Hey there, my creative friend! Do I have a surprise for you! Did you know that you can make your own furniture transfers??? I was shocked when I figured out that all I needed to do was pull out my iPhone and take a pic. Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but not much. Today I’ll show you how to create your own photo transfer and apply it to wood furniture. You can use the same process on painted furniture as well.
This post contains a few affiliate links to help you find the products I use. You are not charged extra to use any of the links, but any income I make will be used for more fun projects! To see my full disclaimer, click here.Everything is DO-able! Even a DIY photo transfer for $1!Click To TweetHow To Add A Photo Transfer To Wood Furniture
How To Add A Photo Transfer To Wood Furniture – Before
First off, let me brag a minute about this $5 score. For some reason, #OHTALLULAH really took to it. I think she’s trying to tell me NOT to paint it. HA! I already knew that. This antique washstand is solid oak, and I have saved my fair share of them over the years, but this time… it’s personal and for a special reason.
Skill Level: Beginner
Transferring a photo is a fun craft technique but there’s no reason I can think of why it can’t be used on wood furniture and it’s surprisingly easy.
- SurfPrep Sander (for stripping wood furniture) Use coupon code DOIT10 to save 10%
- Laser printed image of a photo on regular paper (inkjet printer copies will not work)
- Dixie Belle Satin Clear Coat or Transfer Medium
- Fine Mist Sprayer
- French Tip Brush (for wax application in corners)
- Black and White Wax
- Large Wax Brush
- Dixie Dirt (charcoal)
- Hardware Pulls Card Catalog Hardware
Choosing A Photo/Image For Your Project
Transfers are popular right now with furniture makeovers… but can I complain a little about the price? Some of them can range from $40-$50 without shipping. I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend that $$ cha-ching on thrift furniture. So, I started researching and found this idea. My DIY photo transfer cost me $1 at my local print shop. Kinkos, Office Depot, Office Max, etc., will be able to do this for you.
When you have your image printed, 1) make sure it’s laser printed on regular paper. This is super important because the inkjet prints will not do well. 2) If your image has words, you will need to flip (reverse) the image. If not, your words will be backward. NO Bueno! 3) Make sure that your image will fit the area you’re applying it to.
*The image does not have to be a photo of someone. Think outside of the box. Try taking a close-up pic of something you love. I have a few flowers in my garden that would work nicely.
Application Of Photo Transfer
For a rustic edge on the photo transfer, try tearing around the image before applying it. Of course, you can transfer the whole image if you want to… be sure to trim it to fit before applying the transfer (clear coat) medium. For this project, I am using Dixie Belle’s Clear Coat as my transfer medium. Be sure to apply it pretty thick, as seen in the above photo.
Once the image has been applied to your furniture, work from the inside-out of the photo transfer to push bubbles to the outer edges. Remember, the transfer medium that was applied also works like glue. Bubbles left under the transfer will affect the image and adhesion. Work slowly and take your time. Once it’s smooth, allow the image to completely dry. I recommend 24 hours to be safe.
Removing The Paper Backing
Once the image has dried completely (24 hours), I misted over the image with water and gently rubbed the paper to reveal the image underneath. This is a delicate process, and I recommend using your fingertips. I have read that you can use a damp cloth. Maybe so… but I just felt I had more control to rub away the paper with my fingers.
*It’s best if the photo transfer is applied on a flat surface rather than upright like the photo. This was done so that you could see the process.
You will need to remove the paper backing in layers. I noticed some white paper fuzzies left behind afterward, so I went back and misted it again with water and rubbed gently to remove any leftover paper. That did the trick! Be careful not to overuse the water. Too much will damage the paper image and cause tears.
Now the hard part. Please wait for it to dry… AGAIN! Once it’s dried, use the Dixie Belle Gator Hideto to seal your image. The Gator Hide can also be used over natural wood as a sealer. It’s my fave!
Accenting Your Photo Transfer
Once the topcoat is dried, try adding accents of wax over the transfer. For this project, I used white and black wax. It’s a great way to add depth and a ton of character to your wood project pieces and photo transfers.
Photo Transfer | In Loving Memory Of…
Just in case you’re wondering… the beautiful lady in the photo is my sweet Mother in law. As time would have it, it came and went way too quickly. Lena Ruth went to be with our heavenly Father last month. During the planning of her memorial, I came across this photo and knew right away what I wanted to do with it. We shared many things in common—horses, home design, travel, dessert, her son… but NOT painted furniture. *insert belly laugh* I’ll never forget the day she walked into our home (probably shocked from all the painted pieces I had done) and said, “I don’t like that.” I grew to love this woman with a big opinion because we also shared that. HA! This “no paint” makeover is for you, Lena Ruth. I only wished I had done it sooner.
What do you think? Do I have your creative wheels turning yet? Endless possibilities… think of colors… paint… painted furniture with transfers of your images. Let me know what you think in the comment section below. I love hearing from you. Oh, and don’t forget to pin this to your furniture makeover Pinterest board. Take care and happy painting!
Until the next project… xo, Do