HomePallet Home Décor IdeasPallet Wall Decor & Pallet PaintingHow to Transfer Vintage Wallpaper, Pictures and Almost Anything on Wood

How to Transfer Vintage Wallpaper, Pictures and Almost Anything on Wood

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Want to create your own works of art? Want to also save money? Then you're in luck. In this article, you'll learn how to transfer vintage wallpaper, pictures and almost anything on wood!

You can create your own beautiful artwork such as this piece by Diego Tirigall. See more examples of work at Diego Tirigall website.

How to Transfer Vintage Wallpaper, Pictures and Almost Anything on Wood1
How to Transfer Vintage Wallpaper, Pictures and Almost Anything on Wood2
How to Transfer Vintage Wallpaper, Pictures and Almost Anything on Wood3

You can basically transfer anything on wood, from photographs to wallpaper pattern. It's something anyone can do, and you can achieve a beautiful beautiful result!

How to Transfer Image on Wood - What you'll need:

  • Acrylic gel medium (such as Mod Podge): The beauty of this technique lies in the nature of the acrylic - you can adjust and modify the gel to suit your needs. Whether using a retarder to increase smoothness, mixing in acrylic pigment, or even mixing in other materials. I've seen everything from gold flake to sand mixed into the acrylic gel.
  • Brush
  • Water
  • An image to transfer. Print a photo out with a laser or inkjet print on regular paper (NOT photo paper). If your photo has any words on it, you will need to print it out as a mirror image.

Note: Laser images transfer better. Inkjet images may or may not transfer as well - they may come out more faded. Always test on a scrap piece of wood first.

Image transfer on wood in 6 steps - How to do it:

  1. First, you have to lightly sand the face of the wood with a sanding block or any sander, and then sweep off the wood dust. See our wood sanding tips.
  2. Paint a thin layer of gel medium over the entire front surface of the wood with a bristled brush if you want your photo transfer to look more rustic. If you want a more polished and complete photo transfer, paint gel medium on with a foam brush instead. See our helpful info on wood pallet painting.
  3. Make the layer of gel medium as thin as you can without portions of it drying out as you paint. Then, quickly but carefully lay your photo face down on the gel-coated pallet.
  4. Clean and dry your hands, and use a bone folder to gently press the photo flat onto the pallet, pushing out as many air bubbles as possible. (If any air bubbles remain, those portions of a picture will not transfer.)
  5. Wait at least 24 hours for the gel medium to dry thoroughly. Then, use a sopping wet washcloth to wet the back of the photo paper, and gently and slowly rub away the paper backing from the photopigment with your fingertips and/or wet washcloth
  6. After you rub away as much of the paper as possible, wait another 24 hours for your pallet and photo to dry completely.

How To Video here:

Now the main difficulty will be to find the right image or wallpaper pattern you want to transfer! I suggest you check out this page for printable patterns. And if you missed something here is  one or two sources to find the tutorial with pictures and a video on the basics of this process:

Source:

Neodim
Bio: Engineer, Co-founding partner of 1001Pallets. I earned my Engineer degree in Biochemistry and Geneti... read more

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vishalakshi
vishalakshi

will it work on MDF or prelaminated Board

Amy Barrow
Amy Barrow

I would like to transfer some soft crayon drawings to a wooden table top. They are drawn on plain paper ( a little thicker paper than regular but still plain paper). Would this technique work for me?

HeatherStiletto

If you read through the directions, they aren’t using wallpaper directly – it’s an image they pulled up or scanned and printed out. Then they did the transfer technique. You can scan your image the same way. :D Please share your final results – we’d love to see them. -HS

Stephanie Henry
Stephanie Henry

Hi Amy, not with the image transfer listed above. This stuff takes the ink and moves it to the wood. If there’s lettering, make sure it’s mirror imaged. Mod podge does sell a picture sealer, so you could probably use that to put your picture on the wood. I’ve used it and it’s not too bad, but I would recommend using a clear thin layer of epoxy over the crayon drawing. You can get it at almost any hardware store. Just a helpful hint! Hope it helped 😊

Mary Tognazzini
Mary Tognazzini

The picture of old wallpaper comes on over and over but I haven’t seen anyone explain how it is done? It looks like old wood?

Julie B. Hicks
Julie B. Hicks

I am going to build me a headboard and want to buy wallpaper with a design I like and transfer the design to the wood can that be done with out copying it

Robin
Robin

Hi! Thanks for the Great tutorial! I made a jewelry hanger using it and it turned out great! For my next project, would it be ok to use wrapping paper or will it not transfer?

Professor
Professor

Debbie, read the article and the comments, carefully. You do NOT use wallpaper. You use an image, like a print out copy of wallpaper or whatever you want. So you need to (a) find the image you like online or snap a digital photo of an image and then (b) PRINT IT OUT on NORMAL paper in a printer. People seem to say on a LASER printer is best. You can search google for wallpaper images – I just searched “blue french wallpaper,” then when the results came up, selected “Images,” an option on Google. It took 1/2 a second… Read more »

Shannon Dahn
Shannon Dahn

I watched a short clip on tv that they did use wallpaper directly..it was lighter..thats what I liked about it..i cant find it though online

HeatherStiletto

We’d love it if you do a project and video it. The more times we get people to try and share their experience, the better our site gets for everyone! Thanks for sharing your info.! -H.S.

Kristabelle19
Kristabelle19

ThankYou for this information more directly & simply stated! I get it now & will try it out :) !

Salsa
Salsa

My attempt did come out so well. However, my picture was not of good quality. It barely shows ink on my preferred surface for this project. The surface I know I want to use this process on in the future worked better, but still not good enough for what I wish to do. I only have until Sunday to complete this.

Debbie
Debbie

How do i get a copy of patterns on pinterest?…im not good with all this technology..lol. But i REALLY want to do this.. Also it is hard to find wallpaper and should it NOT be prepasted?

Tammy Palmer
Tammy Palmer

So many people ask questions that are in the description “HOW TO DO IT” I would be exhausted if it were me trying to explain every question if they would use their time to read. Anyways, I have done many transfers with different mediums to transfer with and YES you can transfer right over paint…I have only used matte paint so I’m not sure how it would work over gloss or even satin…I use polycrylic water base to seal my finished piece and that will get rid of most of the whitish fuzziness left from the paper and become vibrant…Assuming… Read more »

Neokentin

Thanks Tammy!!!! :)
Yes, a lot of people are asking “how to do it” but they never read the posts, maybe they want us to send directly to them a postal letter with all the instructions, made only for them hahaha :)

Criselda
Criselda

Hi Tammy. I’m new to this whole process. Is the polycrylic water base you are referring to to seal your finished piece the same as the polycrylic you use as your transfer medium?

Hi Tammy, I guess there are a huge number of variables so when you read all the instructions but it comes out lamer than a 1 legged camel with rickets it’s nice to have a forum to try and nail down where it went wrong… For instance you say LASERPRINTER in BIG LETTERS so I assume this must be IMPORTANT but in the intructions it says inkjet or laser print. I used inkjet and it didn’t work so perhaps this was the issue… thanks for the useful tip you begrudingly gave up…..

Diane Loyd
Diane Loyd

I really love this look and Ihave tried to transfer scrap booking paper on 3 different pieces of wood per your instructions and it not only left a white film but it didn’t transfer the pattern. I really would like to know how to do this successfully.

Thank you

Linda
Linda

I did the transfer to wood and I am seeing bits of paper still. Afraid to keep wetting and wiping cuz it seems like the color is blending. I can’t tell if I’m wiping the paper away or the image. I used exactly what was used in the video …gel medium . I have them drying so I’m wondering should I wet them again tomorrow or just try and brush off the bits of paper before doing the finish? Thanks for any advice.

Melody Stinnett
Melody Stinnett

If using scrapbook paper, do you lay the image side face down?

Hi I had the same problem as some others – a white film covering a dull image… :(

I used normal paper and matte acrylic gel medium – could you advise on a good gel medium to use?

I posted my spectacular failings in your forum, perhaps you could have a look and advise as to where you think it all went wrong?

Any advice greatly appreciated – I really want to be able to this!

Thanks

Podger
Podger

ps I used an ink jet print – maybe it should be a lser print?

Suzanne Kitching
Suzanne Kitching

Could you tell me where you got the image of blue and white erns and flowers so that I can reproduce the same effect. Suzanne

Rachael
Rachael

How do people make 20×30 pallets? Regular Copy Paper-even Ledger size isn’t 20×30. Thanks!

Ruth
Ruth

For doing wallpaper, do i make a copy of the wallpaper or use the actual wallpaper???

karen
karen

I just tried doing some old wallpaper. It doesn’t look like it’s going to work. I just removed as much paper from the back that I could and I have a white paper film. Maybe when it dries I will see the paper. I have 2 questions, what acrylic gel ? I used mod podge for base coat, is that wrong? My 2nd question, my wallpaper was prepasted, does that make a difference?

Rose
Rose

I did this technique step by step-
it looks like I’ve removed all the paper when wet and leaves a pretty rich color but when it drys it looks like a white film over my pattern. Is there any way to salvage all my hard work? Would a clear coat work? Help please!! :(

Rose
Rose

The video helped, if anyone else has this issue that last layer of pod podge brightened the color. Love this tutorial!

Tenina Milner
Tenina Milner

I’m not sure I understood correctly. At first it says to use regular paper, not photo paper. Then it says next day to use sopping wet cloth to remove photo paper back.

Jennifer
Jennifer

Do you think this would work with the pattern from scrapbook paper?

T
T

I have an image from a poster I’d like to transfer, so has anyone tried using poster paper?

Fawlyn
Fawlyn

Will this work on any wood? And painted wood?

GrammyS
GrammyS

Would it work to transfer an image to MDF (medium density fiberboard)?

Benjamin Gwazah
Benjamin Gwazah

Very nice to know this.

Melinda Arney
Melinda Arney

I tried this just as you explained, with plain paper, NOT photo paper and it did not work. The image came off. In the materials list, you say do not use photo paper; however, in the instructions, you use the term “photo paper.” I’m confused.

Sherrie
Sherrie

I love these transfers did you do all of them?

Deanna R. Jones
Deanna R. Jones

Thanks for posting this! My daughter really wants to decorate her room using rustic inspired decorations. She loves the look of old wall paper and reclaimed wood. The idea of combining wall paper with reclaimed wood is genius. I’m sure that she would love using some wall paper that she’s found to decoupage to wooden pallets to create some awesome decorations to hang up in her room.

Michelle
Michelle

Looks cool! How do I do it? :)

Polly
Polly

Oui, c’est CA la bonne question :
COMMENT FAIRE ??
Est-ce que quelqu’un consentirait à partager ?? ;-)))

Stefan
Stefan

Anybody knows how to do it please ? ??

Lisa Rigdon King
Lisa Rigdon King

Love, love love this!!!!

Annie Farineaux

magnifique !

TigerLily Maggot
TigerLily Maggot

Aw !!!….

Mithé Legrand
Mithé Legrand

Beautiful

Sam Dwyer
Sam Dwyer

Love this

Jean-Marc Jacques

tres beau

Martin Bohm

Wat mooi dit wil ik thuis wel hebben

Pat Sanders

love this

My Aqua Farm

Love this!

The Old Red Farmhouse

We are always making things from pallets!!! Addicted!!! I like this idea!

Holley
Holley

Love love love this

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