambien con una fotocopia.
    • una tabla lisa (lijada)
    • gel medium: hasta donde he entendido es un adelgazador para pinturas acrilicas ***el fin de semana ire a una tienda de materiales de arte y te lo confirmo
    • Mod Podge: aun no se que es, pero es una forma de pegamento o barniz

    Primero limpias la tabla y luego cubres toda la superficie con la gel medium. Pones el papel con la imagen de la foto viendo hacia la tabla (la idea es que la tinta de la foto se impregne con la gel y luego quede pegada en la tabla). Con tu mano te aseguras de alisar toda la superficie del papel deshaciendo cualquier burbuja que pudiese haber quedado. Lo dejas secar durante toda la noche. Al dia siguiente con un paño de tela bastante humedecido con agua remojas o empapas todo el papel de la foto. Debes asegurarte que no quede ninguna parte del papel sin quedar mojado. Luego, con lo humedecido el papel se despegara facilmente, dejando la imagen de la foto transferida en la superficie de la madera. Continua frotanto con tus dedos hasta que todo el papel quede retirado. Siempre con el paño puedes terminar de limpiar cualquier residuo de papel en la tabla. Finalmente, cubres toda la imagen en la madera con el “Mod Podge” y lo dejas secar… y listo!

    Te comento como me va el fin de semana con los materiales y el procedimiento 🙂

  10. Yea, I don’t see a video. not that’s ok, I understand it, by the step by step pictures. Just thought you might like to know, that the video was not an option. I don’t know why? But great idea! Thnx! 🙂

  11. Dr says:

    Regular photo paper or regular sheet of paper ?

  12. Laszlo says:

    Regular paper, what kind of printer? Laser or inkjet?

    I will try to find a “medium gel”…

    It is possible to fix the finished picture with water based varnish?

    • Ann says:

      Use regular copy paper, the cheapest kind works best. Don’t use special photo paper–it’s coated and too thick for this technique. Printer type? LASER, not inkjet. The ink from an inkjet printer is water soluble, which means that your image will smear and wash away when water contacts it. The toner from a LASER printer (or copier) will not do this because it is essentially ‘baked’ onto the surface of the paper. Hope this helps!

  13. Jazz says:

    Any news about paper? Same question as above – printed on regular (copy) paper or on photo paper?

  14. Kris says:

    Try this, a You Tube video about how to do it with Elmers Glue. Use non-water soluble version.

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  16. natalie says:

    You can use “transfer magic” from fabric shops. Its a glue used to transfer printed pictures onto fabric and its abput £4.99. Mod podge is watered down school glue/pva 🙂

  17. Deuce says:

    OK…if you print the picture on the paper, then place the picture face down on the wood, then the resulting picture is then “reversed” or backwards.

  18. kd3569 says:

    looked at and I find many different kinds of gel, is one better than the other, better results: gloss super heavy, gloss heavy, gloss medium, ultra matte, regular matte, acrylic matte, acrylic gloss, regular gloss

  19. kd3569 says:

    looked at and I find many different kinds of gel, is one better than the other, better results: gloss super heavy, gloss heavy, gloss medium, ultra matte, regular matte, acrylic matte, acrylic gloss, regular gloss,

    • nancy says:

      i have done a similar craft on slate or flagstone-but with no gel medium.i used modge podge and put it on the stone-then laid my paper picture-picture side up then smoothed out with hands then added a coat of modge podge,let dry an hoyur then did another cot of moge podge-let dry,done

      • Yvonne Schwarz says:

        Thank you Nancy sounds like another great idea besides the wood can’t wait to try it. you have a great day.

  20. Rhonda says:

    If you don’t want this reversed, change your printer image settings to print in mirror. White school works great if you don’t have modge podge

  21. cockroach says:

    this technique mirrors the picture

  22. john says:

    what kind of picture is allowed? can a printed picture/image from a computer is ok?

  23. JohannC says:

    Helpful hint, before you print the photo, use image software like photoshop to mirror image “flip” the image, and then print the edited version. That way the photo on the wood will be like the original. If you dont do it, your photo on wood will be the mirror image.

  24. JohannC says:

    argh I see now Rhonda already talk about the mirror 🙂

  25. Lori says:

    gel medium is another name for mod podge medium transfer. I bought my medium transfer on Amazon.

  26. mjhardin says:

    As a painter, I’ll add that you can coat the picture after it dries with the acrylic gel medium. It serves the same purpose as the Mod Podge – coating, sealing and protecting without the need to buy a second product.. It is also available in glossy, medium and matte (dull) so you have more control over the final look..

  27. Jim says:

    Would this process work with a color picture, or just black and white?

  28. shirley says:

    you can find them both at wal-mart in the art supply- gel for 8.64 and mod for 6.96

  29. Toni says: thats to cover those asking about modge podge and grl medium is acrylic gel medium probably found in the artists paints section.

  30. Arb says:

    A link for gel medium

  31. julie says:

    I still do not see the answer for regular print paper…photo paper or cardstock ? Which one to use.thank you!

  32. wayne says:

    if you are placing picture face down doesn’t the photo need to be flipped or inverted to turn out the same?

  33. Austin says:

    Can I cover the transferred image with polyurethane instead of Mod Podge to seal it? Or will this mess up the image?

  34. Robin says:

    Would like to see more video to learn this arts ‘ Transfer A Photo To Wood’

  35. Shelley says:

    Regular paper. Nothing special about the paper. You’re going to run it off. But it has to be a laser printer. I use a medium that allows you to paint the wood first. Some pics come out better with a white background.

  36. Nicole says:

    Where is a good place to find a slab of wood like that?

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