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DIY Photo Transfers to Wood Tutorial

Photograph by Claudya Martinez

For what seems like forever, I have wanted to transfer images onto wood because I love the way it looks, but the instructions I found online for the process involved all kinds of gluing and rubbing that I just don't have time for. Then I saw that lots of people have been using parchment paper and a regular old inkjet printer and I knew I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because I love the results!

Look at this cuteness! Think of all the gifts and mementos you can now make. The best part it how easy this craft is to do.

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Supplies you'll need:

  • A piece of light-colored, unfinished wood
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • An inkjet printer
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • A high-resolution image (you'll either reverse it on the computer, or print it in reverse)
  • A credit card or gift card
  • Clear coat matte finish spray


  1. Cut pieces of parchment paper to a size that your printer recognizes. I cut pieces to approximately 8.5" x 11" (the same size as regular printer paper).
  2. Pick a high-resolution image to transfer onto wood. For my project, I designed the banner and words using PicMonkey, then reversed the image to print so that once it goes on to the wood it reads the right way. You can also use your printer settings to reverse any images you may already have (look for options such as flip horizontal or mirror imaging).
  3. Do one test print with a regular piece of paper first to make sure it comes out in reverse.
  4. Print the reversed image onto the parchment paper. You'll need to be hands on here. Carefully guide the parchment paper into the printer, and once it comes out make sure it doesn't curl up on itself so that the ink doesn't smear. You could also use masking tape to secure the edges of the parchment paper to a piece of regular printer paper to prevent the parchment from curling.
  5. Once you have the printed parchment paper, you're going to place it exactly where you want it, ink-side-down on the piece of unfinished wood. This is a onetime deal. Once that parchment paper touches the wood you cannot move it without smearing the paint.
  6. Use the side of a credit card or gift card and swipe it across the parchment paper to transfer the ink onto the wood. Make sure you rub all areas of the image. Gently remove the parchment paper and be amazed!
  7. When you've had your fill of transferring images onto the wood, seal the whole thing with a clear coat matte finish spray.
Photograph by Claudya Martinez
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