Transfer your favorite photos to wood and add fun color! These fun pieces of art are easy to make with just a few special product. A big thanks to DecoArt for sponsoring this post! This post includes affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure policy here.
Have you seen #plantsonpink on instagram? Ah! I just love it. What is it about plants + pink backgrounds that is just so great? I wanted to try to recreate that look in this art project. Photo transfer is such a fun technique, and I added a little twist with some color and pattern.
This project may look complicated, but it’s really easy to make with just a few special products. DecoArt has a new mixed media line that includes everything you need to make super cool mixed media art pieces – fluid acrylics, misters, gessoes, mediums, varnishes, and more. Guys. This stuff is fun. You can find all these fun products at Joann, online or in stores.
Want to learn how to make your own #plantsonpink photo transfer piece? Let’s do this!
- 12″ x 12″ piece of plywood
- DecoArt Media Matte Medium
- DecoArt Media Tinting Base
- DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish
- DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Naphthol Red Light, Primary Magenta, Quinacridone Magenta, Hansa Yellow Light, and Cobalt Turquoise Hue
- Images printed on regular copy paper
The very first thing you need to do is pick the image you want to transfer to your piece. I found some cacti images online, and then removed the backgrounds and made them black and white (using the maximum white setting) in photoshop. Finally, I printed them out as big as I could on regular copy paper.
The next thing to do is paint cover the cactus image using opaque paint. If you look at the bottle of each of the fluid acrylics, you will see that they have different levels of opacity – transparent, semi-transparent, or opaque.
The good news is that even if you want an opaque look and you have a transparent color, these acrylics are highly pigmented, which means they mix well with the bases and mediums to give you whatever look you are going for without too much dilution. To get an opaque yellow color, I just mixed a bit of my Hansa Yellow Light fluid acrylic with the white tinting base, which is opaque. Easy Peasy. Then I painted some designs onto the cacti – stripes on one and a column of triangles on the other. When the image is transferred, these designs will show through the white and gray parts of the image. Fun, right?
When the yellow designs had dried, I mixed some Cobalt Turquoise Hue into my yellow paint to create a pretty green and used that to paint over the rest of the cacti. Now I am wishing I had not painted over the spines of the barrel cactus, but oh well. Live and learn, right? You will need to do two or three coats to get full coverage.
Once that has completely dried, cover the paper with a thin layer of the matte medium. (Next time around I will trim the paper closer to the image. Do as I say, not as I do, okay?)
While that dries, it’s time to prep our wooden canvas. I wanted to apply a transparent wash of pink color to the wood so the wood grain would still shine through. The matte medium is perfect for mixing with the fluid acrylics to make them more transparent. Remember, the fluid acrylics are super pigmented, so just a drop goes a long way. I mixed just one drop of Naphthol Red Light into some matte medium and gave each board one coat.
Then I added a bit more color to the outsides of the board with a mix of matte medium and just a drop of Primary Magenta fluid acrylic.
When both the wooden canvases and printed images are dry, it’s time to do the photo transfer! Start by covering the board with another thin layer of matte medium. While it is still wet, apply the print face down onto the matte medium. Use your fingers to press the paper down, and then use a brayer to firmly lay it down and remove any bubbles.
Now your canvases need to sit overnight. The next morning, it’s magic time! Time to remove that paper and reveal your amazing photo transfer!
And how do we make this magic happen? All you need is a sponge and some water. Start by wetting the paper and allowing the water to soak into the paper for about 30 seconds. Then just use the sponge to gently rub the paper off.
Ta-Daaaaaa! So cool, right? It will take a bit of time to remove all of the paper. When it dries you will be able to see better where any paper remains. Just go ahead and wet the paper and keep rubbing it off.
When I got all of the paper off, I decided to add a bit more color around the outside of my canvases. This time I used just a drop of the Quinacridone Magenta mixed with matte medium.
When that final coat has dried, it’s time to seal the whole thing with Ultra-Matte Varnish – this stuff is super awesome, guys. It has zero shine to it. None. Just give the entire canvas one thin layer and it will be all sealed and finished.
All done and ready to display!
You can use picture hanging strips to hang them on the wall or just prop them up on a picture ledge.
This was such a fun art project! I really enjoyed working with these cool products – there are just SO many possibilities!
What do you think? Want to make your own photo transfer piece? What type of image would you use?
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