How to Transfer Photos onto Wood

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This is a visual how-to tutorial that has so many applications! You can make photo transfers of your family, which could make a perfect father’s day gift. Or, you could make a ‘Thank you’-collage in Photoshop on your computer, print and use that image for the transfer, which would make a perfect Teachers Appreciation gift. Or, collage a love quote and use that for your wedding decorations. Oh, man, the sky is the limit on its use.

How about making personalized bookends (a project on our mind for this weekend!). Anyhow, here is how you transfer photos onto wood.


Step-by-step Tutorial for Photo Transfers onto Wooden blocks


photo credit: unknown. If you know of the source of this image, please let me know so I can add it.

The most versatile and easy photo transfer technique ever.


Answers to Your Questions (in Comments):

What is Gel Medium?

  • Gel medium dries clear to translucent, depending on thickness of application.
  • 2 types: A gloss gel medium is a transparent medium which dries to a gloss finish while a matte gel medium dries to a matte finish.
  • In painting and decoupage work, use the gel medium as transparent ground for acrylic paint instead of gesso to allow substrate to be seen.
  • When applying a medium gel to raw canvas, be sure to use adequate pressure to force the medium into the canvas, weave to insure proper bonding between the gel and canvas.
  • These are all general comments relating to its main use in acrylic painting. Most specifically for this photo project posted here today, gel medium offers excellent adhesion for collage and decoupage.

I personally like Liquitex for all my acrylics medium supplies. Golden is also excellent. However, for a craft project like this that you don’t expect to live for hundreds of years, you can get away with choosing ‘student’-grade art materials. Have a look; and thank you for using my links to buying something. The small commissions I earn from affiliates is what allows me to maintain this blog. It is much appreciated if you make an effort to use my affiliate links. Thank you!)

Gel Medium: Where to Buy

This is gel medium (US Canada link) | gel medium (UK/Europe link).

Meanwhile, Mod Pod is simple white glue | household glue | craft glue diluted by about 30-50% with water. No big deal. You probably already own this, so I am not adding a link, but Amazon sells this also in case your supplies get low. In fact, gel medium and mod pod is often bought together by decoupage crafters.

I hope you’ll make some really great art with this, and it would be AWESOME if you were to send in photos of what you have made! Will you?!

Have a happy day!

Stenciling, Stamping & Transfer DIY Craft Projects


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  1. Seriously?? Wow! Awesome!! Thanks:)

  2. cheyenne says:

    Is it picture paper? Or just printer paper?

  3. well …. try both. See which you like best. I think they will both work!

  4. Looking forward to trying this. You made it look so easy!

  5. I believe it only works with printer paper, photo paper wont rub off

  6. What is the gel medium in step 1?

  7. Marilyn Harris says:

    Like to have more information on what Gel, and Mod Podge, to use, (brand, etc) and suggestions where to purchase it at. This is an awesome idea!

  8. Darlene says:

    What is the gel medium that you use.

  9. What is the “gel”. not familiar with this

  10. What type of medium gel is that?

  11. Samantha says:

    What is gel medium and where would you get it?

  12. You mention using a gel medium. Can you give examples?

  13. Roy Huling says:

    What is the ” gel medium and where do we find it ?

  14. What is the ‘gel medium’ project starts with?

  15. Can you give an example of a “gel medium”? Mod Podge?

  16. Gel Medium you can get at a craft store in with the acrylic paint it is a gel you un in painting. and mod podge is sold in any craft store or you can mix elmers white glue with water to make the Mod Podge that they sell in stores

  17. Gabriel says:

    Haven’t you simpletons heard of Google. Jeezycreezy!
    I found a brand name “Golden” Gel medium, you can get it Hobby Lobby or Michael’s

    8 comments asking the exact same question almost word for word….

  18. Hey hey, watch your language, young man. We are all on God’s planet to learn. I’m glad they asked!

  19. Would the finished project be waterproof?

  20. Loves Crafts says:

    how much do u need of gel and mod in oz.

  21. Not much! Just buy a small container if you want to do a single project.

  22. Waterproof? No. But if you add a couple of layers of varnish, it will be water resistant, in that you can wipe it off with a wet cloth. You know, that sort of thing.

  23. Thank you, Jessi. That’s a great/ correct answer. I have included all the question and answers in the copy of this article.

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