Photos On Wood

After seeing this tutorial, I was inspired try it myself. It has led to a couple of pieces and a lot of notes. It was a lot of work, but they turned out great and I learned a lot.

Also, you can get this done professionally at places like WoodSnap, but they don't do the nice shiny finish. If I had gone down this route, I would still follow the same steps for choosing and preparing the photo.

  • Choosing a photo

    • Make sure that at least 40% of the photo is white/transparent or a very light color. This allows the wood to show through the photo. If the photo is totally colored, you won't be able to tell it was printed on wood.
  • Preparing the Photo

    • If you're using a black and white photo, colorize the photo to match the shade of wood
    • High contrast skin/face is important, it should be almost cartoon-like. The rest of the scenery can be normal.
  • Printing

    • Print on a color laser printer (inkjet will not work).
    • 20-lb paper is fine.
    • 32-lb paper is better. The heavier paper means the laser printer will produce a better image (less grainy). Downside is that the heavier paper takes more time to rub off.
  • Preparing the wood

    • Make the wood slightly smaller than the photo, edge-to-edge looks great
    • Oil is a great way to bring out he grain of the wood, apply it before the Gel medium.
    • The measurements listed on a piece of wood bought from Home Depot aren't necessarily the real dimemsions!
    • Avoid knots when choosing the piece of wood. Dents and scratches aren't ideal, but seemingly don't matter.
  • Applying Gel Medium:

    • Too much is better than too little.
    • Too little causes parts of the photo to come of when rubbing away the picture
    • Too much and the paper will get moist and ripple. I think you can flatten these out, but I haven't tried.
    • Bubbles are the worst. Bubbles are hard to distinguish from ripples that are filled with excess gel medium.
  • Rubbing off the paper

    • This till take at least two passes. As the water dries, unremoved fibers will become visible.
    • I've always tried to use a minimal amount of water. I suspect water causes the gel medium to bubble.
    • Angle wood almost parallel to light source to the surface to detect remaining fibers of paper
  • Applying Sealer

    • Modge Podge is a quick and easy

      • You can use a wood __ to color the photo right before applying the Modge Podge.
    • Epoxy Resin is tricky but looks great

      • Prepare your work area really well

        • Create your dust-free environment ahead of time.
        • Tape the underside of the wood with painter's tape so that the beads of epoxy that form can be removed easily
      • Red cups, plastic forks (spreader) and knives (stirer) work well. The sides will have to be done using a paint brush that you no longer want.
      • Get a long lighter to remove bubbles.

        • Epoxy resin does not seem to be flammable
      • Leveling before pouring the resin is important
      • Elevate the wood intelligently. Run-off can bond the wood to anything.
Posted: May 21, 2013 | | comments