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Create a Wooden Picture Collage with Photo Transfer

  • October 31, 2017
  • Art

Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving

It's so easy to take a million digital pictures on your phone or camera, but why is it so difficult to get the pictures OUT of your phone or camera?? Admit it--people just don't print and display pictures like they used to, unfortunately. With this project, however, we're taking our favorite family and friends' pictures and transferring the images onto plywood and making a fun wall collage! Using scrap wood lying around the house, along with photo transfer medium, we can turn our old pieces of wood into a gallery wall that will make us promise never to leave our favorite photos in the phone or camera again!

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Print Out Your Favorite Pictures Using your inkjet or laser jet printer, print out your favorite photos of your friends and family. I chose whichever pictures I wanted and picked various sizes. If your pictures have words on it, be sure to print the mirror image of your photos. Otherwise, family photos won’t need to be printed in a mirror image.

    2. Step: 2

      Apply Photo Transfer Medium to Front of the Picture Using wax paper or parchment paper, apply the photo transfer medium to the front of the picture. Use even strokes and layer it on thick.

    3. Step: 3

      Apply the Photo Face Down on the Wood I used a large piece of plywood to place the photos upon. They don’t have to be placed in any particular order; just make sure there is enough space between the pictures so that you can later cut them out. Use a brayer to make sure the pictures are secure to the wood. Don’t press too much or the photo transfer medium could squeeze out the sides. Let the photos dry 24 hours.

    4. Step: 4

      Sponge the Photo With Water 24 Hours Later Use water and soak the image on the wood, softening the paper.

    5. Step: 5

      Keep Rubbing! Using the sponge or your fingertips, gently massage the paper off of the wood, revealing the image beneath. Don’t rub too hard so you don’t remove the image from the wood. Because this was the first time I had done image transfer, I wasn’t sure when to stop rubbing. I recommend doing a test picture first before doing your project.

    6. Step: 6

      Cut Out the Images With a Jigsaw Use a jigsaw cut out the images around the edges of the photo. Cut them on the edges of the photo.

    7. Step: 7

      Run the Blocks of Wood on the Router Table You don’t need to use a router for the edges, but if you’d like to create a decorative edge, run the blocks of wood over the router table.

    8. Step: 8

      Sand the Edges The edges will be a bit scraggly, but with some 150-grit sandpaper, the edges of the photographs will come off nice and cleanly. The pictures will begin to look like they’re mounted on plaques, which I love!

    9. Step: 9

      Seal the Photos With a Top Coat I recommend adding a coat of top coat first before painting or adding color to the picture edges. If paint or color gets on the edges of the pictures, it’s easier to wipe off.

    10. Step: 10

      Apply a Wax Metallic Finish or Paint to the Edges of the Wood I used Rub ‘n Buff, a wax metallic finish, along the edges to create some visual interest to the pictures. You can also use colorful paint.

    11. Step: 11

      Lay Out Your Collage and Hang on Your Wall I wanted the pictures to create a large rectangle on the wall above where my middle son uses his computer. I had to first put it together on the floor, snap a picture of it, and then re-create it on the wall. I used Command Strips with hook and loop on the back to adhere them to the wall, which was quick and easy! The wall turned out great! And finally, I’m glad that my favorite pictures of the people that I love can be admired daily. For more DIY projects, visit ThriftDiving.com.

Comments (8)


  • I've got to try this! I have lots of photos, and lots of pieces of wood! this will be so cool!
    By LindaLW666, on November 6, 2017

  • I love this so much! Plus, I've always wanted to try using a router.
    By Linds, on November 6, 2017

  • this is awesome!
    By andreslh, on November 6, 2017

  • Great job! Gonna make a Christmas picture themed wall include some Christmas cards I have saved over the years that I thought were extra cute. Thanks for inspiration!
    By Melissa Johnson, on November 7, 2017

  • This turned out beautifully. It's personally too much work for me to do since I don't have a lot of patience.
    By tlickliter2001, on November 7, 2017

  • AWESOME IDEA....
    By plproper, on November 7, 2017

  • Turned out very nice, good job!! I like this idea and using the router made it into a real frame!
    By TMVA, on November 12, 2017


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Create a Wooden Picture Collage with Photo Transfer

by Thriftdiving
Oct 31, 2017

It's so easy to take a million digital pictures on your phone or camera, but why is it so difficult to get the pictures OUT of your phone or camera?? Admit it--people just don't print and display pictures like they used to, unfortunately. With this project, however, we're taking our favorite family and friends' pictures and transferring the images onto plywood and making a fun wall collage! Using scrap wood lying around the house, along with photo transfer medium, we can turn our old pieces of wood into a gallery wall that will make us promise never to leave our favorite photos in the phone or camera again!

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1

    Print Out Your Favorite Pictures Using your inkjet or laser jet printer, print out your favorite photos of your friends and family. I chose whichever pictures I wanted and picked various sizes. If your pictures have words on it, be sure to print the mirror image of your photos. Otherwise, family photos won’t need to be printed in a mirror image.

  2. Step: 2

    Apply Photo Transfer Medium to Front of the Picture Using wax paper or parchment paper, apply the photo transfer medium to the front of the picture. Use even strokes and layer it on thick.

  3. Step: 3

    Apply the Photo Face Down on the Wood I used a large piece of plywood to place the photos upon. They don’t have to be placed in any particular order; just make sure there is enough space between the pictures so that you can later cut them out. Use a brayer to make sure the pictures are secure to the wood. Don’t press too much or the photo transfer medium could squeeze out the sides. Let the photos dry 24 hours.

  4. Step: 4

    Sponge the Photo With Water 24 Hours Later Use water and soak the image on the wood, softening the paper.

  5. Step: 5

    Keep Rubbing! Using the sponge or your fingertips, gently massage the paper off of the wood, revealing the image beneath. Don’t rub too hard so you don’t remove the image from the wood. Because this was the first time I had done image transfer, I wasn’t sure when to stop rubbing. I recommend doing a test picture first before doing your project.

  6. Step: 6

    Cut Out the Images With a Jigsaw Use a jigsaw cut out the images around the edges of the photo. Cut them on the edges of the photo.

  7. Step: 7

    Run the Blocks of Wood on the Router Table You don’t need to use a router for the edges, but if you’d like to create a decorative edge, run the blocks of wood over the router table.

  8. Step: 8

    Sand the Edges The edges will be a bit scraggly, but with some 150-grit sandpaper, the edges of the photographs will come off nice and cleanly. The pictures will begin to look like they’re mounted on plaques, which I love!

  9. Step: 9

    Seal the Photos With a Top Coat I recommend adding a coat of top coat first before painting or adding color to the picture edges. If paint or color gets on the edges of the pictures, it’s easier to wipe off.

  10. Step: 10

    Apply a Wax Metallic Finish or Paint to the Edges of the Wood I used Rub ‘n Buff, a wax metallic finish, along the edges to create some visual interest to the pictures. You can also use colorful paint.

  11. Step: 11

    Lay Out Your Collage and Hang on Your Wall I wanted the pictures to create a large rectangle on the wall above where my middle son uses his computer. I had to first put it together on the floor, snap a picture of it, and then re-create it on the wall. I used Command Strips with hook and loop on the back to adhere them to the wall, which was quick and easy! The wall turned out great! And finally, I’m glad that my favorite pictures of the people that I love can be admired daily. For more DIY projects, visit ThriftDiving.com.