Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wax On Wax Off Photo Transfer

Ever had a project where you did a ton of research,
were still a little unsure of the result,
but decided to just go for it and hope for the best?
And a little prayer too?
That was this photo transfer project for me.

I have seen them all over pinterest,
and they all say use laser printed images.

Unfortunately the client wanted an image that was
2 ft by 3 ft.  My home printer doesn't print that big.
I asked at Staples and Office Max and their engineering prints
which would meet the size critera, weren't laser printed.

Originally I thought the client was going to get the image 
printed for me so I wasn't going to worry about it,
but she didn't.
Now I was getting nervous.

All the other tutorials said Laser prints only.
I was getting really nervous.
So I decided to go to the source.
I went to Liquitex's website and scoured their information
on doing photo transfers.
No where did it say it had to be a Laser print.

So on a wing and a prayer, I decided to go for it.

The client wanted a gray-blue background heavily distressed.
I knew I couldn't do the transfer of a photo like this on pallet wood.
Too uneven.
So I headed over to Lowe's and picked up a sheet of birch plywood.
It was $25 for the sheet.  I had the guy cut it down a bit for me.
I think it ended up being 3 1/5 by 3 1/2 feet in size.

Then I needed a way to finish the edges so you didn't 
see the crappy plywood layers.
I found a small piece of moulding that was rounded on one side.
It fit the edges perfectly.

I got the image from the client and flipped it horizontally
before getting it printed.
Then I saved it to a flash drive and took it to Staples for the print.
It was less than $5 for the print.
Turns out you don't need it Laser Printed!

The Liquitex Gel Medium was around $10.  I used a coupon at Joanns.

After I got all the supplies, painted the board and let it dry, I was ready to get started.

First I laid the print out on the board and decided where it was going to be.

Then I used Frog Tape to tape off the edges around where the paper would be.

This step is to keep the gel medium where it's supposed to be and
I don't have to worry about wiping off any escaping drips.

Next, move the image out of the way and get a large brush.
Start going to town brushing the Liquitex Gel Medium all over the board
keeping inside the tape lines.
It should be a good thick coat of medium.
Try to keep things as evenly thick as possible.

Then carefully place the paper face down on the gel medium.
I used my vintage rolling pin to smooth the paper out.
I did get a couple of creases in the paper that wouldn't come out,
but it added to the vintage feel to the image.
A brayer would work too, the rolling pin just covers more surface area.
Keep rolling until you get it as smooth as possible.

Then set the board aside and let it completely dry.
At least 24 hours.
I let mine go 48, partly because I didn't have time to get back to it until then.

Not it's time to face the music.
Will it work or wont it?

I grabbed a couple of dish towels and soaked them.
Ring it out so they aren't dripping but very wet.

Lay them on top of the image and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
You want the paper to be wet all the way through.

I removed a section of rag at a time and started wiping in circular motions.
This step totally reminding me about Karate Kid.
Wax on. Wax off.
And for as long as it took me to get all the paper off,
I totally could have taken Daniel-son.

Wipe and wipe and wipe some more.
Ring out the rag and start again.
It took several passes to get all the paper off.

Then I would walk away and let it dry, but when I came back,
there was still more paper. Ugh!
My shoulder was super sore after that.
It would be much easier with a smaller image,
but I really love how it turned out.

Pull the frog tape off and wipe a little more.
The edges were a little raw and uneven, but that added to the vintage feel.
Wipe it one more time and let completely dry.
I finished it off with a topcoat of ModPodge to seal the image.

The quote was a custom scripture the client wanted in High Tower font.
I painted it on, then added the trim painted in the same creamy white.
The trim was glued and staple-gunned in place.
Then I used some filler to cover the nail holes and painted and sanded the edges a bit more.
It's amazing what a little sand paper can do.

I definitely had to take a bunch of photos of the finished project.

I will do one for me sometime soon.
Maybe when my shoulder forgets all the work of wiping the paper off.



  1. Beautiful job and I'm sure your client was thrilled. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  2. Shelley, that looks AWESOME!!! This would be an amazing gift for mom & dad.

  3. Shelley, that looks AWESOME!!! This would be an amazing gift for mom & dad.


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