Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wooden Picture Blocks

Hey guys! For this post, I'm going to give you instructions on how to make wooden picture blocks by transferring photos onto wood. It's a really cool, rustic looking project that can accommodate any space and style. You can make it antique looking (like I did) or you can make it glossy and super classy for a more formal space. 

As you know, I have a beautiful little girl named Parker. Below is us in October at the pumpkin patch.

She is almost one (time flies!!) and is inevitably the inspiration for many of my projects. So for these wooden picture blocks, my decision to make each and every one of them a picture of Parker was not a difficult decision at all!


1) Wood - $13
Cut in the desired size and shape of your picture (Home Depot will cut the wood for you). I went with white wood- its a lighter shade of wood so the pictures will transfer better. I also tried to find a plank that had few knots, or knots that weren't as noticeable. The knots are beautiful and all, but they will not look good if they are placed right in the center of your picture - I learned this the hard way....Also, make sure the wood is not pretreated wood (it'll have a green tint to it). 
I printed 5 pictures that were about 7"x7". 
2) Sand paper - $5
3) Printed pictures - $10
You are going to want your pictures printed with a laser printer and on the thinnest paper you can find. I just printed with Fedex. You can fill everything out online, choose paper weight, and pick up the pictures at your desired Fedex location. If you have a laser printer, you obviously will be able to eliminate this cost!
4) Gel Medium - $6
5) Mod Podge, Antique Matte Finish - $4
You can use any finish you like (matte, gloss, etc). I chose to do antique because I wanted it to look aged and, well, antique-ish lol.
6) Paint brush or Foam brush - these I already had, so no cost!
I used a foam brush for the gel medium and a paint brush to paint on the Mod Podge. The only problem with a paint brush is if it is a really poor quality brush, the bristles will fall off and you'll spend time picking them off your project. I chose to use a brush anyway because I find it easier than a foam brush. BUT, don't spend your money on an expensive brush. Mod Podge is basically glue and it will ruin the brush you use anyway. 
7) Some sort of old credit card to smooth out bubbles
I just used an old Costco card my husband had.
8) Damp rag
8) Michael's coupons! 

                                             Here are some of the items you will be using.


1) After you have your wood, sand down the edges and the side you are going to use for the picture. Get it nice and smooth. Wipe down with a damp rag to remove all sawdust.
2) Let wood dry (just a few minutes)
3) Once the wood is dry, take your foam brush and your gel medium. Spread gel medium over the side of wood you are going to use for your picture. BE VERY GENEROUS!!! The gel medium is what transfers the ink on your photo onto the wood, so leave no space void of gel!
I did one nice coat, and after that coat was all spread out evenly, I administered a second coat. Just make sure the gel medium is as even and smoothed out as possible on the wood, you don't want any places that are bubbled, or much thicker than the rest. 
4) Take your photo, and INK SIDE DOWN place your photo on the wood. 
NOTE: if your photo contains any sort of writing or image that CANNOT be mirrored, make sure you print the pictured as a mirrored image so that when it transfers, it will be the correct orientation.
5) Using your card, smooth out the paper and bubbles. 
Do this rather quickly. The gel medium begins to dry fairly fast and the ink also begins to transfer almost immediately. You have a very short time frame for adjusting the picture on the wood after its placed. 
6) Leave over night to dry!
7) Once the gel medium is dry, you can go ahead and begin the next very messy process. You are going to take a damp rag and rub it on the photo. Essentially what you are doing is rubbing the paper off. Don't be too rough, you don't want to rub the ink off with it, but you also cannot be too gentle or the paper won't come off. It is a long a tedious process, but be patient! It will be worth it!
I got the rag wet, rung out excess water, and laid it flat on the wood, covering the entire piece. It let it sit for a while and soak the paper. Then I began rubbing off the paper. I had to do this process (soak paper, rub paper off, let dry,  soak paper, rub paper off, let dry, etc.) 3-4 times before all the paper was off. MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE PAPER OFF!!!
8) When you are finished rubbing the paper off, let the wood dry completely.
9) When wood is dry, brush on the mod podge, 
I did one fairly thin and even coat, but you can do as many coats as you feel necessary until you achieve your desired look.

10) Let dry. This takes about an hour.

In this photo, the top wood block has the antique mod podge, and the bottom wood block has nothing. You can see how it kind of ages the photo and makes it look more rustic.

11) Hang however you like! You can do brackets on the back, or hooks on the top, however you feel would suit the space you are hanging the photos in!    

The final product!! Unfortunately, I have not hung them yet because we are moving in a couple of weeks and there really is no point. Hopefully I'll get them hung up in Parker's room when we move and post a picture of it then!

***NOTE: As you can see, the pictures rubbed off in a few places. Don't worry about that. It'll still look really cool :)


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