Oversized Paper to Wood Transfer: Method 2

Back in February I blogged about a wood transfer project I did for my sister. This go around I did something for my family room and I tried a different method. Here’s a little sneak peek:

DIY Wood Transfer


  • pallet wood (or any other wood you’d like to use)
  • pneumatic nail gun & air compressor (screws work too!)
  • table saw (or miter saw)
  • wood glue
  • acrylic gel medium
  • matte finish clear coat (I used a rub on kind)
  • cheap wide paint brush for applying gel medium
  • scissors
  • brayer or plastic spackle knife
  • old rags/towels

The Plan:

I’m a Maryland girl through and through, so naturally I wanted our family room artwork to have a tie to our roots. After searching the internet and stores for the perfect piece to hang in the room, I decided to make something. I found an old map of Maryland, and with the help of Photoshop, I designed three panels and overlaid the word “Maryland” broken into three lines. Then I mirrored the images so they would be printed backwards. I ordered engineering prints through Staples for a whopping $3.59 each! You can’t beat that considering each print is 24″x36″.

DIY Wood Transfer

The Process:

Remember when we laid sod in our backyard? Well, we had 5 wood pallets leftover from the delivery stacked up by our shed that were begging for a new life. So Travis knocked them apart with a hammer and I did my thing. I cut each length of wood to 24″ long and lined them up. Then I used wood glue and nails to attach two pieces of wood to the backside of the panels, holding everything together.

I trimmed the excess paper from the edges, right up to the bold black border around each print. Then I squeezed all the gel medium from the tube onto a paper plate and brushed a layer on the front of the first wood panel. I spread it evenly, not too thick and not too thin… just enough so the paper will stick. After the top surface of the wood was covered with the gel medium, I placed the paper print side down onto the gel. Using the brayer and plastic spackle knife, I smoothed the paper making sure to get rid of any bubbles. It’s important to make sure the paper is perfectly adhered to the wood so that every bit of ink is touching. Then I let the panel dry overnight.

The next day I saturated the panel with hot water. To move the process along, I laid soaked rags on the surface as well, while I used my fingers to rub the soggy paper off the wood. This part will take a while to do. For me, it took about an hour a panel… and my fingers were sore for days! I used wet rags to help rub the paper off along the way to give my fingertips a temporary break here and there. Once the paper was gone, only the ink remained on the wood. Then I let it dry overnight.

Once dry, the wood had a white hazy look. I applied wood stain to the entire panel and that haziness went away. After the stain dried, I went over the transferred image with black paint to fill in any areas that didn’t transfer properly. I also painted the word “Maryland” across the panels following the lightly colored lines that were transferred onto the board. I used sand paper to randomly roughen up parts of the panels. I initially planned to paint the letters a different color which is why they weren’t originally darker in the design and since the engineering prints can only be black and white I had no other choice than to paint the letters by hand. Then I changed my mind and went with black… you know, because I love to make these thing take longer than necessary haha! After the paint dried, I applied a rub on clear coat.

DIY Wood Transfer

Getting the panels ready to hang:

DIY Wood Transfer

All Done!

I’m so happy with how this turned out. It’s rugged, one-of-a-kind, personal and just perfect for our family room. As you can see, the panels aren’t all exactly the same size, but that’s ok… it just adds to the ruggedness 🙂

I’ve been collecting the letter “S” (representing our last name) so I hung floating shelves giving our collection a home. I’ve been thinking about painting the cream colored “S” on the bottom left shelf but not sure what color yet. I also bought some new pillows, which I just love.

DIY Wood Transfer Art

DIY Wood Transfer

DIY Wood Transfer Art

DIY Wood Transfer

DIY Wood Transfer

As always, thanks for reading!


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1 Response to Oversized Paper to Wood Transfer: Method 2

  1. Pingback: Happy 1st Birthday Design Waffle! | Design Waffle

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