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Photo Transfer to Metal with Mod Podge

Embrace the copper trend with this metal photo transfer art! You’ll use Mod Podge Transfer Medium – it’s very easy to do and makes unique decor.

Skills Required: Intermediate. I would have prior experience with photo transfer medium before attempting this project. Try it on a scrap piece of wood or metal first.

image transfer onto metal

It looks like this copper trend is here to stay, and I’m not complaining! I love decorating with copper accents! When I walked by copper coated aluminum sheets at the hardware store, I immediately knew what to do.

Did you know Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium works on metal too?! In addition to wood. Well, it does, and the final product is fantastic.

(see more photo transfer projects here!)

Using any of your favorite laser printed photos, you can create unique metal photo transfer art. It requires very little effort and produces metal photo transfer art that’s perfect for displaying in your home. You can even give as a gift.

Image Transfer to Metal

Gather These Supplies

First, a note about sheet metal. You can purchase sheets of aluminum at most hardware stores. In this case, I purchased one with a copper coating – and they can most likely cut it to your desired size for you.

Otherwise, you can cut it to size using a jigsaw or similar machinery at home. Do so very carefully and according to machine instructions.

Also note, Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium is unique in that it keeps the white portions of images white.

Similar brands may be clear, which means any white sections of your photos will take on the color of the background metal.

Supplies to make a photo transfer to metal

Step 1: Cut the photo print to size so that no border remains (unless that’s what you want).

Copper metal, photo transfer medium, and an image with the photo transfer medium painted on top

Step 2: Use the paint brush to spread on a thick layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium on the image side of the paper. It should be even and entirely cover the image so that you can no longer see it.

transfer photo to metal

Step 3: Immediately place the image down on the sheet metal and use your hands to smooth out the paper and remove any air bubbles.

You don’t want to press so hard that the medium seeps out the sides but just enough that it is completely adhered to the metal and no bubbles remain.

Set aside to dry overnight. Depending on the temperature and humidity, it will be ready within 24 hours.

Step 4: Once completely dry and hard to the touch, use your fingers to add a little water to one corner of the paper. Press lightly and move your fingers in a circular motion to remove the layer of paper.

Go slowly so that you don’t accidentally remove the image. Continue all over the paper with wet hands until all of the paper has been removed.

transfer image to metal

Step 5: Set aside to dry for about 10 minutes. If a white layer dries over the image, you didn’t remove enough paper and will need to repeat the last step.

image transfer to metal

Set the final metal photo transfer on a shelf, mount on a wall or wrap as a gift!

Embrace the copper trend with this metal photo transfer art! You'll use Mod Podge Transfer Medium - it's very easy to do and makes unique decor.

Photo Transfer to Metal

Yield: 1 transfer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Dry Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $3

Learn how to do a metal photo transfer with Mod Podge! It makes such unique home decor.

Materials

  • Sheet metal, cut to size
  • Laser printed photo in desired size, color or greyscale
  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium

Tools

  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Print the photo and cut to size so that no border remains.
  2. Use the paintbrush to spread on a thick layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium on the image side of the paper. It should be even and entirely cover the image.
  3. Immediately place the image down on the sheet metal and use your hands to smooth out the paper and remove any air bubbles.
  4. Set aside to dry overnight. Depending on the temperature and humidity, it will be ready within 24 hours.
  5. Once completely dry and hard to the touch, use your fingers to add a little water to one corner of the paper. Press lightly and move your fingers in a circular motion to remove the layer of paper.
  6. Go slowly so that you don’t accidentally remove the image. Continue all over the paper with wet hands until all of the paper has been removed.
  7. Set aside to dry for about 10 minutes. If a white layer dries over the image, you didn’t remove enough paper and will need to repeat the last step.
  8. Display after drying.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


If you need image transfer tips, just click the image below:

If you are wondering how to use Mod Podge photo transfer medium, here are all of my top tips. Learn how to be successful with this article!
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Michelle Nettles

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

Will this technique work with a inkjet photo instead of a laser printed photo? I am having trouble finding somewhere to print a laser photo.

Heather

Sunday 9th of February 2020

Hi there! I'm so glad I came across this while on my search for transferring pictures on to metal! A few questions...I want to use salvaged metals, most likely of different types. Have you ever transferred on to an no-flat surface? As in even metal (warped or uneven surface, rolls or bends.kinks in it), rounded items (pails etc) or bent items? I'm excited to try this, but want to use unique and unusual metal items. Once picture is transferred, will it ever 'lift'? And how durable is it How long will last? Does the material used affect these questions? Thank you SO much for your time! Heather

Amy

Sunday 9th of February 2020

Hi Heather! The limitation will be where the paper touches, if that makes sense. If the metal's just a little warped, no problem. But if it gets really round and the paper can't touch every part of the surface, the transfer won't happen. In that case you just have to make the transfer small enough so that the paper touches at every point on the metal.

Once a picture is transferred, you can use a clear coat over the top for further durability. I'd recommend an Engine Enamel if you think it needs to be really durable/waterproof.

Oliver Terry

Monday 7th of August 2017

Thanks Amy, This is absolutely adorable!!

Alicia

Monday 31st of July 2017

I've seen several of these on different sites but yours is the clearest one I've seen. I'd love to try this!