Photo Transfer Christmas Ornaments

Photo transfer Christmas Ornaments are a beautiful and fun way to decorate with some of your favorite holiday memories.  Wood is one of my favorite mediums because of it's warmth and texture.  This year they are so "on point" and it wood products can be found easily at your local hobby store.  They make perfect gifts too!  Let's get going...

For this DIY project you will need wood slices or slabs.  I found mine at my local Michael's and Joann's Fabric Store.  They cost approximately $1.50 a piece.  You will also need Matte Gel Medium, Sparkle Modge Podge, White Acrylic Paint, Brushes, Damp Rag, Pencil, Scissors, Ribbon, Copy Paper, and an Ink Jet Printer.

Find a photo you love.  You will want one with a lot of contrast.  You can use either color or black and white.  I recommend sharpening the colors so there is good contrast when the ink is settled into the wood.  Also, if there is any lettering or numbers in the pictures, you will want to use a photo editing program to reverse the image.  Print off your image on light weight copy paper.

Once your image is printed off on the light weight paper.  Take your wood piece and trace around the image to get the sizing right.  Cut just inside the traced line to give you a margin for the bark edge to show.

Using the white acrylic paint, dry brush the surface you will be applying the image to.  This helps make the image pop.  You can skip this step if you want more of a shadow look to your finished project.

Once the paint is dried, the magic can begin.  Using a dry brush coat the wood slice surface with Matte Gel Medium.  This is the product that takes your inked image and "soaks" it into the wood.  When the surface is coated, place the image face side down onto the surface and smooth out.  This will need to dry for 8 to 10 hours.  

Now that your medium is dried, you will be removing the paper fibers from the image.  To do this, lightly mist the paper with water and using a damp rag, lightly rub off the paper.  You will see the image appear from under the fibers.  This is a delicate process.  If you feel too much of the image is coming off, you can use your fingers to release the fibers.  It may take a few mistings to get the fibers off, be patient and rub lightly.

Once the fibers are removed, you are ready to seal the image.  I use Modge Podge and because these are holiday ornaments,  I used the Sparkle Modge Podge.  It just give a super fine sparkle to the project which looks spectacular when the tree lights hot it.  If you have any spots where the image rubbed off too much, just add a little more Sparkle Modge Podge to give it a snowy look.

To finish the ornaments, drill a hole in the top of the wood slice and hang from your favorite ribbon.  Tuck larger slices into blank spaces on your tree or nestle into your garlands.  

I use this technique for the art images I sell at Sundance.  They look so antique and unique whether you use color or black and white.  I think my next project will be taking images of vintage Christmas Santas and making them into a colorful set of ornaments for my kitchen tree.

You can see a tutorial on this project on KUTV's Fresh Living today at 3:30!

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