Easy Image Transfer to Wood ( & DIY Vintage Crate )

Love vintage crates? How about making your own for free, using an easy image transfer to wood method?

Here’s part 2 of the 3-part tutorial on how to make free wooden crates from discarded pallets, add beautiful designs to them using an easy image transfer to wood method, and finish them with a 2-ingredient  luscious non-toxic furniture wax / DIY natural wood finish.

Transfer Image To Wood Easily!| A Piece Of rainbow

This image transfer to wood method is super easy, and fun! However, I will share some fabulous failures that I encountered, so you can get a more consistent result with this image transfer technique.

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

Here’s Part 1: How to make your own wood crates from pallet wood or other wood.

step one of image transfer to wood crate: wipe with damp cloth

Let’s start with these wooden crates we made in the previous tutorial.

Materials and tools for image transfer to wood:

( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )

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(Update: I made a video tutorial of this image transfer technique and these printed wood wall art you can check out here! )

Detailed tutorial on how to transfer image to wood easily and make beautiful, one-of-a-kind printed wood wall art, home decor or gifts! - A Piece Of Rainbow

Step 1: prepare and print images onto wax paper.

I made some collage sheets of stamps, images and phrases used on these wood crates so you can make your own sets too. You can download them at the end!

First using photoshop or gimp,  size and  arrange the images and words you want on the crate onto a letter size file. IMPORTANT: flip the images and words – remember they are going to be transferred (mirrored)!

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Fold and tape one end of  the wax paper onto a piece of regular 8.5″x11″ paper, this will be the end that first go through the printer. Leave the rest of the paper loose. Print your image so the ink goes on the wax paper

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. Be very careful not to touch the printed surface. Can you see the smudge I made on the letters ‘juicy’?

Step 2:  image transfer to wood.

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Dip one piece of cloth in water, and wet the surface of the pallet wood crates you are about to print on, then use the dry piece to absorb the water a little.

vintage orange illustration image transfer to wood

The goal is to get the wood to absorb the ink, but if the wood is too wet, the ink would be runny. Test on a piece of wood to get a feel of how wet/dry the wood should be.

Next cut and lay a piece of the design onto the wood surface, once it’s on there, do not move it anymore, hold it down and use the soft pad to rub the wax paper like you would make a print, and you will be delighted to see how beautifully the image got transferred onto the wood!

Repeat this step and keep layering images until you are happy with the result. The gorgeous peach and orange illustrations are from the fabulouse Graphics Fairy (thank you Karen!)

finished DIY vintage wooden crates with image transfer to wood

Some fabulous failures to share, so you can get a more consistent result with this image transfer to wood technique.

OK, time to share some lessons I learned making these pallet wooden crates with the 3 pictures below.

  1. Feeding wax paper directly into the printer will cause the paper to jam 50% of the time. So tape the wax paper onto a regular sheet of paper.
  2. I forgot to flip/mirror the image! ahhh (California still loves you though)
  3. I tried taping the top and bottom edge of wax paper onto a 8.5″x11″, it resulted in the whole thing warping, and ink got smudged! So only tape the top edge!
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After the image transfer dries for a couple of hours,  the final step is to protect our pallet wood crates with a luscious furniture wax.

Go to Part 3: How to make 2-ingredient DIY all natural wood finish & clear furniture wax

Another way to add images and create vintage inspired art and designs on wood is to use paper and glue, or Modpodge. Like in this pallet organizing shelf tutorial with free crate label downloads.

Make a charging station from pallet scrap wood, and clear up the clutter on your table or desk! Plus some gorgeous vintage crate labels as a free download!
Make a charging station from pallet scrap wood, and clear up the clutter on your table or desk! Plus some gorgeous vintage crate labels as a free download!

Here are the collage sheets of stamps, images and phrases used to create these pallet wood crates. DOWNLOAD here.

Happy creating!

9 Comments

  1. Good Evening Ananda; On your pellet boxes using your inkjet transfer steps, “Will the transfers only transfer to plane unfinished wood? I was debating on staining or chalk painting a wooden box I made here. I wanted to do a water based or gel stain but was not sure if the transfer method you show would work or not or if the ink would stay on a stained or painted piece in general. I would love to hear your input please if you have the time. Thank you Ananda !

    • hi Lisa! if the wood finish is absorbent (not glossy or water repellent paint finish ) and the stain or paint colors are lighter than your transfer image colors, then yes! 🙂 i think the water based stain is a better bet!

      • 🙂 Thank you so much for your quick reply to my questions. I have scrolled through ALL your crafts and I LOVE YOUR SITE & Creativity; beautiful work and ideas. I so LOVE that one pink flower transfer on your wood block flowers and I went to Graphics Fairy and “CANNOT LOCATE IT ~ Uggg; but I keep looking. Thanks again Ananda and have a beautiful day~

  2. Ananda, your blog is such a wonderful resource – thank you! I love the clear directions, terrific project ideas, and most of all, non-toxic, eco-friendly commitment. Just started following you on Instagram – what a burst of sunshine!

  3. I absolutely love this idea and your crates are beautiful! Does it matter what side of the wax paper you use?

  4. Thanks so much for this post! It is nice to have all of the transfer methods in one place. I just posted my how-to-guide on transferring photos to canvas if you want to come and take a look. It is the best method I have found so far for getting crisp, clear images and it also works really well on other mediums including furniture.

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