Image transfer with inkjet printer

Image transfer with inkjet printer

To transfer images onto wood is nothing new. There are tons of tutorials on this subject on Pinterest but if you look a little closer one thing becomes abundantly clear…

For almost all of these tutorials you need a laser printer! Like most people, I have an inkjet printer, and the only laser printer in my neighborhood stands in a copy shop (30 minutes away). If you are patient in nature, you can schedule a visit to the copy shop from time to time. Unfortunately, I’m not patient and I find it extremely inconvenient if I cannot make spontaneously changes in my design at home.

Luckily, there is also an alternative method for inkjet printers and here is how it works:



First you need waxed paper or freezer paper*. I personally use freezer paper but wax paper is supposed to work as well. Then you need of course an image** (mirrored!) and wood. The trick with the wood is, the smoother the wood, the better it works. In this case I used the same wood that I have also used HERE for my wooden postcards.

* Some of you will remember that this is also the same paper that I have used HERE to print directly on fabric.

** I have found my image HERE and changed the design a bit.



The image transfer is super easy and only takes a few minutes. After you have printed your image onto the wax side of the paper, you place it on the wood and secure the paper with adhesive tape, so that it cannot move. Now you need something with which you can “rub” on the back. I prefer to use a pencil, because this way I can see if I have applied the same amount of pressure everywhere. With the pencil you “rub” over the entire back and so you will transfer the color of the wax paper onto the wood. When you’re done, you remove the paper from the wood and admire your work. In order to fix the color on the wood and bring out more vibrancy, I recommend spraying the image with a matte clear coat as soon as the paint is dry.


This method only works really well with untreated wood, since it can absorb the color. But if you insist on using varnished wood, it can also work but you will need a bit more diligence. The normal “rub” doesn´t work here because you will smudge the image but where there’s a will, there’s a way. To prevent the color from smudging, you need to trace the image on the back of the print very precisely with the pencil, when you transfer it onto the wood. First I copied all the black outlines and then I carefully applied pressure to the colored areas. You always have to stay within one color with the pencil. The result is not as good as the one with untreated wood but in some cases it can look quite interesting if the image has a blurred look.


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