How to Transfer Photos on Wood

Angi Staff
Written by Angi Staff
Updated June 14, 2022
Rustic wood photo with clock and lantern
Display your family memories with DIY wood photo transfers. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)

Transferring your family photos onto wood can add a unique, rustic look to your home that allows you to display your favorite memories.

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Every year my family gets a variety of photos together. But often times, I find it hard to display my photos in anything other than the standard "photo in a frame" sort of way. In my own house, I like to think outside the box and show a new take on traditional decor. So today I'm sharing with you a new take on family photo decorating.

Materials needed

For this project you will need:

  • 1 piece of wood (I used a board found in the wood section at Michael's)

  • 1 bottle of mod podge photo transfer

  • A paintbrush

  • Laser print photo of your choice, cut down to the size you want

  • Decorations: ribbon and other decor ("hello" was from Michael's)

Gather all of your supplies before you begin the project. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)

Step 1: Print your photos

Start by printing off your photo on a laser jet printer. This will not work with a standard photo, so please be sure it's a laser jet printer (or even photocopier). Note that the image will be reversed for this project, so if it has words on it, you'll want to flip your image before you print so it goes onto the wood correctly.

Trim your paper to size.

Step 2: Apply mod podge

Next, apply a very thick coating of mod podge photo transfer onto the front of the photo. Yes, you read that right...directly onto your pretty little faces. You want to be very generous with the amount. I like to use the mod podge mat so that I can get mod podge on it and the paper won't stick like it will on other surfaces.


Mod podge on a picture
Don’t be stingy with the mod podge on this project. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)

Step 3: Apply the image face down

After the photo is covered, place it face down onto the wooden board you've chosen and smooth out any wrinkles.

Here's the important step...let it sit for a full 24 hours. 

Step 4: Wipe off the paper

The final step in this process is to wipe off the paper. You'll take a damp rag and gently wipe away until the photo shows through. The paper will start coming off in clumps, but you'll see the image magic! You'll work away at it and let it dry. You may notice there's still a thin coating of paper on it. If so, wipe away again until clean.

Wood photo transfer with damp cloth
Gently wipe away the mod podge to reveal your new image. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)

Step 5: Add details

After it dried, I added a little bow with gingham ribbon at the top (I swear, gingham makes everything cuter). I also added this little metal "hello" I found at Michael's. Then I placed it on top of my credenza for a fun and different way to display our new family photos in something other than a traditional frame.

Wood photo transfer with gingham ribbon and metal "hello"
Add details to give your project even more uniqueness. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)

Enjoy your final project

So now you have tons of fun new options to share those family photos. Think of all the things you could transfer your photos even works on fabric!

Wood photo on rustic table
Show off your final project where everyone can see it. (Photo courtesy of Abbey DeHart)
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