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Inkjet Photo Transfer to Wood with Mod Podge

Did you know you can transfer INKJET printed images onto wood? Yes . . . this inkjet photo transfer to wood is easy with Mod Podge and regular school glue.

Skills Required: Intermediate Beginner. You should have prior crafting experience before attempting this craft; preferably with Mod Podge. It’s not necessarily hard, but it can get tricky so it’s best if you have experience with the materials.

Inkjet Photo Transfer to Wood with Mod Podge

Yep, you heard right! You can do an inkjet photo transfer to wood with just Mod Podge. I love transferring images to wood – they make these personalized rustic little pieces that are perfect to just sprinkle around the house or to give as a small personalized gift.

You don’t need a laser printer or photo transfer medium either for this tutorial. It’s different from the Mod Podge photo transfer medium in that it gives your image a clear background.

Transfer Inkjet to Wood

You might be wondering how the image goes from the inkjet printer/whatever you print out, and onto the wood. It’s magic! It’s actually not magic though.

The basic process is that you will print an image onto a stencil sheet (not photo paper) that has dried glue on top. You will apply Mod Podge to wood, then place the photo/stencil sheet face down into the Podge. 24 hours later, you’ll peel the stencil sheet from the wood and the photo will be left behind!

And this is how you transfer inkjet images to wood using Mod Podge.

Mod Podge Formula to Use

There are several Mod Podge formulas you can use – I recommend sticking with the basic formulas of Gloss, Matte, or Satin. It really doesn’t matter which, it’s all about the finish you like.

Stay away from the Outdoor and Fabric formulas, or any Mod Podge that’s a bit thicker. You want regular consistency medium for this project.

In addition, don’t get confused by the photo transfer formula. It’s not the same thing at all. That uses laserjet images, and that Mod Podge version isn’t used for decoupage. That’s a specific formula with a specific use, and this just uses original Mod Podge.

Are you interested to see how I did this wood craft? I know you’ll use this technique for transferring photos all the time after I teach you. So read on!

Inkjet Transfer to Wood

Supplies: 

Sanding a wood block with sandpaper

Step 1. Sand the wood block – you want the surface to be as smooth as possible for better photo transfer to wood. Wipe away any dust with a tack cloth or wet cloth.

Paint two thin layers of glue onto the shiny side of your stencil sheet

Step 2. Paint two thin layers of glue onto the shiny side of your stencil sheet. You can use transparency films as well if that is what you have on hand.

Once fully dry, print your image onto the glue covered stencil sheet with your printer. Black and white photos work well, but so do color. I’ll leave that up to you.

Note: you’ll need to reverse the image if you want it to show up the way it is on screen OR if there’s text.

inkjet transfer to wood

Step 3. Allow the printed image to FULLY DRY before proceeding onto this step – paint a layer of Mod Podge onto the wood block and carefully lay your image on top.

Using the stencil sheet will allow you to align it much easier with the wood edges. Smooth slightly with your hands.

transfer print to wood

Step 4. Wait until the Mod Podge is dry on your photo transfer to wood (I let mine dry overnight – 24 hours is the recommended dry time).

Lightly run the tip of a craft knife onto the sides of the wood before peeling to separate the image from the rest of the glue that dried. Peel carefully, again making sure your image is fully dry or it won’t transfer perfectly.

Stain the edge of a wood block with a sponge brush

Step 5. Stain the sides and the back of the wood block. Let dry.

transfer inkjet images to wood using mod podge
Inkjet transfer of a photo

This simple tutorial photo transfer to wood does take time, but it gives fantastic image transfer results without the hassle of wetting the image and rubbing the paper off. The stencil sheet can also be used again!

What image would you transfer? Have fun crafting and don’t forget to follow me on social media or my blog for more ideas, freebies and tutorials!

Yield: 1 project

Inkjet Photo Transfer to Wood

Inkjet transfer of a photo

This inkjet photo transfer to wood is easy with Mod Podge and regular school glue. Do it in five simple steps!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 25 minutes
Dry Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5

Materials

  • Plastic stencil sheet
  • PVA glue (normal school glue)
  • Mod Podge Matte or Gloss
  • Wood block
  • Wood stain

Tools

  • Sponge brush
  • Printer
  • Sandpaper

Instructions

  1. Sand the wood block - you want the surface to be as smooth as possible for better image transfer.
  2. Paint two thin layers of glue onto the shiny side of the stencil sheet. You can use transparency films as well, if that is what you have on hand. Once fully dry, print the image onto the glue covered stencil sheet with the printer. Allow the printed image to FULLY DRY before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Paint a layer of Mod Podge onto the wood block and carefully lay the image on top. Using the stencil sheet will allow you to align it much easier with the wood edges. Smooth slightly with your hands.
  4. Wait until the Mod Podge is dry on the inkjet transfer to wood (I let mine dry overnight - 24 hours is recommended). Lightly run the tip of a craft knife onto the sides of the wood before peeling to separate the image from the rest of the glue that dried. Peel carefully, again making sure the image is fully dry or it won't transfer perfectly.
  5. Stain the sides and the back of the wood block and let that dry to finish.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


This inkjet transfer project was inspired by another inkjet photo transfer we spotted at Photojojo! If you enjoyed this craft idea, please check out these other projects:

Terry

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Love the idea!!! I have an inkjet printer so all the other instructions/videos haven't worked for me. I want this to work.

I just finished my project using your instructions, except I didn't stain the wood (is that an issue? I did sand it though). I used the stencil from Amazon (10 Pack 4 Mil CLEAR Mylar Stencil Sheets, 12" x 12" Blank Stencils, Reusable Template Material, Make Your Own Stencil Compatible for Cricut Vinyl Cutting Machine).

I let it sit overnight. Not quite 24 hours. It was totally dried to the wood.

I tried peeling the stencil sheet away from the wood, first, it takes time to peel it off. I still have some on the wood - I am peeling all the sheet off the wood??,

Second, it took some of the picture off the wood and you could hardly see the transferred picture.

What am I doing wrong?

Erin Hill

Tuesday 12th of July 2022

@Terry, I'm kinda wondering the same thing?

I peeled off the stencil sheet and then am I peeling off the glue layer or no? Is the glue layer the layer that transfers onto the wood?? As opposed to the image colours embedding themselves into the wood like it would with a fabric?

Is this right?

PS very new to modpodge but loving the idea of what it is capable of. I use to decoupage with my mum when I was little and id love to be able to do that with my little girl.

Tracey Mitchell

Monday 31st of January 2022

FEVERWORK 20Pcs A4 Inkjet Film Screen Printing Paper Transparent PCB Print Stencil https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FDZYY7H/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_navT_g_RRCA4FWGK4FG8EA3T76B

Tracey Mitchell

Monday 31st of January 2022

Is this type of stencil sheet OK for image transfer?

Amy

Monday 31st of January 2022

Yes that should work!

Gina Cihacz

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

I see that you can seal this with mod podge when transferred. Can you also use polycrylic instead? Also do you know if this will work on ceramic tiles?

Amy

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

Hi Gina! Yes you can use polycrylic. Ceramic tiles often have a smooth coating on top. You'd probably want to sand the tile first. I *think* it would work.

Jessica

Sunday 21st of November 2021

Hi Amy! Thanks for this tutorial but I do have a question or two. You said no laser printer is necessary but you also refer to the pictures being printed on a laser printer so I'm a bit confused. I've got brain fog from chronic migraines so if I have read your article wrong and missed something I do apologize. I love this idea for Christmas gifts and only have an inkjet printer so if a laser print is required for this craft could you recommend where to get laser printed photos from? I'm excited to do this project and look forward to a little help. Thanks and have a great day 😊

Amy

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Jessica! No worries. In the article I mention that if you have a laserjet printer, you would use the photo transfer medium, not regular Mod Podge. This is what the photo transfer medium looks like, a completely different bottle: https://www.amazon.com/Mod-Podge-Transfer-8-Ounce-CS15067/dp/B00CHQ8IJA/

For this, yes you will use an inkjet printer. Follow the instructions with your printer and you should be totally fine! The reason laserjet is mentioned is so that people understand there is a difference and that this tutorial is for INKJET. Thank you!

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