How to Print Pictures on Wood
Waxed Paper Transfer



I’m funny. Sometimes ha-ha funny, sometimes  left-out-of-the-fridge-too-long funny.

But as we all know, there are times for funny and times for seriousness. This is one such time.   For seriousness that is.

So this post will involve no funny. No laughing, no snickering, no coffee spitting.

Because the information I’m about to introduce you to deserves a reverence that can’t be accomplished when diluted with hilarious jokes or cutting sarcasm.

I’m going to teach you how to transfer any photograph or picture onto wood.

Wood wood.  Not dingle dangle wood.

You don’t know it yet, but this is the greatest day of your life.  You get to produce something beautiful without any pain or tearing of your woman bits.  Plus it won’t turn into a whirling, dangerous ball of hormones in 13 years.

A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to try making something but it involved transferring a photo onto wood so I did a little research.  Most of the tutorials I came across involved a few specialty materials  like matte gel and the backing paper of printer labels.  I didn’t have any printer label paper handy and don’t even know what matte gel is.

So I kept looking for a cheaper (don’t have to buy anything) and simpler solution.  Mid search I suddenly remembered my mother mentioning something Mag Ruffman had done a couple of years back.

It was the perfect solution and it works GREAT.

All you need is a printer, a roll of waxed paper and a dream.

That’s right. All you need is a regular inkjet printer (this is the one I use) and regular waxed paper. I have an HP Deskjet 3050 and this technique works with this printer. It’s the only printer I can guarantee this works with, although it will work with most.

(update:  since posting this a couple of years, there’s been a lot of success stories and a lot of frustration stories, mainly due to the printer you’re using.  I can only guarantee this works with the kind of printer I have which is a cheap, old HP printer I got at Costco. )


Waxed Paper Transfer 2

Cut a few sheets of wax paper to the size of a standard piece of printer paper.

Find a smooth, light coloured piece of wood. Actually find a few so you have some to practice on.

Then, find a high resolution image you like. Or make your own. The Graphics Fairy is a great place to start for copyright free, high resolution images.

Once you have an image you like, reverse it using whatever photo program you have on your computer.  If you’re not sure how to do that just Google it.

Put a sheet of your waxed paper into the printer and click print.


As the waxed paper comes out of the printer, gently guide it. You have to be careful it doesn’t roll under itself or touch itself in any other way because it will smear the ink.


Put your image exactly where you want it on the wood. Remember … this can be any unfinished wood. A bench, table, box, or anything!

Once you place your image you can’t move it.  Do not move it.  It will smudge. You will be sad.  Then you will cry and it will smudge some more.


Holding the transfer tight to the wood, and working quickly, swipe the edge of a credit card across the image. This pushes the ink from the waxed paper down into the wood, which absorbs it.

Don’t be wimpy about this.  Push hard, but not so hard that you rip the waxed paper.  You can gently lift the paper to see if it’s transferring well.  If you notice spots that haven’t transferred, rub it some more with the credit card, this time burnishing it.

When you’re pretty sure that you’ve transferred as much ink as possible lift off your waxed paper and get ready to call someone. Because that’s the first thing you’re going to want to do because this method works so well.

You’ll be stunned.

You’ll naturally want other people to be stunned. It’s a DIYer thing.

I tried a few images just because it was so fun.

Like I said earlier you can use this technique on any smooth, unfinished wood like old crates, tables, or chairs. For anything that’s going to have wear and tear, just remember to spray it with a a clear matte finish after you do the print. Any wood sealer will protect it.

If you don’t have a table, chair or dresser you want to print on, you can just find a nice old board and prop it against the wall, or hang it.

Quick Reference Directions:
Waxed Paper Transfer

1. Cut sheets of waxed paper to the size of computer paper.

2.  Print your image onto the waxed paper with any Inkjet printer. (must reverse image first using whatever photo program you have) In answer to some of your comments, no, it doesn’t matter which side you print on. Both sides of waxed paper are waxed.

3.  Carefully place the image on your wood (wet side down) and then rub over it with a credit card.

4.  Removed waxed paper and the ink is now transferred to the wood.

5.  Seal with a matte spray wood sealer if you like.



Use smooth wood.  Rough barn board won’t work, but smooth barn board will.

Darker colours on lighter wood works best.

Dampening the wood a bit with a sponge will make the transfer darker, but it might blur and smudge if you’re not extremely careful.


Here’s  the most exciting part.  This is just Part I of this post. Part II will come in 2 days, when I show you how to use this technique to make a GREAT table centrepiece, perfect for Easter.




Laughter may now resume.

And remember, a few readers have struggled to get the wax paper to go through their printer.  If this is the case you can try freezer paper, printing onto the waxy side.  Or, if your printer is on its last legs anyway, purchase the same printer I am using, an HP Deskjet 3050 because I know this printer can handle wax paper.

And don’t forget to sign up for The Summer of Doing Stuff if you want to start creating all those things you’ve Pinned, instead of just Pinning them!!!  ~ karen


  1. Lynne from Design The Life You Want To Live says:

    My mind is going WILD with excitement.

    A. Because I’m in a different time zone and that therefore means that I’m awake to see your post 🙂 woot woot!

    B. Mind blown. There are so many cool things we can possibly do from your coolio idea. How about little pieces of wood with prints- as fridge magnets ?! Oh la la.

    Wood + photo + magnet = gorgeousness. Yessss.

    Thanks a bunch !

  2. Erika says:

    OMG that is so cool. But my heart is breaking because the one object I would love to subject this to has been painted (an old cedar chest that has actually been stained, coated with whatever passed for polyurethane in the ’50s, painted, then painted again, so stripping seems daunting). Could this possibly work on a flat latex painted surface?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erika – I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I think you’d have a shot on flat latex painted surfaces. If the underside of the chest is painted as well, try a tiny transfer there. Or anywhere that won’t be noticeable. ~ karen!

      • Allison says:

        It’s likely to work on a latex printed surface. I do image transfers onto acrylic painted surfaces all the time, and a latex surface is essentially the same thing. Just give the ink ample time to dry after transferring to avoid smudging, and make sure you seal it.

        • Jenn says:

          The key here is ‘flat’. If you have a high sheen latex it will not transfer properly (guessing, but that is how latex paint is designed: the higher the gloss/sheen, the less it will absorb moisture). That’s why they tell you to use a pearl or higher gloss paint when painting the kitchen, so the paint will hold up. Curious to see if someone tries it with a flat or eggshell sheen latex paint!

    • Amee says:

      Sand the painted surface and the transfer will work.

    • E says:

      Use this green product to remove the finish (paints and urethanes), let dry.

  3. Dana says:

    The Graphics Fairy has great vintage images that are free! I have an old breadboard that I now have plans for.

  4. victoria says:

    Love it!!!! A question, are wax papers waxy on both sides? Does it matter which side of the wax paper you print on?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria – Hah! I wondered the same thing as I was doing mine. Both sides are waxy. Good question though! ~ karen

    • Ange says:

      I’ve heard that freezer paper works well too. You definitely have a right and wrong side.

    • missy says:

      it says in the above instructions it does NOT matter both sides are waxed I was wondering if it did any damage to the printer or inkheads

      • Angelic says:

        I was also wondering if it would damage the printer in anyway! I’m so happy I found your page and can’t wait to complete my photo projects that I am surprising my children and their spouses with of thier kids, my grandkids,thank you for taking the time to make your website, I love it!

  5. Auntiepatch says:

    Genius! Does it matter what side the waxed paper is printed on?

  6. Jane says:

    I haven’t tried this…yet…but did make cool coasters on marble tiles using graphic fairies prints and some of them are already reversed! Have to wait until husband not home to put waxed paper in printer:) he’ll swear I’m gonna ruin his printer!

    • Kirk says:

      This will eventually ruin your printer.. not designed to run wax paper. But a cheap one you can wreck and have fun until it breaks:-)

  7. Fifi says:

    Karen, oooohhh…what a fantastic project ! My gosh , and it is sooo easy, thanks for sharing this 😉
    Gotta go find my driftwood stash….see what I can do with it ! I’m thinking a sign that says, <—-BEACH, because the beach really is to my left LOL!!!!!

    PS Is there a wrong/right side to printing on the wax paper??…I just checked mine, and there does seem to be a difference….one side is slicker, the other not as much.

    • Karen says:

      You’ll just have to play around with it fifi. The slicker side sounds better, but sometimes if it’s too waxy the ink smears before you even get it out of the printer. ~ karen!

  8. ~gloria says:

    Do you have to reverse the image for all graphics or only those with writing?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gloria – Just for those with writing, but I’m the kind of gal that’s sometimes bugged if something is facing the wrong way even if I’m the only one who knows it’s the wrong way. Also, sometimes when photos are reversed (as they would be if you didn’t reverse them) they look a bit off for some reason. It also depends on how you think the image would look best on whatever you’re printing onto. A face might be facing right for example, but you’d prefer if it was facing left. But, … having said all that I reiterate … nope … doesn’t matter, lol. ~ k!

      • ~gloria says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I, too, am bugged by stuff that looks weird facing the wrong way. So because I’ve not had much success with photo programs of any kind, unless you count my 2nd grade class photo which was stunning, I shall try to find images that are palindrome-ish.

        • Murphys Law says:

          If you struggle with graphics programs, look for Irfan View. It’s a free download and sooo easy to use. You can reverse any image with one click (they call it flipping) It can’t do everything the fancy programs do but for manipulating already created images it’s super easy to play with. 😉

  9. Fifi says:

    Just read your answer to my question on another post Karen, about the wax paper… and just wanted to add… have THE cutest pair of scissors !! Tell me they’re not from the Dollar Store!!

    And …..I just had a flash of inspiration thanks to your post tonight!!…..I just bought 2 Ikea RAST pine dressers, I am using as nightstands…(they were a steal at 40 bucks each btw!) I have seen how others have been finishing theirs, but I wasn’t all that inspired yet….I think the photo transfer would look great on the drawer fronts….to get the hand painted look, yet still see the natural wood peeping through…I like the transparency of the photo transfers ! I’m thinking something botanical or sea inspired…;-)

  10. Pati Gulat says:

    Gonna do this with my grandkids pics and put them on little pieces of wood for my key chain !

  11. TucsonPatty says:

    You are a goof and a genius – a goofy genius. I have seen this trick but it sounded too tricky for me, but you made it seem possible. I have a family reunion coming up, where where we take handmade silent auction items and this is going to be something I *will* be working with!
    Thanks so much!

  12. Barbie says:

    OMGOSH! I LOVE THIS!! Can’t wait to try it tomorrow! Thanks Karen!

  13. I have tried this with a spritz of water on the wood to dampen it and the first one worked out amazing. All the rest smudged. (six more)…. I have tried it on painted surfaces with a spritz of water and it smudged again. Now I am going to try this without water and a credit card! I’m feeling lucky!

  14. Kim C. says:

    OMG, awesome! I’m definitely trying this too. These would be neat hanging from some rusted chain or maybe drill a couple of holes on either side along the top and string a length of leather or rope, knotted at each end. Thanks for some more inspiration Karen.=)

  15. Sia says:

    You have no idea what you have just done to my existence.

  16. Su says:

    Cool man. Really, really cool…. gotta try it… 🙂

  17. Carol Hogan says:

    Love this post, but call me stupid, but how did you get the reverse image for printing? I took a quick look at The Graphics Fairy and the images look right-sided.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol – It depends on what computer you have and what program it came with. Google, how to reverse image. Otherwise, just use something without words. 😉 ~ karen

  18. Joanne says:

    I tried doing this last summer and my printer totally ate the waxed paper. Other tutorials use freezer paper, which I had never seen in Canada (or heard of), but it seems to be sturdier. Lo and behold, I found a roll of it at my favourite cheapskate store–Dollarama! Now where did I put it…?

    • Todd says:

      I had this same problem, trying to put our last name on a planter I built for the garden. I used waxed paper but the printer ate it up. My solution was to cut a piece of waxed paper just big enough to fit my graphic, but smaller than the standard 81/2 X 11 page. Then I taped it to a regular sheet of paper with scotch tape. To make sure the position is correct and the waxed paper is large enough just print the image on regular paper; then cut a piece just big enough to cover it and tape it on. that got the printer to cooperate and the rest worked as expected!

      • Karen says:

        Thanks for the tip for readers Todd. ~ karen!

      • Kat says:

        Not wanting to waste the waxed paper, I cut mine down to 4″x6″… the first few went fine, but then another got jammed… and ‘disappeared’. After about 45min of opening, searching, etc., we (hubby helping… his work printer :/ ) hand-fed some cardstock through and it un-stuck it enough from wherever it was that it started to poke out when we next turned the printer on. **whew**
        Moral: In my case hubs said I could print again, but only on a full-size sheet, so if it got caught somewhere we’d be able to find it. Bless him for being so supportive of my occasional endeavors!
        I think Todd’s taping to another sheet idea may work well, or even better– thanks!

    • The lady mentioned she couldn’t find freezer paper. It is usually in the grocery store with the wax paper , tin foil, parchment paper. I have also seen it in the hunting section of Walmart because the hunters wrap their game it before freezing.

  19. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    Geez Karen…do you every get tired of being so damn smart!??? You are brilliant!! Thank you!

  20. Reg says:

    Such a great idea. Looking forward to Part ll.

  21. marilyn says:

    love ,, it

  22. Maria says:

    So it won’t ‘curl’ as it feeds out of the printer, and so that your printer won’t eat the wax paper, try taping a 1 inch strip of copy paper to the lead edge of the wax paper (on the underside of the ‘print’ side, or same side if you have an unprinted edge on your photo). Also, if you have printed photo’s on photo paper, and you don’t like them, instead of throwing them out, if you print on the ‘back’ side of the photo paper, you’ll get the same effect as the wax paper. I know. I accidentally inserted my photo paper the wrong way on the paper tray. Smeared all over!

    Love it Karen. Will have to do it! 🙂

  23. Cathy says:

    To Fifi and everyone…TheGraphicsFairy has several ways to transfer images on her website. I started with the Citrasolv method but landed on Transfer Artists Paper for fabrics. Pricey, yes but I just ordered some on EBay a bit cheaper. Also have purchased online from Joann using 50% coupon. The results on a tea towel are amazing. (Chicken images are amazing ). For furniture many use a projector to outline the graphic then handpaint. I’ll try this method when I retire.
    What I love about the wax paper process is affordability and the instant aged look to the final product.

  24. Maryanne says:

    Thank you for the DIY lesson – I can’t wait to try it out somewhere in my house.

    Also, LOVE the Mag Ruffman refernece – from Road to Avonlea to the DIY TV show she hosted, I’ve always liked her 🙂

    Have a great day!

  25. Mary says:

    Huzzah! Now I am glad I did not throw out my old inkjet printer. I saw something on Pinterest where they scanned a hand-written recipe and put it onto a board. It would be great to hand down a family favourite in Grandma’s writing. I wonder if the writing would be clear enough using wax paper – it’s worth a shot. I will be checking out the Graphics Fairy – your projects look great!

    • Pam'a says:

      You could probably do it. ‘Might want to make the writing darker/increase the contrast on the recipe card so the writing shows well, and the lighter the wood the better. It sounds like a very cool way to memorialize a recipe. They’re just better in handwriting, aren’t they?

  26. Beth says:

    Brilliant. The possibilities for artistry while intentionally smearing the image are great. I’m thinking scanner images of fall leaves. This could be fun.

    Do warn folks not to try this with a laser printer. Only an inkjet printer will work. A laser printer uses heat to set the toner and that will be a bad combination with waxed paper.

  27. Linda J Howes says:

    Will this work with a laser printer or just ink jet?

  28. This is just plain genius. I would imagine you might want to adjust the printer settings for more ink.

  29. Ruth says:

    You’re right…. dingle dangle wood wouldn’t work, because the credit card would do some real damage… of the non-shopping variety.

    Hmmm…. I felt a sudden urge to go shopping, but my pocket spoke to me and set me straight. 😀

  30. Debbie says:

    Way cool! I’m picturing wood block name plates for seating at holiday time. My son usually makes fun name plates for everyone on the computer, but this idea sounds like fun.

    Freezer paper is readily available by me, so I think I will try that. I also like the idea of using the back of the photo paper. And thank for the reminder of only using an inkjet printer. We have both.

  31. Debbie says:

    OMG, a new obsession is born. Thank goodness it does not work on all surfaces! The dogs are at least safe for now. Lol

  32. Sera says:

    I love this! Although my printer is KO right now. If I tried to feed it wax paper it would probably light on fire. But also, thanks for the graphics fairy resource. I am so excited to explore!

  33. FlagirlinTN says:

    This may be my favorite K.D.I.Y.

  34. Sheri says:

    Freezer paper will work also. Just be sure to print on the waxy side.

  35. Deirdre Fowler says:

    OMG OMG OMG!!!
    I was so excited about finding lights at the restore for my new garden lighting AND THEN you do this.
    This is so incredibly amazing. Thank you.
    And how did you know about my 13 female whirling, dangerous ball of hormones?

  36. Louise says:

    Fantabulous!!! For those not knowing how to reverse images, I have photoshop BUT I think in Microsoft Word you can pop the image in, go to edit it by clicking on it so the border thing shows (like you do when you crop images in word) then you can sort of slide from one side to the other and reverse the image…hope that makes sense!

  37. Maureen says:

    This is crazy-good! I am going to the thrift store to find some cheap ugly wooden plaques that I might be able to turn over and print something good on them.

  38. Cat says:

    We used to use odorless paint thinner and xerox copies to transfer images onto wood (pre-carving for woodblock printing)… it probably would work with color copies as well if you want to work bigger (11×17). Might be worth testing and you wouldn’t have to worry about things getting jammed in your printer or smudging or ink drying too fast or whatever.

    • SunGold says:

      @Cat How did the odourless paint thinner and Xerox copy trick work? Call me unimaginative, but I don’t get it. Where does the paint thinner go? How do you use the Xerox?

  39. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    LOVE IT! Now I will be looking for pieces of wood

  40. Sue T. says:

    Any way to use a laser printer for this ?

    • Karen says:

      I’m don’t believe so Sue. You need a printer that literally spits wet ink onto the paper and a laser printer doesn’t do that. ~ karen!

  41. tajicat says:

    Awesome! TFS! 🙂

  42. Laura Bee says:

    Having spent the last day & a half down & out because of ingesting something funny, I fully expected no funny. But I has a few smiles. This is fantastic. The bf actually repaced our wonky laser printer, scanner copier with a basic inkjet printer. Guess I should thank him now.

  43. Patti says:

    Love this idea !!!
    I make Wedding Plates from Wedding invitations and pressed flowers on the back of large clear glass charger plates.
    This would be Awesome using the wedding pictures as a collage.

  44. says:

    so like you to find the cheapest and easiest way to do something that could be incredibly costly and irritating
    that’s why we love you!
    By the way, my milk jug hot houses are sprouting…..I live outside of Philly and we just had snow last week. You must try this!!!!!!

  45. OMG!! That is so amazing and I cannot wait to try it!! Thank you for sharing!

  46. Vanesa says:

    Shut-the-door-fabulous…love it.

  47. erin says:


  48. Pingback: diy flower boxes

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  50. Karen,
    This is the coolest thing since sliced bread! Seriously. I’ve featured it on my website: It’s a hub for all kinds of really cool DIY projects (plus a few of my own). Anyway, here’s the direct URL to the post:
    Thanks so much. It really is awesome! ~Jenise

  51. Laurie says:

    have you ever tried this on canvas?

  52. James says:

    I built both of my children’s beds from pine and thought this would be an awesome way to personalize their beds. Alas, no matter what I do, I cannot get this to work for me… I tried taping paper to the leading edge and even tried taping the whole sheet of wax paper to a regular sheet of paper. All it does it get eaten inside of my printer without even giving me a glimmer of hope. I will try and get some freezer paper and see if that works…feeling discouraged…

    • Karen says:

      Hi James. Well that’s no good. From the sounds of it, it’s your printer. Aside from buying a new one I would suggest cleaning the rollers inside your printer. It could be they aren’t grabbing the paper properly. Also check to see if your printer has a thickness selection for paper and choose the thinnest paper. Finally, fiddle around with changing the printers settings (try photo for instance, or if you’re using photo, try regular paper). Good luck! It really does work, lol. Promise. ~ karen!

  53. Melinda says:

    OMG. I stumbledupon your site-I’m so happy I did. You’re amazing.

    ” Both sides of waxed paper are waxed.” Dying laughing at this. Who’da thunk it?

  54. Aïda says:

    Wow you are witty and I like it! I also very much like the printing on wood idea! Thanks a bunch for sharing it and your wit! Have a great day!

  55. Shawn Sum says:

    I am speechless! I never in my life thought that it would be this easy!! Thank You! Will definitely impress my wife with this trick!

  56. Wendi Clement says:

    Have you tried using a photo? I would like to transfer a photo of my husband’s dog onto wood. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendi. A photo would work perfectly. Just make sure it’s a good clean shot. It’ll work best of course if the dog is dark and the wood is light. If the dog and wood are the same colour it won’t be as effective. ~ karen!

  57. Karnk says:

    Yes I tried this very, very carefully and totally jammed in my printer. Had to remove rear access to get it out.
    So this does not work on any inkjet printer.

    • Karen says:

      Karnk – Just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. I’ve had many things that end up jamming my printer where I have to remove it from the back. If you’re truly interested in this technique I’d try it a few more times. If not … then of course you don’t have to. Hand feeding the paper helps. Just guiding it down to make sure it catches in the rolleres. ~ karen

  58. missy says:

    Does this do any harm to your printer like to the print heads or anything as it being waxed ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Missy – No, it shouldn’t harm your printer at all. It doesn’t come into contact with the print heads at all. ~ karen!

  59. Sharon says:

    Having a problem. Have been printing on wax paper but now the printer won’t do it. If I put a regular sheet of paper in, it will print on that just not the waxed paper anymore! Frustrated!!!
    Have tried another brand of waxed paper and parchment paper but nothing seems to work anymore. Any suggestions? My projects are falling behind! Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sharon – Try taping a piece of waxed paper to regular paper and see if it will feed through that way. If all else fails go and buy a new printer. You cannot fall behind on your printing on wood projects! 😉 ~ karen

  60. Lenita says:

    Girl, you are freaking me out. First the ingenious firepit, now this! This is BRILLIANT!! I love transferring stuff. Always happy to find another substrate! Lowes may have to ban me from the lumber department…

    • Karen says:

      I know. It’s a horrible, horrible, dangerous thing to know about. It’s WAY better than the fire pit if you ask me, lol. ~ karen!

  61. Melissa says:

    The ideas are great and very useful but in the beginning you talk about nixing the jokes and reverence then you go on to talk about tearing woman parts and then much later about crying? You either have a terrible sense of humor or are just trying to insult women by feeding into sad and silly stereotypes.

  62. abby says:

    cool tutorial!! quick question–what kind of printer do you use? I tried this once before (a long while ago) and found it made a mess inside the printer; do you think that’s just because the paper wasn’t lined up properly?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Abby – Mine is an HP Deskjet. It’s not a particularly good printer. I believe I paid about $99 at Costco a few years ago. Just try to gently guide the paper as it goes through. Just coax it along if you have to. Good luck! ~ karen

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  64. Stephanie says:

    Will this work on an already finished piece of wood? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stephanie. No, I’m afraid the wood needs to be unfinished, so the ink has something to soak into. If it’s been finished then the ink will just rest on top of the finish and then smear off. ~ karen!

  65. Amber says:

    This is pretty cool but does it have to be an inkjet printer or can I use any printer? Cause inkjets are beyond out of my price range …

    • Jacki says:

      Inkjet printers are the cheapest kind. You can get one for as little as $60. The ink is generally the most expensive part. I’ve found if I buy a more expensive printer ($99 for Kodak), the ink is cheaper. Watch for sales.

  66. laura says:

    Love this project!, and your super funny instructions!

  67. Michaela says:

    I will try this with a picture with me and my Grand daughter in order to let her know how much I love her. I do not get to see her as much I want too. thank you.

  68. Kristine says:

    Have you tried ironing the wax paper to the wood?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristine – I have not. You could try it just to see if it works, but transferring it with the credit cards really is easy. Have fun! ~ karen!

  69. Ellen says:

    hmmmmmm…. I’ve never heard of a dingle dangle tree………

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  73. Vintage Geek says:


    Thank you so much for sharing your incredible creation! I am soooooooo excited!

    QUESTION: Is there a particular type of printer that works best? I have a bottom loading one and the wax paper keeps getting caught and wrinkled. : ( I’m assuming top loading works best?

    Thank you!

  74. Amie says:


    A heads up, a pin that is using your photos from this post is floating around Pinterest, with no credit anywhere to you:

  75. frank says:

    You can do the same with a print on plain printer paper. Just use a hot iron over the back to transfer the image. No risk of smudges. I’ve used this method many times.

  76. Karyn says:

    I came across this from Pinterest, however the pin I clicked took me here

    Which appears to be another blogger using your images and I don’t see a link back to here. I don’t know if stuff like this is a big deal to you, but I just thought you should know.

    • Karen says:

      That sort of thing is VERY important to me Karyn. Thank you. I appreciate you letting me know. It’s one of those sites that has no contact information of course, but I’ve left a comment asking them to remove my images immediately. ~ karen!

  77. Liz Durand says:

    Hi! If I have a printer which uses toner, ¿can I do the transfer?
    Thanks, great idea!!!

    • Trish says:

      Do not use wax paper in a printer that uses toner. It will melt the paper and you’ll have a gooey mess and could ruin your printer. Toner printers use heat to set the print, unlike inkjet printers. I worked at a copy center for a while with toner copiers and printers. There are many super cheap inkjet printers you can buy, so good luck!

  78. Suzy says:

    I am wondering the same thing as Liz, can a cheap HP desktop printer that take cartridges from Walmart work?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzy – I can only speak for my own cheap HP desktop printer from Costco and it works just fine. As long as it’s an inkjet cartridge printer. Which, chances are if it’s a cheap HP printer from Walmart it is. Just give it a shot. Rip out some freezer paper, cut it to size and try to print on it. It won’t hurt anything to try it. ~ karen!

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  80. Darlene says:

    Just ran across your site while browsing for grandkids word art. Loving it!

  81. BRP says:

    Just an FYI, if you are having trouble with your waxed paper jamming, try ironing two pieces of it together, then feed it into your computer. Bet that helps! Thanks so much for this wonderful idea, by the way. I’m excited to give it a try.

  82. Brenda says:

    There is transfer paper you can buy that you can use to iron pictures on fabric once an image is copied on to it. Don’t know why it wouldn’t iron on wood as well as fabric. Seems to make sense that it would.

  83. Nick says:

    This is awesome! After reading some of the other comments it seems that everyone automatically starts formulating things that they can make. Very inspirational!
    Would Mod Podge work for solidifying the printed piece or just make it a big smeary mess?

    • Karen says:

      LOL, I’m not sure if it would become a smeary mess or not. I’d heat set it first with an iron and thin towel. Then try to seal it with whatever you want. I’d probably go with a wood sealer though. ~ karen!

  84. Peri Aplin says:

    I want to get more of your ideas! How do I get on your email list? : )

  85. Pingback: Amazing DIY Technique For Photo Transfer Onto Wood | DIY Home Things

  86. Cleverwabbit says:

    Hi this is a great idea, do you think it will work on glass?

    • Karen says:

      Hey Clever – Thanks! I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work on glass. The ink needs something to absorb into (like wood or something else porous) With glass the ink would just rub right off and smudge. 🙁 ~ karen!

  87. Jennifer Dirks says:

    Just love this idea, so many possibilities. I was wondering do you think this would work on glass?

    • Karen says:

      I’m afraid not Jennifer. The ink would just smudge because there’s nothing for the ink to soak into. Having said that, nothing is impossible so you could always give it a shot. That’s how I learn most of the things I do. I just try it. (you’d have to wait for the ink to dry and then when you’re positive it’s dry, seal it with something.) ~ karen!

  88. Linda says:

    This is absolutely the coolest (and cheapest) way to transfer. I’m amazed how great it looks. I so thank you for sharing it.

  89. Darlene says:

    This is so cool! Thanks so much for sharing the details. I’m going to post it on my blog.

  90. Trish says:

    OMG! I am sooooo glad I found your blog post! I am currently delving into the inkjet transfer to wood realm of creatin’ stuff and have read blogs and watched videos til my eyes and ears finally bled out. I’ve seen the same ones…the label thingys and the gel. I didn’t want to waste money on the stupid labels just to have a carrier for my ink, nor did I want to have to buy the gel. I did, however, try another method that’s pretty cool. It required painting one side of copy paper with washable glue, letting it dry, then running it through the printer. The print came out perfectly, but the transfer part…not so much. Then I decided to just print on copy paper without the glue but instead brushing the glue to the wood. Then I laid the print side down, let dry for HOURS, then removed. This worked out much better. BUT…this…this here, using wax paper and just scraping the paper to transfer the ink to the wood is brilliant! I’m sooo going to try this today. Not only do I NOT have to wait HOURS for anything to dry but I get almost instant results. *wiping tears of joy off my keyboard* If it’s possible to follow up with a picture of my newest creation using your method, I will do so ASAP. And let me add, you are hilarious! My kinda person! As I say adieu for now I’m going to head to the kitchen where I believe some wax paper is loitering in one of my cabinets. I will follow up with my results. You just made my day!

  91. Trish says:

    Okay, I couldn’t wait. I DID IT! OMGosh this is truly a game changer! If you want to see my new masterpiece, here is the link to a picture on my facebook page, hope that’s okay. I plan to add an acrylic sealer and Mod Podge to it, plus I’ll be painting text on it when it’s all dried. Let me add a tip for those using a printer with a tray, rather than a top-feeding one. I have an Epson dual-tray printer (yay me!), so it was impossible to attempt feeding the wax paper through because the printer won’t print with the drawer open. Then my BRILLIANT mind devised a simple plan…this can work for a top-feeding printer too, if you’re having problems. Tape the wax paper to a piece of copy paper along the edges, just enough to ensure it won’t slip around in the printer. I just added tape around the opposite ends of the paper on each side, folding the tape over the edges. Just be sure it’s nice and flat when you’re done taping. It also made it easier to cut the wax paper to size. Any-who…I will be sharing your fabulous blog on my facebook page because the whole world should know about your deceptively simple method. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Yay Trish! I’m glad it worked right out of the gate for you. It usually does. Good job by the way! I like the layering look you’ve done. ~ karen!

      • Trish says:

        You’ve created a monster, Karen! Thanks so much for your comment. I actually didn’t do any layering though I will be adding text. I decided to make the image in black and white and it transferred beautifully. Because I’m so darn excited, I decided to do JUST. ONE. MORE before I am too tired to form sentences. This time I used another photo of mine, one I took of the Kansas City Chiefs Stadium. I have another double heart wood block painted in a pale white. Oh wow, it turned out amazing. I still have the lines from the printer, likely due to the wax paper not going through smoothly enough or else I need to set the ink to “economy.” I like the effect anyway, so I’m very happy. Anyway, I MUST show it off. I will also be adding text to this one, so it’s not finished yet. I’ve shared your blog on my page, so I hope others drop by. I can’t figure out how to follow you though…please let me know. And thank you again!

  92. Tricia says:

    This is great! Will the transfer work on painted wood instead of unfinished?

  93. Dawn says:

    Nailed it on the first try. Thank you so much! Wish I could post the photo.

  94. Very energetic blog, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

    Here is my web site – Marketing Research

  95. Kim W says:

    I have read almost every post trying to see if someone has already asked this question. I just bought a brand new piece of pine…, then i was going to sand it, stain it.. maybe take a hammer and torch to it…. =) Can i use this technique on STAINED wood, but NOT finished, so it would still be abl e to absorb? Thank you in advance… and LOVE your personality coming thru in your writing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim W – I’m gonna be honest with you … I have no idea, lol. My hunch is it won’t absorb because stains are still oil based which coat the wood. If I were you I’d just quickly wipe some stain on the back of the pine or a scrap piece and give it a shot! And let me know how it turns out! ~ karen

      • Katie Frank says:

        Hi Kim and Karen! By any chance, did either of you find out if this would work on stained wood? 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Hi Katie! No, I never did try it. It isn’t something I plan on trying either, lol, so hopefully Kim will have figured it out. Since she’s the one who was wondering about it in the first place, she’s your better bet anyway. And truthfully, just give it a shot and see what happens. ~ karen!

  96. Susan says:

    This is a brilliant idea!!

    Half the things in my house are now covered with wooden boxes in the house with various pictures. It’s a great way to brighten up storage boxes.

    I’m going to try the fabric print next

    Great website

  97. Susan says:

    Sorry I got a bit over excited and pressed “Post Comment” a bit too early on my last post – I should have read it properly – LOL

    I meant to say half the wooden boxes in the house are now covered with various pictures

    Still love the site ~ S

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Thanks Susan! I know that printing stuff is addictive! Wood, fabric, … doesn’t matter. It all looks great and takes over your life, lol. ~ karen!

  98. jannicke øverby says:

    Hi i tried to transfer text to waxed paper the same paper you used as shown.. But the waxed paper is to thin and not as stiff as normal paper.. i almost broke the printer to my dad.. the paper got stuck inside.. what did you do different..and is it possible to find more stiff waxed paper that can take the printing..

  99. Paint It White says:

    Wow! what a great idea, hope you don’t mind if I share it. I can’t wait to try it out for myself:)

  100. Cat Smith says:

    Omg!! Just read your instructions for wax paper transfer to wood ( fabulous!). Got to the comment about your mom – Mag Ruffman…. I love your mom! I used to search the PBS channels to find her (If I Can Do It). Loved her format, style, explanations. Red Green smacks a bit of the same program structure….

    Now, I find you, with more exciting things to pursue. Thanks for the fun blog! I definitely want to join it. Happy!

    • Karen says:

      O.K., now you’re going to make me go back and read my own post Cat, lol. Mag Ruffman isn’t my mom. 🙂 I did reference her and maybe I also referenced my mom. I’ll have to go reread the post to be sure, lol. However … I have worked with Mag Ruffman years ago and I do have a mom so I guess we can go with calling her my mom. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • carol centracchio says:

        I want to know if i can tranfer to glass blocks with wax paper? Or how can i get something for glass no crafts store has the vinyl transfers. Help

        • Karen says:

          Hi Carol. I’ve never tried it onto glass blocks, but I’m inclined to say it won’t work because the ink has nothing to soak into. You’re better to try screen printing onto glass or painting over a glass etching stencil with glass paints. ~ karen!

  101. Pingback: Transfer any picture onto wood using waxed paper do it yourself project | Creative Home Ideas

  102. Pingback: How To Print On Wood (Waxed Paper Image Transfer) | DIY Home Decor

  103. veronica gonzalez says:

    Muchas gracias, me ha gustado mucho voy a conseguir el papel y después les comparto lo que hice¡¡¡

  104. Deanna says:

    Hello, did everything according to the instructions, printed image was fine, but did not transfer on the wood surface..what am I doing wrong.. would it work if I use a warm iron to aid the transfer?
    The idea sounds great.. if it would only work for me.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Deanna! If you print the image on the wax paper does it smear on your finger when you take it out of the printer? If not, the ink is absorbing into the wax paper. Are you taking and transferring the image to the piece of wood *immediately* after you print it? If not it could be drying on the paper before you transfer it, making it impossible to transfer the ink to the wood. There’s something going wrong somewhere obviously but without seeing you actually doing it it’s hard for em to diagnose. 🙁 It really is pretty foolproof so there’s something going on somewhere. Lemme know! ~ karen

      • Deanna says:

        Hello Karen, thanks for the quick reply.
        Meanwhile I watched a video on Utube, where the person uses the backing of a labels sheet with the labels off and recommends wetting the surface.. the transfer with this thicker wax paper works well but it smudges, so the next time I ll leave out the wetting of the wood surface.
        In any case it really is an ingenious way of image transfer that I will be using on my flea market finds in the future. Thanks again for posting about it. Deana

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  106. Tracy says:

    Hi! I’m researching a Christmas gift I want to make for my mom and just found this page. I LOVE this idea! I have a visualization of something I’d like to do with this, but there’s where it stops. I’m awesome at visualizing crafts, horrible at executing them. Any suggestions on finding someone to do something along the lines of this as an outsourcing project? 🙂 I’ve checked Etsy and am Googling like mad, but I think it’s going to be a custom order.


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  108. Laurie says:

    I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it!

  109. Kerstin Miller says:

    I love this idea….but, yes always a but… printer keeps rejecting the wax paper.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kerstin! Have you tried taping the waxed paper to a piece of regular paper? (just barely tape it so it’s easy to get the tape off quickly to do your actual transfer onto the wood) ~ karen!

    • Jennifer says:

      Excatly my printer is also doing the same thing. It will pull it in but starts bunching up right when it is supposed to come out. Even with me guiding it in and out it still does this. Which ends up to be crinkled and smeared at one of the edges. I did try it even like that and can see it will be such a great look on the wood.

  110. Pingback: How To Print Pictures On Wood |

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  112. Pingback: How to Print Pictures on Wood - Lil Moo Creations

  113. Kim says:

    Can you transfer onto wood that has been stained?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim! I haven’t tried it, but my guess would be it depends on the stain and how old the stain is. Stain has oil in it that would create a barrier on the wood preventing the printer ink from sinking in. But if it was stained AGES ago it mayyyy work. The only way to know for sure is give it a shot.~ karen!

  114. J says:

    What a great idea! Will this work on wood slices?

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  116. Brittany says:

    I’m curious whether this would work on a spray painted surface? I’m assuming no, but asking is worth a shot.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brittany. I’d assume no too. 🙂 But … you never really know until you try it. Technically it shouldn’t work because the paint has nothing to soak into but if it’s a really oldddd painted surface, it may be possible. ~ karen!

      • Uncle Wally says:

        Butting in again!! I’ve tried to transfer to wood previously coated with stain/varnish/poly. As Karen advises, “the ink has to soak into the wood not ride around on the varnished surface”. Acetone will remove the varnish and provide you with a porous surface. Test the wood to see if water beads up on the surface. If it does it’s gonna be a problem excepting the ink. You can always re-varnish it after you’ve done your transfer. Some inkjet printers actually use a powder instead of ink. It dries real fast after shot from the jets. Maybe that’s why it’s not
        working on the wax paper. No clue here as to what different printers do. Maybe Karen can tell us what kind of printer she is using.

  117. Dave says:

    I tried your method, I am always looking for the simplest way of doing things and your method seemed much easier than others I read.

    However the first time I tried with my printer ate the wax paper and paper got jammed. Not one to give up I tried it again and used a sheet of copy paper under the wax paper to back it up. It worked that time and I was able to transfer the graphic to wood toy truck I made.

    Thanks for posting this method.


  118. Kerry says:

    I punched my printer after it ate my waxed paper for the 100th time. When it finally worked it looked pretty good. Darker ink worked better. I thought I’d have more trouble with it smudging but that was much easier once I got it to actually print properly!

    Great idea!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kerry. Glad it finally worked! Did you try to tape the waxed paper to a piece of regular paper. That can help give it some sturdiness. And yes, darker colours do work better. ~ karen!

  119. Pingback: How To Print On Wood (Waxed Paper Image Transfer) | DIY Cozy Home

  120. Jdummer says:

    LOVE this idea – my question is IF I wax paper transfer an old recipe onto a new wood cutting board – what food safe top-coat can I use that won’t disrupt my transfer? Thanks!

    • Uncle Wally says:

      If you’ve ever wood burned (pyrography) you can use a needle point soldering iron and burn your recipe on the board after you’ve done your wax paper transfer. Be sure to remove ink with acetone leaving your recipe intact. The cutting boards I’ve seen have the surfaces baked in a wood kiln to keep from harboring bacteria. It’s a tricky maneuver. A guy on youtube was hand making cutting boards. A lot of work if you ask me. I’m busy thinking how to get that goat for Karen.

  121. Gonner says:

    Excited that I came across this again! I hope it works (for me)…

  122. Emma says:

    Oh I Love you!!! I have a built in wooden cutting board next to my stove. I will now be sanding it, getting multiple images of old handwritten recipes and putting them all over it, sealing and voila. I can’t wait!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emma! Excellent! Just … well … I’m going to ruin your day here but technically sealing a cutting board isn’t usually a good thing to do. There’s actually only 1 material that’s considered even reasonably food safe for cutting boards and that’s Shellac. Problem is, once you use the board and cut on it it will get all marked and icky looking and eventually dry and peel. Sorry. I just wanted to warn you before you went to all the work! ~ karen

  123. Gail says:

    I just found this blog. It is just wonderful. So full of great ideas!

  124. AnotherAl says:

    Frankly, I think the parchment paper is too thin to work unless I can select a correct “Paper Type” that will work. Parchment paper jamds up – only 0.002″-0.003″ thick. I thought transparency would work, but it wasn’t to be.

    I was in the grocery store today to see if an “original” Reynolds Parchment paper was available, but it seems only the non-stick type is available. Do you know if Reynolds, or any other company makes a parchment paper with a sticky side.

    Also, while there I was seriously looking at freezer paper, but didn’t pull the trigger. I’m going to try it next.

  125. Rhiannon says:

    I can hardly express my gratitude. I am forever in your debt. What ever you desire, you shall have it. This is astoundingly amazing. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  126. Pingback: How To Print On Wood (Waxed Paper Image Transfer) | Health Daily Artile

  127. Pingback: Transfer Pictures onto Wood with Wax Paper | Health Daily Artile

  128. Uncle Wally says:

    I’m going to crank up my old ink jet printer and give the wax paper a go. I’ve been wood burning to wood from transfers, and mod podging on wood (tedious work). I think you have opened a new world for me. I’m 72 yrs. old, retired and wake up everyday itching to create something.
    Concerning laser printers: I’ve had a lot of success with my Brother laser black and white ($65.00 refurb) for printing graphics to wood, ceramic tile and cork. Here’s my secret. Don’t tell a soul. Reverse your image (I use Illustrator) if your graphics include text, or don’t and read it backwards. Print your graphic on translucent Vellum. I get mine from Office depot but cheaper if you buy on line and not in a hurry to get started. I bought a cheap soldering gun $9.00 with an ironing head attachment. Woodworkers like to toss the word pyrography around with the kits they sell but they’re really just 25 watt soldering irons that reach at least 700 degrees. Some have rheostats in order to adjust the wattage (heat). The laser printer heated the toner to produce the printed graphic and the toner then cools (not wet like on wax paper with an inkjet). All you have to do is press the printed side down on the wood and start reheating the toner with the iron which will adhere the toner to the wood. keep a tight reign on your Vellum or it will slip and you’ll get a blur. Take a peek under the Vellum as you progress to make sure you have ironed all the toner to the wood. Have a little patience, it works great if you want to color in with water color pencils, acrylic or just blend the wood burn, then remove the Vellum and voila your home free. Kinkos charges 25 cents for a color copy off their colors lasers. Color transfers nicely as well. Seal with Poly or acrylic sealer. Glossy looks best and include a stain if you’ve a mind to. I ramble and drool a little. I’m old but loving it. Just happy I found you Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Well, welcome to my site Wally. If I had a laser printer I’d give your technique a shot! Don’t worry. I won’t tell a soul. 😉 ~karen

  129. Joy Arminio says:


    Do you not recommend using unfinished plywood?

  130. Joy Arminio says:

    Thank you so much for the quick response!
    One more question I forgot to ask, what is the printer model you use? Because the model I have makes it difficult to print the wax paper without it jamming up.

  131. sheila says:

    Wow great idea I’m so going to try this thanks 🙂

  132. Pingback: Print on Wood | Serendipity

  133. renee says:

    Will this work on already designed decorated wood you can get in an art supply store

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  135. James says:

    I think I … love you?

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, you probably do. Don’t worry, it’ll pass in a few short browses of Pinterest. At which point I’ll be left in the crafting dust. ~ karen!

  136. Wooden It Be Nice says:

    Oh my! My stomach is literally jumping with excitement. You’re right – this may be one of the greatest days of my life!! Thanks so much for posting this! This is the beginning of a whole new world! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      And your stomach should be jumping! This really is the beginning of something wonderful, lol. Use your gift wisely. 😉 ~ karen

  137. Val says:

    This is fu**ing BRILLIANT

    • Karen says:

      I know. I’m STILL printing on any wood I can find. It’s kind of a nightmare really, lol. ~ karen! (wait, I was probably supposed to say Thanks, right? So thanks! )

  138. Janis says:

    PS Also microsoft paint has a way that you can invert/flip the image as well, and then save the file again as a jpeg. Come to think of it…. You could use microsoft paint to create any type of pretty writing to use, change the color, add clip art and everything and then save it as a jpeg. 🙂

  139. Pingback: Como transferir (qualquer) fotografia em (qualquer) madeira - Receitas e Dicas Rápidas

  140. Pingback: Como transferir (qualquer) fotografia em (qualquer) madeira O segredo papel manteiga – Dicas & Truques Online

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  142. frank says:

    Hi Karen,
    I was wondering how long do you wait once your transfer comes out of the printer to transfer it to wood project. Is it okay for the transfer to be totally dry or doe it have to be fresh out of the printer? Thanks for your help, it’s much appreciated.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Frank! The transfer definitely needs to be wet. It’s the actual ink that sinks into the wood so if it dries first it won’t transfer. I do it the second I take the paper out of the printer. ~ karen!

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  144. Cherie says:

    I have just posted this as my ‘blog hopping’ post over on my blog. I have of course linked back to you.. It would be rude not to let people know where the genius with the ideas is at. I am off to have a go, will let you know how it turns out. x Cherie

    • Cherie says:

      Well, I discovered that I only have greaseproof paper and not wax paper in the drawer sooooooooooo being impatient to try it and realising that any slick surface should work I taped a cellophane bag to a piece of copy paper. Wish I had checked first that I hadn’t previously set the printer to grayscale. IT WORKED. I will put a photo on my blog if you are interested in seeing it

      • Karen says:

        Good job, lol. It must have been difficult to keep the bag in place. It would be slippery. So if you can do it with a plastic bag you’ll be an expert with wax paper. 🙂 ~ karen!

        • Cherie says:

          I simply taped the leading edge to some copy paper with a piece of masking tape. The bag didn’t move at all. Being tight and stingy I wiped the bag when I finished so that I can use it again 🙂 I have some wooden plywood hearts in my stash waiting for a project….. this might just be what they have been waiting for

  145. Lisa Thompson says:

    This is truly a wonderful day. I came across this idea on pinterest and I am truly thankful. If anyone knows an easy way to transfer a picture to metal, I would appreciate it. Have a great day crafters!!!

  146. Manon says:

    Thanks for sharing, great technique!

    Is this technique will work with a laser printer?

    • Karen says:

      Bonjour Manon. Je regret to tell you that it only works with an inkjet printer, lol. Laser printers work by burning the paper basically, while an inkjet spurts ink onto the paper. It’s the wet ink that you transfer onto the wood, so it can only be an inkjet printer. ~ karen!

  147. Sonnie says:

    I came across this last week..fell in love with it. So I decided this is what I was gonna do as presents for the adult members in my family. Awesome idea!!! I just got done with 7 of them last night. I just have one question. I have clear coat spray…and I wanted them to look shiny. Do u think if I spray them with it….will it make the ink smear?? I don’t want to ruin them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sonnie. I’ve never clear coated any of mine, but technically it should work as long as the ink is completely dry and soaked into the wood. But still, if I were you I’d do a test. If you made a mistake with any of them or have an extra piece of wood I would do an ink transfer, let it dry a day and then clear coat it to see if it smears. ~ karen!

  148. Sonnie says:

    Thank u. I thought about that but just thought I would see if you’ve done it yet lol. I am so excited for Christmas now to hand these out. Cheap presents to make….but have alot of meaning. I used family pictures and pictures of grandkids.

  149. Bill says:

    Thanks Karen, this works great and it saves MONEY on some of my projects… P.S. freezer paper seems to work better …

    • Karen says:

      Great. I’m glad you’re liking it. I’ll give the freezer paper a shot once I find another ounce of wood to print on, lol. ~ karen!

  150. Susan says:

    Hi! So sorry if you’ve already answered this question, but do you know if you can apply stain AFTER doing the transfer to the unfinished wood? This is such a great idea and tutorial!!!

  151. Renee Marie says:

    Hi I tried to look through the commment for my answer but I don’t have the patience. Will this work on painted wood? I made my friends cornhole boards and want to personalize it I can’t paint for crap.

  152. Trish says:

    I tried using the wax paper method. The first time my printer ate it and the next time it smeared as it was coming out of the printer. Any suggestions?

  153. Pingback: Transfer Pictures onto Wood with Wax Paper - Seek Story

  154. owen says:

    I was wondering how you print the printer paper. I’ve been trying out your idea over and over and the only thing stoping me from a finished product is my printer. The wax paper countlessly keeps getting jammed in the printer and I dont know whatelse to do! I’ve tried taping it to printer paper, cutting straight lines, sending just the wax paper through etc. and all I get is a paper jam! Please help me 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Hi Owen – The only thing it could be is the rollers of your printer that pull the paper through. They either aren’t grabbing the wax paper or it’s maybe holding them too tight. The only thing I can suggest is to look inside the printer guts and see if there are a couple of wheels you can adjust. (these would move the rollers that initially grab the paper when it goes through the printer. You can set them closer or further apart). Barring that you may have to wait to do this until you get a new printer. 🙁 Mine isn’t an especially expensive printer. I think it was around $99 from Costco, so you don’t need an expensive one for it to work. ~ karen!

  155. Nora says:

    Brilliant! I have tried all sorts of expensive gels etc and they leave a halo around the image (typography) where it has been painted with the gel. I am transferring to chalk painted furniture ..THANK YOU…worked like a dream!

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome Nora. I’m happy to know it worked on chalk paint. That’s really interesting! Thanks for letting me know. ~ karen

  156. Melanie says:

    Does anyone know if this would work with a laser printer?

  157. Judi says:


    I an so sad to report this did not work for us. I have an inkjet HP printer. The ink is not depositing on the wax paper uniformly. We have taped the wax paper to a piece of printer paper..still doesn’t come out correctly.
    Any troubleshooting thoughts?
    Thank ypu,


    • Karen says:

      That’s too bad Judi. I’ve had a couple of people say they had success using freezer paper instead of wax paper. If you read through the comments there may be another couple of suggestions. The one thing I always suggest is playing around with the paper type settings. So try using a “Photo paper” setting to see if that helps, since the slippery surface of the wax paper simulates a photo paper. good luck. I hope it eventually works for you because it really is a huge amount of fun. ~ karen!

  158. Brenda says:

    Can this be done on other smooth objects that aren’t wood? I’m a city girl and we don’t have need for much wooded ideas.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brenda! Well I live in downtown in a city, and I still have things in my house that are made of wood, lol. You can apply the same idea to more contemporary pieces, but it does have to be wood because wood is porous. Anything that’s painted or laminate won’t absorb the ink. Unfinished teak for instance should work and *possibly* things like concrete although I’ve never tried. Could be a fun experiment though. ~ karen!

  159. Brenda says:

    Thank you Karen. I’m going to try this though and see how it comes out.

  160. Jenny says:

    I’m not sure what kind of fancy hoodoo you incorporate to make this work, but it most assuredly does not. After five attempts, I’m now going to try some good ol’ fashioned modpodge in an effort to rescue all this nice wood I paid for. But your projects look really nice…. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny. Sorry it didn’t work for you. But to be clear, it didn’t work for you. The technique does work. I’ve had enough comments and emails from people telling me so, plus of course it worked for me. Sans hoodoo, lo. If you let me know what you did and where the process is going wrong I might be able to guide you. ~ karen!

  161. Pingback: How to print on wood | Do-It-Yourself Idea

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  163. As a photographer, I print a lot of photos what does this technique do to the printer? Does it leave wax residue?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christine. Well I don’t print over and over again all day long on wax paper so I couldn’t say. If you plan to do that it might be a good idea to get a separate printer dedicated just for wax paper use. At only $99 or so (even less really) it’d be a good investment for you. I haven’t noticed any build up of anything, but like I say I don’t print on wax paper every day. ~ karen!

    • Pat Smith says:

      The only thing that would cause the wax paper to leave a residue is heat. Ink jet printers do not heat the paper unlike a laser printer.

  164. Pat Smith says:

    Got an idea that will help with printing on wax paper. I’ve done this with really light weight paper that wants to curl as it goes through the printer. Take two or three small pieces of scotch tape and tape the wax paper to a sheet of regular paper at the top corners and in the middle of the top. This will allow the printer to pick up both pieces of paper at the same time. You need to make sure the tape is really pressed down tightly. My printer will print 13″ x 19″ so I’m really anxious to give this a try!!

  165. Pingback: Hidey Cat Cubby Crate | Stow&TellU

  166. rich says:

    cool idea and all but I think I will have to spray a regular sheet of paper with a light coat of adhesive. I tried using wax paper and it just catches the print head and makes a terrible mess inside the printer

  167. joseph brosnan says:

    I’ve got loads of oak and ash in my shed for years begging me to make something useful with it,now that I’m retired I have loads of time to do just that looking forward to any help.many thanks joseph

  168. Bill says:

    I have an HP Deskjet 940c , I found that if you tape the wax paper on your printer paper it will work fine… Be sure to tape solid across the top, one piece on each side and a couple on the bottom, be sure to keep the wax paper FLAT ( Do Not Leave Any Wrinkles In The Wax Paper ) also I take out my color cartridge printing only the outline then fill in with what ever color I want. ….Thanks Karen

  169. Laurel says:

    Love the concept of photo transfers. I have tried, w/o a lot of success using the matte gel method, and the thought of dining this minus the mess of the gel is very appealing. My question is can this technique be used on surfaces other than wood?

    • Karen says:

      HI Laurel, I’ve only ever tried it on wood but it may work on other porous materials. There probably isn’t enough ink for transferring to fabric but it might work for other pieces of paper or maybe even cement. It’s the kind of thing you just have to play around with and experiment. ~ karen!

  170. Pingback: Art on Wood | Japanese contemporary art

  171. David says:

    For a laser printer: Since a laser printer uses heat to fuse the toner to paper, try using regular paper, put it print side down on the wood and use an iron to transfer it to the wood. I have not tried it but it should work. I have had many pages copy to the back side of a piece of paper above it when left in my car on a hot day. That said, the ink from an inkjet would soak into the wood and probably look cooler, more aged.

  172. kc says:

    Can I use parchment paper for this?

  173. Natasha says:

    Just curious…. would you be able to just iron onto the wood? May have to give it a try. Thanks.

  174. Pingback: 27 Fun Photo Display Ideas To Make Your Memories Last -Design Bump

  175. Alyssia says:

    I tried this for a gift for my brother, first few trials went ok then the final one; put the paper in the same, clicked print and no paper came out! To say my printer ate it was an understatement! it wrapped itself round and round the insides, took 4 hours of careful tweezering to get it all out!

    Such a shame too as I was really looking forward to the end result, maybe try it with a different printer! The pictures look fab so will probably give it another go in the future!

    Could I maybe stick the wax paper to a sheet of A4 paper to prevent it from getting stuck in the printer?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alyssia. Sorry to hear about your last print! And yes you can tape the waxed paper to a sheet of regular paper if it won’t run through. (I thought I wrote that in the post but it may have been in the comments). It’s also possible you could change your printer settings to photo paper. That might help. ~ karen!

  176. Wanda Crossno says:

    Really enjoyed your articals;

  177. Henrietta says:

    I knew I have had that roll of wax paper in the drawer for years for something special. I can’t wait to try this technique. I would like to know what happens if you leave the ink on the wax paper to dry before applying to the wood…. I was thinking about dampening the wood then apply design…. then the ink may not smear too much. Also; would like to know what happened on flat finish latex painted wood…… I think it would work.
    Late to the game – but hope you’ll write anyway. Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Henrietta. Yup. That’s what that wax paper is for. That and wrapping peanut butter and jam sandwiches. If you let the ink dry on the wax paper it won’t transfer because it needs to be wet when it makes contact with the wood. Then the wood absorbs it. I still haven’t tried it on painted wood so I can’t vouch for whether it works or not. I’m sure it will transfer, the problem you’ll have is the ink will just sit on top and dry. It may stay there but it will be really easy to wipe away even when it’s dry. That’s my guess anyway. And welcome to The Art of Doing Stuff! ~ karen!

  178. Pingback: 26 ideias criativas para fazer porta retrato em casa

  179. Cai Hogan says:

    Facebook page I got here from is Home Tips World.

  180. Jean says:

    Saw the link on Facebook/hometipsworld. Pretty cool…saving your site into my favorites so I can look around tomorrow! 🙂

  181. Lindy says:

    I am thinking of putting baby pictures of the grandchildren on the stairs. Not the step but the vertical part (I have no idea what that part is called). Do you think this method would work for that purpose?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linday. That’s the riser. 🙂 The only problem is that the riser is probably stained or painted which will prevent the ink from transferring properly. And if it does transfer, chances are it will just sit on top of the paint and dry, making it really easy to scratch off. Since risers get a lot of toes smashing into them that’ll be a problem. If you don’t mind experimenting and you reallyyyy want to do it, give it a try. Let the transfer dry completely and then go over it with something like Polyurethane. ~ karen!

  182. Cheryl says:

    I found this link on the facebook page called Junkyjoey. Going to try your project as soon as I can decide which image I want to transfer 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Cheryl. Practice a couple of times first on a crappy piece of wood. Just until you get the feel of it. Although I didn’t do that, I dove right in so I”m not sure why I’m telling you to do that, lol. ~ karen!

  183. Dawn says:

    DIY Projects World

  184. Karen says:

    Found this on Facebook page Home Tips World.
    I was interested in images on wood, this caught my attention because it was not the photo modpodged to the surface.
    I may try this when I come across a unique piece of wood.

  185. Bill Cowdy says:

    Cool. I was directed here by Home Tips World with Brenda Peterson Andrezjewski and 3 others. OMG you are Mag Ruffman’s daughter!!! I loved her shows, and as a home handyman, I always loved critiquing her style which I thoroughly enjoyed. I still have a treasured signed copy of “How hard can it be” in my bookshelf. I often wondered what happened to her, and whether she was still doing theatre before I found her on Facebook and began to follow along. Your mother as you are aware is a very funny lady. Please send her joy and appreciation from a big fan.

  186. Claire says:

    Came over from.FB!

  187. Deanne says:

    Posted this on my Treasured Lockets by Design Facebook page! (

    Thank you for the idea! I can’t wait to try it!

  188. Ron says:

    Came here from Facebook via Home Tips World. Love this idea, and will be doing this in my home.

  189. Rashell Betwarda says:

    Home Tip World -Facebook… 🙂

  190. Peggy Mitchell says:

    I hate to cut things out with scissors. Paper cutouts usually come out all wonky. I haven’t tried this great idea yet, but when I do, I will use my Cricket with my MTC program to cut the waxed paper to the size of regular paper…maybe an inch shorter to allow room to tape the waxed paper to a sheet of regular paper before running it through my printer. Now, all I need to do is to go root around in the shed until I find some wood!

  191. That is just incredibly clever. I even have the wax paper on hand to try. Just posted it on reddit. Those folks love this kind of stuff..Ü


  192. Kayla says:

    Hello! Great post, can’t wait to try this. Wanted to reply and say I found this link from Facebook shared by a fellow friend who shared from “Home Tips World”.

  193. Blu Zebra says:

    I was wondering if I could do this for a 4-H project. Karen, would that be okay, as long as I cite and name you?

    • Karen says:

      Sure, no problem! (as long as you don’t mean posting my entire post on your site … that I don’t allow) But if you’re just doing it/teaching the method to a bunch of 4-H kids that’s great! ~ karen!

  194. mark says:

    fantastic. A big THANKS.
    saw on facebook, ‘Home Tips World’

  195. Pingback: Learn How to Print Pictures on Wood - Creativetips.Org

  196. Sandy Rios says:

    It showed up on my wall this morning. Probably because of my farm page (I like to craft things with alpaca fleece) and you asked us to leave a comment where we saw this. I love it. Going to try it on some of my photos.

  197. Alison says:

    SO …..this popped up on facebook way way down in New Zealand.(obviously why it took a while).
    and a few of us tried it….such awesomness. Love it and your posts.

  198. Rhonda says:

    I flipped my picture using MS Paint. You can look in the “HELP” section and find out how to do it. That is what I did. I am a pet groomer and am going to try it using my LOGO for a sign hanging on the porch outside my shop door. Have already flipped the image, just have to find some wood to put it on and get some type of sealant for it.

  199. Kelsey says:

    Hi Karen!

    I think this is an awesome idea and I’ve been researching all over how to do a wood transfer, not wanting to buy all those other supplies and things I’ve never heard of either. I was wondering, when you said that dampening the wood with a sponge might make the transfer darker, is that dampening the wood before the transfer or after the transfer?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

  200. kiran raajan says:

    this printing will work in which objects or only wood?

  201. Pingback: 29 Amazing DIY Photo Displays That Will Bring Pictures To Life

  202. Robin says:

    I saw your link on Facebook. Rethink & Reuse & Recycle. By the way, I love this! Pinned it to pinterest.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Robin! I appreciate it. There’s no way for me to know which Facebook page the views have come from if someone doesn’t tell me. Last week it was a different Facebook page, this week it’s the one you mentioned. thx again. ~ karen!

  203. Shelly Ayers says:

    Great tutorial, thanks for the info. Also, wanted to let you know – got here from the Reuse & Recycle FB page:

  204. Sue Labenski says:

    O. My. Word. That’s brilliant! My brain just exploded with 100s of things that can be done using that technique! Amazing. Thank you.

  205. Clare says:

    This looks fantastic! I’ve had some experience with printing photos on canvas myself, but I’ve never tried printing on wood. Definitely a profect I’ll keep in mind for the future 🙂

  206. connie says:

    Found your link to your post on fb through The Train to Crazy

  207. Bonnie Hurlburt says:

    The Train To Crazy posted your site on FaceBook. I’m a crafter, mostly stuff for family and friends. I really love this because I have access to a lot of old wood!! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us!

  208. Stacie says:

    Facebook- So. Cal Moms Keeping it Real

  209. Karen says:

    Love your site! I looked up this technique specifically and love your directions! My question: I want to make wooden stakes with botanical print labels for my garden. Will the ink fade in the sun or is there something I can do to avoid fading? Thanks, Karen

  210. lindsey says:

    did you find any resources for doing larger prints?
    love the article, thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lindsey. The only thing I could think for you to do would be to enlarge what you’re printing but print it in 4 sections. Then you’d have to print out and transfer each piece separately. (you’d have to do them one at a time so the ink doesn’t dry out before you have a chance to transfer them to the wood) ~ karen!

  211. Rachel C. says:

    Saw the link on Shabby Chic Blessings. I’ve done this with words, now I’m going to try with a picture.

  212. Becky E says:

    Hello! Thanks for the cool tip! I saw this posted on Facebook on The Train to Crazy.

  213. Rudy says:

    I found this article via Kathleen Issing MacGuire sharing the ‘The Train to Crazy Town’ to Annie Sloan Q & A Forum on Facbook.

  214. Trish F says:

    This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing it. I found this on my FB feed here:

  215. Heather Stevens says:

    The Train To Crazy

  216. Nickie Baker says:

    This looks so fun and I can’t wait to try it!!
    I am in the middle of making a sofa table and was wondering if you thought this would work on wood that has been stained? I would love to put words on it like family, love, hope, etc… over the stain and then spray a coat of sealer over the top of the words… Have you or anyone one else on here tried that? BTW I found this link on pinterest… Thanks!! 🙂

  217. Karen says:

    I got the link from Crystal Reed on face book. I can’t wait to try this.

  218. Margarita says:

    Love the idea of being able to put photos onto wood, I found the link from Facebook, The Train to Crazy. Just wondering if you had tried it with photos of people. Thanks for sharing

  219. Chris says:

    So I absolutely love this!! It’s very hard to get the old, original boxes that have the art similar to what you’ve printed up. I remember going and seeing the old paddle boat in Whitehorse YT and the cargo area was full of these boxes!! I just about died of envy I swear lol.
    I think I’ll play with this idea and see if I can get a workable weather resistant sign for my garden.

    P.S I came from facebook and the Train to Crazy shared this link with a friend of mine.

  220. samantha says:

    Great idea! I found your page through ‘The train to crazy’ Facebook page

  221. Marg says:

    Saw on “The Train to Crazy”‘s facebook page. 🙂

  222. Brenda Ramsey says:

    Saw this on
    The Train to Crazy

  223. Sheila says:

    Shabby Chic Blessings had a link to your page. Glad she did, can’t wait to try this!

  224. Angela says:

    I love this idea….will definitely be trying it…Thanks!

  225. paulo says:

    AARTESEFAZ CERÂMICA gostei da técnica muito boa.

  226. Lise says:

    Cool. I bought the Liquitex matte gel and Mod Podge. However, I forgot to use the laser printer, and the inkjet smudged all over. Now I am sanding off that piece of wood and starting from scratch. However, I could change gears now that I have discovered your method.
    I have one piece of advice prepping your wood. You’ll want to sand it a bit, water down your wood first. Then sand with a 220 grit sandpaper. Watering the wood surface first brings up the grain, and makes the wood easier to sand, and the prepped wood looks really cool.

    • Ellen Corsini-Chappel says:

      Lise: the method I used specifically called for ink jet and not laser print, so the ink will take. Mine turned out beautifully!

  227. Lise says:

    …I clicked on your link from facebook.

  228. Ellen Corsini-Chappel says:

    My friend had posted this method, so I will give it a try! I’ve tried the matte gel method – works like a charm! beautiful vintage look! Karen, matte gel is also called “photo transfer” gel. Bought it at Michael’s.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ellen. I was just experimenting trying to find something that everyone could do from home with what they had and this method happened to turn out perfectly. I’ll only shop at Michaels when I have their 50% off coupon, lol. That place is insanely expensive. Curry’s probably has the same stuff for cheaper I bet. ~ karen!

  229. LorraineDade says:

    Can someone please tell me where I can find WAX PAPER. .Been looking everywhere

  230. LorraineDade says:

    Can anyone please tell me where I can buy WAX PAPER. ..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lorraine. Wax paper is in the grocery store in the same section as the Saran wrap (cling film), tin foil, sandwich bags, parchment paper etc. ~ karen!

  231. Jordan T. says:

    MomSpark of Facebook posted this today! What a marvelous idea for reclaimed wood! Thank you!

  232. Vickie Simmons says:

    This is a great idea, Thank you so much. I have a question that I don’t think I read and that is can this method of transfer be used on fabric? I want to print a picture I have found and transfer it to fabric to embroidery. Any one know if it will work? Thanks

  233. Kellie says:

    I cannot wait to try this! Thank you! (Found it on Pinterest :))

    • Karen says:

      omg it’s SO much fun Kellie. I just did a little wood sign with my website logo on it and it turned out perfectly. I think success depends in part by your printer. Mine is just cheap but it does a great job. (HP Deskjet 3050) ~ karen!

  234. veronica says:


  235. Blu Zebra says:

    If I wanted to do this on a cutting board that I’ve sanded the finishing off of, should I put anything other than clear mineral oil finishing on it to preserve the ink?

  236. Kerri-Lee says:

    Can you stain the piece of wood after you transfer a print (for example a quote) onto to it?

  237. papertool says:

    i tried out on a piece of wood and it worked perfectly the very first time :)))) so cooooooooooool.
    now i have a question. i would like to transfer a black and white foto onto canvas (already mounted). i “painted” it with gesso. if i spray it first with a little water, the image will “flow away”, if i don’t, the transfer will not hold. do you know if i just make a mistake or if this tutorial with the baking paper will just not work on canvas? (i saw your printing on fabric but this doesn’t help me because my copy will be 6 pages big at the end). also the trick with modge pod is not a solution for me because i need a real dark black color copy, filled completely out. thank you for our repyl if you have any idea.

  238. Pingback: How To Print On Wood (Waxed Paper Image Transfer) - Amazing Interior Design

  239. Janus says:

    Hi! Can I check if I have to paste the sheet of wax paper immediately after it is printed?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janus. Do you mean do you have to transfer the image right away after printing it? You do. You need to print on the wax paper and then transfer it right away before the ink dries. Good luck! ~ karen

  240. Krissie says:

    This is so great! I did this on acrylic painted wood. It was a serving tray that I had bought unfinished and did a beige on gray crackle finish on it, except for the middle where I put a big barn star on top of just flat beige (I was scared to crackle it for fear it would mess up the transfer from the wax paper) using this technique! It does smear just a little on the painted surface but it looked weathered and old and like it was supposed to be like that. My little craft project came out beautifully, and my friends all want me to make them something similar 😀 THANK YOU!

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Krissie! Glad to hear it works on flat painted wood. One note … I thought you wrote you put a “big porn star” on top of the flat beige, lol. Don’t worry. I didn’t think that for long, just until I reread it. ~ karen!

  241. Pingback: 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life | MVV

  242. Pingback: Get Creative with Your Printer and Wax Paper - PinTriedIt

  243. Pingback: Learn How to Print Pictures on Wood

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  245. Jane Marshall says:

    All this sounds very interesting, but do you know I can’t seem to find waxed paper in any of our food stores now, which is where it always used to be sold. Jane, Perth, Western Australia.

  246. Pingback: 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life - Life Style News - Life Style News

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  248. I just saw this featured on The Homestead Survival. Pinned it! Doing it! Appreciate the tutorial!

  249. Victoria says:

    Will this work with a laser printer? What a great idea.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with a laser printer. Laser printers burn the image into the paper. Inkjet printers spray ink onto the paper (this is what makes you able to transfer it). sorry! ~ karen!

  250. Bubba Mustafa says:

    Damn cool!
    Wish I could do it. Only have laser printers here and would never send wax paper through. (though parchment paper might work)

  251. Pingback: Transfert d’images sur bois à l’aide d’une imprimante | Je pinne, tu pinnes, nous testons.

  252. Pingback: DIY Print on Wood | DIY for All

  253. Sophia says:

    Um…this didn’t work at all. I tired many times, even backing the wax paper up with regular paper, but the printer would not accept it, let alone have it place well on the wooden board.

    • Karen says:

      That’s your printer Sophia. My particular printer is an HP Deskjet 3050 and it works great. I’d suggest 2 things. Change your printer setting to “photo paper” or something similar before trying to run the waxed paper through, and as you’re running it through make sure you’re helping to feed it through with your hands. ~ karen!

  254. Vivian Fellows says:

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the post on transfer with wax paper. Genius!
    Keep posting..Vivian

  255. Pingback: 27 foto original Display ideias que trarão suas memórias para a vida | Notícias Interessantes Buzz

  256. Emma says:

    Would greaseproof paper work for this?

    • Karen says:

      You know what? I have no idea Emma, lol. As long as it’s a slightly slippery surface the ink can’t penetrate there’s a chance it will work. ~ karen!

  257. Pingback: 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life | Photography Tips

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  261. t says:

    Will this work with a laser printer too? I’.m guessing the ink is, of course, a very important part.

  262. Pingback: Cómo transferir imágenes sobre superficies de madera | La Bioguía

  263. Pingback: 30 Creative DIY Projects You Can Make Money Off - DIY All in One

  264. Linda Tabone says:

    My name is Linda and I live in Australia. try getting an A4 sticker and peal of the back. Stick your freezer paper or wax paper on the A4 sticker and then put it through the printer that stops it rolling up inside your printer. it also works with material stuck to the sticker and you can print photos on the material.

  265. Paula Campbell says:

    Try using freezer paper. That’s What I use. It has a paper side and a waxed side. Once you finish with your image take a damp paper towel, wipe off the image and reuse. It’s cheap too, less than $5. I love it!

  266. Pingback: 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life | ISmartNetwork

  267. Pingback: How to Print Pictures on Wood - DIY All in One

  268. Danielle says:

    **** Here is a great question for everyone: will the ink graphic stay on for outdoor use or is there any tips for sealing the ink in the wood? I use a can of top coat spray for the wooded animals I make/paint to seal the paint. Wondering what tips there are… Because I would like to make a wooded sign saying welcome to my garden. Thanks.

  269. Pingback: EAST SIDE GIRLS | from amber

  270. Pingback: cute ideas » Blog Archive » How To Print On Wood

  271. Donald says:

    hi Karen for some reason only part of the image comes out good on the wax paper was wondering what I could be doing wrong. I love the idea and works well but some spots the ink is messed up coming out of the printer I try and guide it but doesn’t help any.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donald. I’m sure you aren’t doing anything wrong. However your printer might be. 🙂 The only thing I can think is that the roller isn’t feeding the page through evenly. Try to change the paper setting for the printer. Make it for a thicker paper like photo paper. Actually what makes more sense it to try setting it to a thinner paper now that I think of it. What the hell. Try both. ~ karen!

  272. brooke says:

    Could you use parchment paper instead of wax paper?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brooke! You can try but I’m not sure it will work. It’s the wax on the wax paper that prevents any of the ink from absorbing into the paper, allowing you to transfer it instead to the wood. ~ karen!

  273. Julie says:


    This works … not that I doubted you or anything, but it just seems so amazing and magical.

    I just started working on some drawing and wanted to use it to upcycle some furniture, and this seems like it will be the perfect way to get my line drawings transferred. I did use parchment paper because all I had were the pre-cut sheets of waxed paper, and * WARNING * they do NOT work in the printer. Almost lost one there.

    p.s. I know I’m a year late in replying to this, but I couldn’t help myself. There was no one else here to tell but the dog, and she was all distracted by the landscaper guys in the yard and wouldn’t listen to me.

  274. Mary Ann says:

    Instead of using wax paper, I’m going to try it using a transparency. My memory is vague but 15 or 20 years ago I remember making my own rub-offs using the transparency material that you use with an overhead projector. There are different types of transparencies. If you use the smooth kind, I would think it would just be like using wax paper only the material would be more sturdy. If you use the kind of transparencies where there is a rough side and a smooth side, then the rough side could be printed and left to dry. After it dries, then you could use it just like the rub-offs that you buy in craft stores. …just throwing out the thought. I’m going to try it and see if my idea actually works.

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  277. Frances says:

    **Full confession- I haven’t read through all of the comments so if someone already mentioned this, please forgive me! **

    I’ve been SO excited to try this out and I finally found a reason for it today! I did a “practice” run and it worked perfectly but every attempt after was a fail. My stinkin’ printer wouldn’t catch the wax paper 🙁 I decided to try FREEZER PAPER as it is thicker and it worked like a charm. You just have to remember to print on the wax side, not the paper side.

    I am so excited about using this trick on many projects to come. Thank you so much for sharing!!! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Glad the freezer paper worked for you Frances! It is a bit stiffer. I find myself using this technique allll the time for different little things. Like, I made a contraption for screen printing tee shirts and I added a little block of wood for a handle, and used this technique to put my website logo on the handle. It’s just a great little trick! ~ karen

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  279. Great method and tutorial, but a few ways to improve on it. The first definitely makes it easier, the second I’m still playing with, but is an idea to try to make it clearer.
    1 – Instead of cutting a piece of wax paper to the size of printer paper, cut one that’s slightly smaller than the paper, and tape the was paper to the printer paper. This avoids any printer loading issue, and also makes the wax paper less likely to bend or rip while pressing it to the wood.
    2 – I’m trying to use different materials to improve the transfer. Plastic was my first idea – so I cut up a ziplock bag and used that. Next I tried just putting packing tape on a piece of paper as the transfer material. Both methods worked well, but I’m not sure which is best yet.

    Thanks for the tutorial, and good luck with these extra tips.

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  281. Nicole says:

    Great DIY idea Karen. After the image is transferred to the wood, can you paint over the ink once its dry? Then add the protective finish?

  282. Wendy Anderson says:

    I tried this and wax paper kept jamming. Then I just glued wax paper to regular paper and fed through printer. This worked like a charm. But then you do have to be careful of which side you print on and you can’t see the image when transferring. All in all, it was still a successful endeavor!

  283. Shelby says:

    Hi ! I love this ! I’ve been looking for a diy technique for iron on Tshirt transfers ? Do you think this could work with something like that ?

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  285. Phebe says:

    I have recently become obsessed with refinishing wood. Ie…. Picture frames, sewing tables, shelves, and now a garden bench. I can’t wait ti try this! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  286. Rikki says:

    Don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet..but if you’re having trouble getting your waxed paper to go through your printer, I solved it by gluing it (using rubber cement) to a sheet of copy paper and then feeding it into the printer so the image would print on the wax paper. This also helps to prevent wrinkles and gives you just a little bit more sturdiness needed when handling the printed image.

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  288. Liliana Wells says:

    Yes, I have a “printer, a roll of waxed paper and a dream”. But this does not work for me. I did it on paper first to see that it was properly positioned on the page. Then I asked my husband’s, who is more technical than I am, also tried it three times. We first put the wax paper in the paper tray. Then we put it on top where we can feed one page at a time. There is a faint image on the wax paper, barely visible. We tried printing it on paper again to be sure the printer was not damaged. Now the image is very faint. My husband thinks the print heads are now damaged. The first image on paper had been sharp. Any ideas to try? Thanks

  289. honeymoon says:

    very nice and creative..

  290. Ahmed hassan says:

    It’s a great smart idea I like it so much
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us

  291. lynze says:

    Do you think this method would work for a photo on sheetrock with a somewhat smooth texture? I’m trying to find ideas to decorate a wall that needs to be flat so a slider barn style door can open over it.

  292. Nikki says:

    What kind of wood sealer did you use? I know it needs to be food safe – is there one that works best?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nikki. I didn’t use a wood sealer. You only need one if you’re going to be using it outdoors or it’s something that will get a lot of wear like the handle of a charcuterie board or something. There isn’t a wood sealer that’s food safe. The one thing you could try is a board butter, which is a mixture of mineral oil and melted beewax to protect it. I’d just worry that the print would smear. I’d definitely leave it to dry for a couple of weeks even before trying it. And I’d test it first before doing it on my finished product. ~ karen!

  293. Jacqueline says:

    Do you have any idea if using this method would work on fabric?

    • Karen says:

      If you mean something like a tee shirt Jacqueline, then I’d have to say no. However, all fun is not lost. It’s really easy to screen print at home. The setup takes longer but you can get absolutely professional quality prints. Here’s my tutorial on that. ~ karen!

  294. Emily B says:

    This is amazing and I adore you more than a stranger should. I love this idea as-is but I’m also thinking this would work great for transferring a pattern for wood-burning! I have 4 days to find out!

    • Karen says:

      Oh you’re right! It would be great for transferring a pattern. Never even thought of that. Also … I’m actually a bit worried you don’t adore me enough. What can I do to fix that? ~ karen!

  295. Kendy says:

    could you use this technique to transfer a picture to canvas?

    • Karen says:

      It’s possible Kendy but it might come out muddy. The other thing you can do is an iron on transfer for canvas, or if the canvas and your printer is cooperative (and small enough) you could try this method. ~ karen!

  296. JulieA.M. says:

    I read through tons of comments and questions, but didn’t see the answer to one I have, so forgive me if this was asked and answered. Is the ink transfer permanent or is a process needed to make it so? Thanks so much for this incredible post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie! It’s definitely permanent but if you’re going to put it outside it would need to be treated with some sort of polyurethane afterwards once it’s really, REALLY dry. I’ve had my seed box that I used this technique on for 2 years now and it still looks the way it did to begin with. I keep it inside so I didn’t out any sort of protective coating on it. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

  297. Cindy says:

    This sounds like a worthy project. Thank you. I recently did a similar thing with Mod Podge. (Mod Podge looks like white glue and may be the same. When I went to purchase more, I found that it is available in a photo transfer specialty bottle. The regular kind worked fine and costs less.) Print any photo onto plain copy paper – reverse it if necessary. I think black and white looks especially nice on wood. Paint a board with one thin even coat of Mod Podge then place your print with the print side down being careful not to leave bubbles or to smear the ink. Let it dry completely then with a wet sponge, scrub off the paper. You will love the result. I really like photos of people on light colored wood. Be sure not to have dark knot holes over a face or anything. My printer is an HP ink jet Officejet 6500A. I haven’t tried this with a laser printer yet.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy! It’s a RIDICULOUS amount of fun. The day I did it, I was actually planning on doing something more similar to what you do but didn’t want to go out to have to buy anything special. This technique let’s you do it with 2 things most people have around the house anyway. Waxed paper and a printer. But the way you’re talking about works great too. ~ karen!

  298. This is very cool, thank you for sharing this amazin DIY!!
    Check as well my Product Designs here:

  299. Saqiya Maseyaha says:

    you guys are awesome,beayouteaful.
    I have a question?
    when we complete our project and
    want to share with you,what’s the right procedure,
    also wants to register ourselves with handimania.

  300. Diego says:

    I can do this in plastics or only can be made in wood?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diego. It actually has to be wood because it needs something for the ink to soak into. With plastic it would just sit on top. Even if it did dry there and didn’t smudge when you transferred it, it would scratch off really easily. ~ karen!

  301. Randy says:

    You refer to John Mellenkamp in your opening line.

  302. Abbi says:

    Thisis so cool! Wondering if anyone has tried something similar with glass… like in picture frames?

  303. Liam Dinger says:


    This requires a bit of skill but works like a charm. Definitely practice a few times on a sample or scrap to get the hang of lining up the registration marks.

    1- Create registration marks at all 4 corners of your image. Make them outside of your image & I’d suggest leaving at least an inch or so border around the image. That way you can avoid pressing the marks onto the board or sand them away later without getting too close to your image.

    2- Print a handful of copies on wax paper depending on how dark/vibrant you want the colors to be.

    3- Dampen the wood like several other posts have suggested, but ONLY FOR THE FIRST COPY. Then dry the image with a hair dryer to make sure the ink has fully cured on the first copy.

    4- Line up your next copy using the registration marks & apply it exactly on top of the first one.

    5- Repeat step 4 until you get the color density you’re going for.

    ** If you screw up applying extra copies & the image is ruined, dry the ink as fast as possible so it doesn’t seep down too far into the wood. Then sand out the bad image & try the process again.

    If you apply at least 3 copies on top of each other, the colors will pop but still leave that vintage look. This makes the image more visible & looks much better from a distance if you’re hanging it on a wall or on a high shelf.

  304. Deborah says:

    Hi is wax paper the same as greaseproof, I love this idea can’t wait to try it.

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. Well, I’m not sure Deborah, lol. I’m guessing it is if greaseproof paper is what you would have wrapped a sandwich in. Similar to freezer paper but with wax on both sides. ~ karen!

  305. Andrew says:

    Thanks you for such interesting tutorial!!!

  306. Vandigo says:

    Okay, but like, using this to put printed guides for detailed engraving work onto the wood so you don’t have to hand-draw all of that on with a pencil first. . . That way you can make the design digitally and work from there.

  307. Elizabeth says:

    DANG it all – we just replaced our broken inkjet with a monotone lazer jet (because we NEVER printed in colour before). Now I want to go out and buy an inkjet!

  308. Laura says:

    I love this idea so much. Would an image on a wood cutting board eventually fade?

  309. Jood Osborn says:

    Does this only work transferring to wood or can I do it to transfer onto paper…like in a mixed media journal?


  310. Ken McDonnell says:

    A very interesting process which I am yet to try; great decorative possibilities. While I haven’t read all the comments and replies I have picked-up on the enquiries about using the process on other media. One that should accept the ink admirably would be untreated veg-tanned leather; although where construction is concerned all other processes such as sizing, edging, stitch-marking and awling should be done first to protect the image as much as possible, prior to finishing. I have a project next month that will be perfect for the technique, so I will make two – one with a conventionally carved decoration and one with a photo-transfer decoration and give the client the choice. I will report in due course.

  311. Roni says:

    My Dear Karen, this is a genius way of transferring to wood. I will give this a shot in due time. Have an brand new HP Printer (bought for my Son, hooked it up then he Never used it. Sitting for 3 years) This New Old Printer was headed out the door with the trash. Now I will have to rescue it, probably buy new ink…and play play play with this technique. Don’t want to try my Canon just in case it would mess it up. I have to say you are amazing and quite admirable for staying with this post for a couple years. I did read nearly every post….I didn’t want to miss a thing…LOL I was going to print it out…until it said 115 pages…Oh no not doing that at all…so bookmarked it to find it again. BTW found you on Pinterest and not Facebook. And I won’t share you on FB… as that can get out of hand. When I get the printer working, and try this…I will come back and let you know how it all worked for me…Thank you for your great inspiration and simple instructions. I got it…now just to get it tried…LOL

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Roni. Yes indeed it is Fun. F.U.N. I hope your printer works for it. If it’s an old HP it should … that’s what mine is. 🙂 And it hasn’t harmed my printer at all. Keep me updated. ~ karen!

  312. Sara says:

    Tried and failed…wax paper caught in printer, not fun! Any other suggestions? Email me please.

  313. Sonia says:

    Do you need to seal it? Would modge podge work for that. Sorry if it’s a silly question. Just looking for new things to do.

  314. Tara Smith says:

    Out of all the tutorials I have seen about transferring prints to wood this is by far my favorite! This is an example of one of the few tutorials that actually is easy as 1-2-3 and actually use house hold items. A lot of these types of tutorials I have seen needed modge podge and other random things that no one simply has “lying around”

    My only qualm about this method is that since we are printing it on wax paper, the colors can only be so bright- I know this is a general happening when printing on to wood however the wax paper seems like it retains the least amount of color. I will definitely use this method when I want a more vintage look. Ive been trying out various tutorials to get the colors super vibrant and still haven’t found one. I got recommended this website that does it for you and the images come out extremely bright and clear, however I want to create something 100% handmade. However, if I can’t figure it out I might just use this site and give up on my idea of being DIY-er because I can’t really beat how clear these look. If anyone wants to check it out here is the link, also if anyone was able to get a image close to how these look please let me know! Here is the link to the site: )

  315. Bee says:

    Am I missing something or is “The Graphics Fairy” website a subscription only site where you must pay either monthly or yearly to have access to any graphics? That is as far as I got on the website. Might you have other good copyright free website referrals?? Cheers!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bee. No, there’s no subscription needed to get access to the majority of her graphics. I noticed today that she does have a premium service as well, and a pop up asking if you’d like to subscribe to her site, but most graphics are free. ~ karen!

      • Bee says:

        Thanks Karen, will look-just kept getting hit with the page to sign up for a membership no matter what i tried searching. I had one other q if you don’t mind. I tried reading thru all q&a’s above, hope I didn’t miss this but I was wondering if there can be a wait period from print to transfer or does it need been done right away following the print out to work. I assume if you wait and the ink dries more, the transfer might not work as well? Unless you maybe do the warm water on the wood thing, er? Also, I have a lot of thin boards laying around that seems to be less porous on one side (smooth with shiny feel). Thinkin they may be made of a fake wood or plastic materials. And have wood (maybe shelving) pieces that definitely have some sort of clear finish on them. Can it work on these or do I need do the stripping thing mentioned above? Thanks again!!

  316. mary says:

    any recommendations for me? the wax paper keeps jamming in my printer, i have tried everything

  317. Lorraine says:

    Will it work with HP Laser Jet PRINTER ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lorraine! I’m afraid not. A laser jet printer burns the printing onto the paper which won’t work. An ink jet sprays ink, which when wet can then be transferred to the wood, which is why only an ink jet printer will work. ~ karen!

  318. Caroline says:

    I’d like to transfer something to a cutting board and then seal it with something food-safe so it would still be functional. Does this seem like a feasible idea? Would the transfer work on finished wood (i.e. – store bought wood cutting board)?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caroline. A store bought cutting board wouldn’t actually have a finish on it other than a food grade oil like mineral oil. There isn’t anything you can really put over it that’s food safe BUT if you put the design on a part of the board that won’t be used or cutting. Close to the edge for instance. You might be able to get away with putting a thin coat of polyurethane over the design. You’d have to wait until the ink had set and was very dry though (a couple of days probably). And always do a test run on something else first to make sure there isn’t going to be any bleeding or running of anything. 🙂 ~ karen!

  319. Richard Matthewson says:

    can you not iron off prints from a laser printer? I don’t have one so could someone else try it? Not to mention a great use of the office printer.( like they need it anyways) hot iron over grease proofed paper( i think this is to save the sole of the iron) use normal paper in the printer. again reversed image and rub it all over the paper.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Richard. No, I’m afraid you can’t use a laser printer for this because a laser printer uses powder and heat to burn the image onto paper, while an inkjet printer (ink) uses ink that’s wet and can be transferred. 🙂 ~ karen!

  320. anne rutherford says:

    I just had to subscribe.It’s the first time I’ve seen your blog and I am soooo impressed. i am really looking forward to your emails.impressive also are the many comments.I had to press the arrow on my laptop so I didn’t take too long getting to 2016.You are amazing.Thanks.Anne

  321. Michelle says:

    Hi Karen,

    I tried reading through your comments, but gracious there were just too many of them. Hopefully this question hasn’t been asked and answered repeatedly.

    Have you tried this method using freezer paper with an iron (no steam setting)? I have seen this method used on fabrics and have seen this method used on wood using t-shirt transfer paper. I wondered if the ink would penetrate the wood and perhaps look a little bolder and brighter this way?

    I am so eager to try this. This could change my walls and I have the supplies…
    I’m just hoping I can find a way to make the transfer bolder.

    I look forward to delving into your blog more.


    • Karen says:

      I haven’t tried it Michelle, but if you have all the materials give it a shot! I find the colours you’re using and the kind of wood you’re using makes a big difference in terms of how dark the print comes out. The smoother the wood, the brighter/darker the print looks because there’s literally more wood for the ink to absorb into. If the wood is rough, there are a lot of ridges so you lose a lot of the brightness and detail. I’ve done black on very smooth wood for instance and it comes out perfectly, as if I’d stamped the wood with ink. 🙂 If you give the other methods a shot let me know how it goes! ~ karen

  322. Sandy says:

    Definitely worth trying. I used whatever I found around the house and was very easy to do! The most time it took was looking up quotes and figuring out what types of font I wanted to use. Thanks much!!

  323. Sandy says:

    Here’s the result…

  324. Shelagh Ryan says:

    Hi Karen,

    Just stumbled across your site…love this idea. I recently found a piece of driftwood that is very smooth but curved and as its the only one of its kind I don’t want to ruin it….any suggestions on how to transfer onto a curved surface? I have an HP Photosmart 7500 and am open to using wax paper or freezer paper. I’m planning on doing some dry (wet) runs on flat pieces first but not sure that whatever I learn will work on the rounded surface of the driftwood.
    Think about a flat piece of paper lying on your desk. If you push from both sides of the paper towards the centre then the paper will rise away from the desk in the middle…that’s what my driftwood looks like…oh dear…not sure that really helped visualize the shape?

  325. Amy says:

    Hi! I’m thinking of making something similar for my sister-in-law for Christmas. My question is does it print okay on the waxed paper if I want to use a white for the font color?

  326. Lillian says:

    So if i were to try to do this on a wood cutting board, i wouldn’t be able to use it as a cutting board anymore right? It’s purely decoration?

  327. Tay says:

    My mind is blow, this is awesome!

  328. Lindsay says:

    Hi Karen!
    Thanks for the great idea! I would like to do this on a cutting board I am making. I’m going to be putting mineral oil on the board – do you think it would be best to put the mineral oil on before or after transferring the ink?
    Thank you!

  329. Jane says:

    What is wax paper I am in France is it the stuff you use for baking cakes ! Am I stupid !!

    • Karen says:

      Wax paper it literally paper that has a light wax coating on it so when you wrap stuff in it it stays fresh. Not parchment paper. More like freezer paper. ~ karen!

  330. YW says:

    Hi! I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like a great idea! Just a question…if used as a cutting board will sealing it protect the food from the ink?

  331. Anika says:

    Thanks for sharing the technique! You just made my project a whole lot easier!!

  332. John says:

    Awesome idea. I love to try these on brother’s wedding. Let’s see, how exciting it would be at first place.

  333. Karen Oswald says:

    GREAT IDEA! Can’t wait to try it.

    If your printer mangles the waxed paper, cut the waxed paper a little smaller than regular sized printer paper and tape the waxed paper to the printer paper. It should go through the printer OK. Then remove the tape and remove the waxed paper from the printer paper.

  334. Dick Casper says:

    Hi,I collect old beer crates.Some of which have a very faded image,I want to restore what image is on the crate and am not talented enough to freehand over the existing lettering.What can you suggest is the best way possible to transfer or transpose these images bact to a readable condition,Thanks for your time.
    Dick Casper

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dick, the best thing for you to do is to use this technique (it will work well because the colours won’t be too bright and stark which would look out of place on an old crate. I’d google images of beer crates to see if you can find something that matches. If you find a good image of a crate with the right lettering you may have to have someone Photoshop away the actual crate, just leaving the text. You’d then reverse the text (like I tell you to in the post) and print it on your crate. It could be a challenge but doable. ~ karen!

  335. Dick Casper says:

    Thank you so much for your help.

  336. BummedAboutJamming says:

    Hi I thought this would be a great idea to label my cutting boards with veggies, bread, meat, etc., but the wax paper keeps getting jammed in my HP Officejet Pro 8610 printer. Any suggestions?

  337. Steven Brooks says:

    Hi to all,
    We live in Whyalla in South Australia….
    Iam having trouble finding Reynolds Wax Paper….
    Is there any other paper I could use…. Freezer etc..
    I hope some one out there help me…
    Steven from Down Under…..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Steve … any paper with a waxy coating should work. So freezer paper, but using the inside (waxy part) to print on. Give it a shot. ~ karen!

  338. sue guarascio says:

    I absolutely love this wax paper project can’t wait to try it myself thank you for sharing.

  339. Edward says:

    Wow! Mind blown! Such an easy technique!!! It looks cool too.. But is there any trick to make the image appear a bit darker on the wood?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Edward. Not that I know of, other than using images that have a lot of colour in them and perhaps printing at a higher DPI if possible. The more ink on the waxed paper, the more in will transfer to the wood. 🙂 ~ karen!

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