Last year, I made some cute photo cubes for Christmas, with all the grandkids on it. It made a great gift and it was an affordable DIY Christmas gifts project that required very little skill. PERFECT for me! This year, I wanted to spruce up my project from last year, where I used Mod Podge to affix the photos to a wood cube, to actually transferring the photo to the wood itself. It is a multi-step project that requires a bit of time to dry between steps, but it’s easy peasy and cute as can be! These are super cute gifts that can be created in an afternoon and for less than $20. This includes $5-$10 for the Mod Podge, the supplies (found at the Dollar Tree) and the wood. Easy, peasy!
First, I’ll start with last year’s project. These are the instructions for the photo cube, using regular Mod Podge:
- Wood Cube or an 8 foot 4x4 post, cut into 4 inch cubes. (You could opt for 6 inch, if you have portrait images, or if you want taller cubes.)
- Mod Podge Gloss or Matte---Your choice! I chose Gloss, but it's a matter of preference
- Paint brushes---I used 2 inch brushes. I bought them in a package for $1 at the Dollar Tree
- 5 4x6 Photos that can be cut down to fit the cube
- Get a cube. I bought an 8 foot 4x4 post at Home Depot. I asked them to cut it into 4 inches cubes. I've seen the cubes at Hobby Lobby, but they are about $5 a piece and I bought one post that made several cubes for about $10.
- Sand the surface. Once I had my cubes cut, hubby sanded the rough sides and edges so they looked nice. Basically, I prepped it to paint.
- Paint the finished edges. I used a brown, rustic looking paint. I used Rust-oleum's all surfaces paint, but you could use any color or brand. I chose paint over stain, just because I'm lazy and didn't want to sand and re-stain for the right finish. Painting worked well-enough, but if you're feeling frisky, knock yourself out with stain.
- Apply a second coat of paint. Reapply a second or third coat of paint for an even finish.
- Cut the photos to the size you want for the cube. I used photos that would fit nicely on the cube and would fit across the width of the cube.
- Paint with Mod Podge. After the paint has dried completely, use Mod Podge and paint the entire back of the photo. Paint a nice layer of Mod Podge onto the side of the cube you're working with.
- Rinse, repeat. (Just kidding about the rinse.) Once the first photo has dried, repeat the steps in number 6 until all sides are done. Make sure to let each side dry completely before laying it face down.
- Rinse, repeat. When all sides are dried, apply another coat of Mod Podge to fully secure your images down.
For Mod Podge Photo Transfer to Wood project:
- Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
- Wood cube or Wood Surface to transfer photo
- Sponge brush to spread Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
- Photocopy of a photo from a dry toner type copier/laser printer
- Find whatever piece of wood you want to transfer your image to: cube, plague, or whatever. You won't need to sand the surface to prepare it.
- Photo copy a photo with a laser printer. Most home office printers are ink jet printers, NOT laser printers. I went down to our local Staples and had them print a color copy of my image. As long as it is a laser photocopy, it will work. You will need this photocopy, as actual photos will not turn out. (If you need your image to turn out exactly like the photo, ask them to do a mirrored copy. Otherwise, if there is any print on the image, it'll come out reversed in the photocopy.)
- Paint a layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium on the FRONT of your photocopied image. You can use a squeegee, but you want a medium thick layer, spread evenly.
- Paint a layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium on the surface you want to transfer the image to.
- Lay the image FACE Down on surface you want to transfer the image to.
- Using a credit card or something similar, gently smooth out the image onto the surface. Make sure to get out any bubbles or globs underneath. Wipe the excess from the edges.
- Wait at least 4 hours, until it is completely dry.
- Using a damp cloth, rub the paper off of the wood surface. The paper should begin to peel off and your image should begin to emerge.
- Let the surface dry and repeat step 8, until all the paper is removed from the surface.
- Add a layer of Polyurethane, clear coat, or layer of Mod Podge to set the image.
Tada! You’re done!