My mom knows that she is probably going to get some kind of handmade gift from her starving artist daughter for just about every occasion and she is fine with it. But i won’t give gifts that aren’t useful and/or memorable. Believe me, there are a lot of weird and random craft ideas out there that I would never give as a gift. This project passes the “great gift” test with flying colors.
It’s a very easy project, unfortunately you will most likely have to make a trip to the craft store before you start. Unless you are an artist, it is doubtful you have gel medium on hand, and nobody I’ve ever met keeps a supply of blank wooden plaques hanging around. But if you are anything like me, you are at the craft store at least once a week (who am I kidding, I am there almost daily). No need to use your good art supplies on this one. The regular brand of gel medium available at the craft store is great for this.
Also you will need a laser print or photo copy of the photo you are transferring. Ink jet prints will not work. When you print your image, do not forget to reverse it so that when it’s transferred onto the plaque it’s the right way. This is especially important if your image includes lettering, or is a photo of your childhood home which you are giving to your mother as a gift.
Trim the image to fit the plaque. Paint both the printed image and the plaque with a nice, even coating of gel medium. Carefully lay the image face down on the plaque, making sure there are no bubbles, and smooth it down. Try not to press the paper over the edge of the plaque, and wipe up any gel medium that oozes over the edge. That stuff dries as hard as plastic and is a real pain to get off without marring the edges of your image. Let it dry completely.
Once it’s dry, soak the paper well with water and let it set for a minute, then rub the paper off with your fingers, rinsing occasionally. PRO TIP: don’t let the paper go down the drain. Just like magic, the image will be transferred onto the wood. After it dries, you will notice that there is still some paper left and you’ll have to wet it and rub it some more. You’ll probably have to do this a few times before all of the paper is gone. Tiny bits of the image will get rubbed off too, but it just adds to the hand-made coolness of the project.
I finished this one with a couple of eye screws and some wire i had on hand, and it looks gorgeous. Mom is going to love it!