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How to do an Image Transfers to Wood

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with my best friend Rebecca and catch up on life over a glass of wine.  Rebecca and I have been best friends since the first grade, and she is my go to girl.  We have started a business together, we have planned epic parties together, and now she is one of my go to advisors for Tiffany O Studio.  We were talking about different ways that I can expand my offerings, and naturally we came up with about 700 things that would be fun to do.  Once our wheels get turning it can be a run away train sometimes.

One thing that I did notice was a common theme was the image transfers that I have been doing on wood.  We both agreed that the image transfers are probably the most interesting product that I have created and we wanted to see where else I could transfer my images.

So with that being said, I thought it would be fun to give you a little tutorial on the process of the wood transfers that I am creating.  It is a great process and I think you will enjoy learning about it.

Image Transfers on Wood. 

Skyline Bottle Opener

This process is a really easy process, but it is a little time consuming. I start with an image that I have taken, one that I believe will be a good seller for the specific product.  In this case I am making bottle openers to go in your home bar, or in a man cave….or woman cave for that matter.  After I have selected the image I print it out on my home printer, making sure to invert the image if it has any words on it.  After I print out the image, I then go to my local office supply store and make a copy with their laser copy machine.  The laser element is really important, if you were to do it on an inkjet printer it would work, but your image would not transfer as clearly and sometimes there are weird colors left behind.  I then trim the image down to the size that I want, and remove any excess white paper that I don’t want.  The less paper you have the better.

Now we start with the mess but fun part, the transfer.  In this stage, you are going to need a professional paint medium to transfer the medium.  I use GOLDEN matte medium.  You can purchase it at most craft stores or online on their website or our favorite e commerce friend Amazon.  Apply a good amount of medium on the wood where you want to transfer the image.  By “good amount” I mean a dollop about the size of a quarter for an 8″x10″ image.  Paint the medium on the wood evenly so that all the surface area is covered that you want the image to appear on.  After that medium is smoothed out, apply more medium on the image directly and smooth it out.  Do not skimp on this part!  After both the image and the wood have medium on them apply the image to the wood face down, similar to the image above.  The most important step in my mind is smoothing out your image.  Take a plastic card of sorts, in my case I used my old credit card and SMOOTH out all the wrinkles or bubbles that may be.

AND NOW WE WAIT….. for it to dry.

I give my images at least 4 hours to dry, if not more.  In order to check to see if it is done, I peel back the image a little in the corner to check and see if the ink is staying behind and that is how I know it is done.  I you see in on the wood, you are good to go my friend.

After you anxiously yet patiently wait for the medium to dry, now it is time to remove the paper.  Run the wood under a faucet of running water and start rubbing the white paper away.  The paper will get soft and start peeling away under your fingers. This is the most time consuming process, because the paper comes off in little pieces.  Make sure you don’t rub too hard because you will rub away the actually image too.  I have found that I never get all the paper off in the first round of rubbing the paper.  So after it dries I do it one more time.  Once all the paper is removed you are finished!

I add stain to my wood after everything is dry, and then the bottle cap opener.  The very last step for my products is each piece gets a gloss sealant sprayed over it to preserve the image.  And VOILA image transfer to wood complete.  You are a fabulous artist!

I am mildly obsessed with this image transfer process and I can see many more projects in the future.  Maybe glass, or fabric, or an apron…or a pillow!  Again…the run away train… You will have to wait and see what I have up my sleeve next!

 

 


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