There’s a pretty simple-sounding project that Google will generate 234830528343 How-To results for, and that’s superimposing images onto wood.
- Print the reverse of an image on a LaserJet (NOT Inkjet — ink will more often than not bleed) printer.
- Brush on matte acrylic gel medium — more is better than less, but a thin layer should do.
- Firmly adhere onto a slab of wood, making sure to get rid of all the air bubbles trapped therein — use fingers, a credit card or a brayer.
- Dry overnight.
- Wet the paper.
- Rub off the fibers with your fingers — gently.
- (Some people like the “vintage” look yada yada. If you do, sand it.)
- Seal everything with a sealant of your choice, be it the same gel medium or Mod Podge (I used glossy Mod Podge).
Here’s what (most) How-Tos don’t tell you about photo-to-wood transfers:
- Don’t expect to be able to rub all the paper off: You’ll inevitably be left with a good amount of paper fiber fluff on your piece. (That said, your Mod Podge/gel medium sealant should help reduce the visibility thereof.
- Don’t use small, detailed images: …unless you’re going for the ruined-art look. Any more sizeable chunks that happen to rub off (and they will) smack in the middle of the image will look just awful — and not in that “artistic license” “faux-vintage” way.
- Don’t use images with all-over color: Same reason as above.
- If you have big areas of near-white hue — be it blue, green, or what have you — remove it beforehand: It’ll show up as a weird tinge on your wood and won’t look pretty. On that note, larger areas of color seem to work better for this project (especially since it’s the ink that the gel medium is adhering to, duh!)
- Did you know that some gel mediums are toxic?!: (Sorry, I’m really paranoid about toxic things.) Thankfully, Liquitex Acrylic Gel Medium, which I used, is labeled as non-toxic.
- If you mess up once, give up: …on that particular slab of wood. I tried sanding down my block of wood to from scratch. Scratch, my ass. The image refused to stick to the wood, no matter what I tried. (Admittedly, this might just be my own incompetence at sanding. An even sand should produce the surface you need.)