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Wood Block Transfers

Wood Block Transfers

My next craft is one I feel would make an amazing gift for family or friends, or even a nice decoration to have around the home yourself. It’s something I only saw done recently, but makes for a truly unique present or decoration so, for those looking to impress, this will certainly be a novel gift. It also has that personal touch to it and that’s what I think gift giving is all about. Different from just any old photo frame, in this craft, a photo is actually transferred onto a piece of wood, creating a gift that looks both professional and like a lot of effort has gone into it.  It is also pretty cheap!!!



                     For this craft, the main pieces of equipment you will need are:  1 awesome photograph

                                                                                                                                             1 slab or panel of light coloured wood

                                                                                                                                             Matte gel medium

                                                                                                                                             Mod Podge, either gloss or matte


Besides these items, the other things needed are pretty common-place and certainly things you’d expect to find lying around the house.

Step 1: To begin, find the photo that you want to use on your computer. Once you’ve opened it up, flip it around horizontally. This is perfectly achievable, even if you do not have any fancy photo editing software, simply by opening the photo in Word and then dragging one side of the photo across the other. It should then be in reverse. This is important, since otherwise the photo will end up in reverse when you transfer it onto the wood, and ideally we want the final product to be the right way around. You should then size the photograph to be the same size and shape when printed as your wood panel is, since you want the printed photograph to fit exactly to the piece of wood. Also make sure that your picture is a good resolution (not pixelated) at this size as this is what your picture will look like when transferred onto the wood. Once this is done, you want to print out your image. This is better done on fairly thin paper since it will make removing the paper after the transfer considerably easier.

Step 2: Now that your photo is printed out, cut out any borders that you do not want on your final transfer. Then, making sure that you have a safe place to work where you won’t cause any mess, use a brush to spread a thin layer of your gel medium onto the printout. Do this on the photo side itself and lay it face down on top of your wooden slab.

Step 3: With a plastic card such as a gift card, ID card or credit card, smooth out the surface getting rid of any air bubbles and being careful of course not to break the card itself. Then wipe away any of the gel that has overflowed out the edges.

Step 4: Wait for a little while. It takes at least 8 hours for the gel to dry so relax and find something else to occupy you while your craft makes itself.

Step 5: Take an old flannel or dish cloth and dampen it under a tap. Then, after getting rid of all excess water by squeezing it out over a sink, press the towel onto the image making sure that all of the paper is wet. Next, slowly rub of the paper with a finger. If you’re looking for a weathered and vintage look to your picture, you can use the towel to rub off the image and can afford to be a little less careful, but if you want a clean looking product then using a finger is probably better, and remember to take your time with this step since rushing could risk damaging the transfer itself.

Step 6: The final step is to wait for it to dry again, before brushing on the Mod Podge to protect the final product. This will seal the transfer to stop any wear and tear in the future.

This craft really reminded me of why I like to do arts and crafts in the first place. There’s something so exciting about having made a product that you can really be proud of and seeing it come to life in front of you, and a professional looking craft like this is exactly what it’s all about. In fact, if you want to take it a step further, you can always try doing transfer collages using several pictures, or doing the transfers on fabric. Like all good crafts, this is a technique that you can experiment with and really make your own.


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