How to Photo Transfer

Learn how to photo transfer printed images with this DIY project. The easy technique lets you use favorite photos in your home decor.

To give a treasured photo a more permanent place than even a frame, transfer it onto another surface! This easy technique works on both wood and canvas. Make a series of family portraits for your living room or commemorate a beloved pet. Or why not give one as a gift to a friend? They'll be so touched by your thoughtful keepsake.

Photo transfer materials, project materials

What You Need

  • Flat wood block or canvas
  • Image, laser-printed in reverse (you can get one at a copy shop)
  • Gel medium
  • Foam brush
  • Small brayer or spoon
  • Water
  • Rag
  • Clear sealer

Step 1: Apply Gel Medium

Gel medium, foam brush

Brush a thin, even layer of gel medium over the front side of your photo, making sure it covers the whole surface.

Step 2: Smooth and Dry

Smoothing out, drying, brayer

Gently place the photo facedown on the wood. Smooth out any air bubbles with a brayer. If you don't have a brayer, the back of a spoon works just as well. Now for the waiting: Allow the gel to dry overnight or at least eight hours.

Step 3: Wet Image

Soaking photo, wet rag

It's time to soak the transfer. Press a wet rag against the back of your photo, making sure the entire image is soaked.

Step 4: Remove Paper Backing

Removing paper, remove paper

Carefully rub off the paper fibers with your hands. Be sure not to dig too deeply, or you might scratch the image.

Step 5: Seal and Finish


Once your masterpiece has fully dried, protect it with a layer of sealer.

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