Photo Transfer to Pallet Wood

This is a little post about how I did a Photo Transfer to Pallet Wood.

So, it just happened to be the case that my wife was out of the country for a few days. Still I had to work myself, and take care of mini-me, but I was able to squish in a few hours to make a small personal gift to my wife.

This is what I did. By the way, I got my inspiration/information  from this YouTube Video (opens in a new tab).

Start with a board of pallet wood

I looked through my boards of pallet wood that I had laying around for one that was decent enough for this project. Once found, I decided on which part of the board I was going to use.

I decided on a spot somewhere down the middle of the board, since towards the ends, the wood was split, and I couldn’t use that.

Plane it a bit

Then I used my super professional and heavy duty (read: cheapest available from a brand I knew) hand planer to take most of the rough layer off the board.

I did this on both sides. Fortunately I only needed about six by six inch surface. Fortunately, because planing through knots with this small planer is no easy task 🙂

Sand it

Then I sanded both surfaces. First with 80 grit paper, then 150 grit paper and then 240 grit paper. It came out quit smooth, I have to admit.

first 150 grit paper (and a few pieces with 80 grit paper) (That is one of my sanding blocks, by the way 🙂 )
Then with 240 grit paper to make it nice and smooth


Cut it

Then I used my not so professional jig saw to cut a heart shape out of the wood. The trick with the jig saw is to go slowly. This way the blade will stay vertical and not go diagonal (which has happened to me in the past, and I actually thought the jigsaw was bad, but as it turned out today, my technique was flawed. Another thing learned!)

Sand it again

I sanded the edges and sanded the top surface again to make it nice and smooth.

Prepare the wood

Then I put on 1 layer of … uhmmm can’t remember the name of the stuff. It’s 3d matte gel, but I don’t remember the brand. Check out this video on YouTube to see which brand works fine (I couldn’t find that so I used my locally available brand).  This guy mentions the Liquitex Matte Gel at 4m20 into the video. Link to YouTube Video (opens in a new tab).

You can buy the Liquitex Gel easily on Amazon:

To apply the ###STUFF### to the wood, I used a regular scrub sponge. Not the ones with bigger holes, but the finer ones, like these:

Note: the next time I would go with 2 layers when preparing the wood, because with me, in the end result the paper did dry up again, and I’m afraid that’s because I didn’t seal the wood enough.

Let it dry

I let the heart dry overnight. Probably an hour or a few hours would be fine too. Perhaps with a blow dryer it could go much faster, but I didn’t try that.

Apply the photo

then I put on another layer of ###STUFF### and immediately stuck the photo to it. Face down of course 🙂

The photo was a laser printer printout on regular printer paper.

I pressed the photo down with a credit card. Well not actually a credit card, but a similar card. The fact of the matter being that I made sure that the picture was well stuck to the ##STUFF###.

Let it dry again

I left the heart with the paper stuck to it to dry for half a day. I applied the photo in the morning, and then went on to the next step in the evening.

Take off the paper

Taking off the paper is the fun part. It’s like the old times where you developed photos in the dark room. It just takes some time and then the picture will come through.

So what you do is, you apply some water (I used the scrub sponge again for this) to moisten the paper. When the paper is soaked through, after about a minute or two, you can start rubbing the paper off. Be very careful not to rub off too much, because that means you’re rubbing off the image.

Just go slowly, and let it dry a few times to see where you have to take off more paper. Check the video for how to rub off the paper.

I missed a few spots, but hey, it’s hand made, it’s corny, and my wife loves the end result. Let’s just call it rustic 😉

The end result

Ready! How’s that for a romantic gift??


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