There are many different ways you can create an image transfer and today I’m going to show you an image transfer technique I recently used on a piece of Ikea furniture. This image transfer method is for furniture and wood.
I love when I see beautiful, upcycled and unique pieces of furniture that have been painted and given new life. I love it even more when I see a piece of furniture that has that extra “wow factor” when you see how it has been adorned with a beautiful image or some beautiful writing.
Quite a few months ago I did up an old Ikea Rast chest to display in my sons nautical nursery. This piece of furniture was cheap and had been in far better shape before I decided to bring it back to life. I will be sharing the final project in the coming weeks so keep an eye out! Today, I am sharing the image transfer technique I used for this project.
The BEST Image Transfer Technique
This tutorial is for an image transfer to wood, but since we are using chalk paint and chalk paint generally paints over any surface I am inclined to say that you do this image transfer to metal and other surfaces also. I will pre-warn you. The size of my project was large so it did requite some patience but it was worth it in the end!
Warning, today’s post is not filled with pretty pictures. But this post is about the technique rather than the final reveal.
Follow these steps on any piece of furniture or small work surface you wish to cover.
This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience and at no extra cost to you. If you wish to learn more please refer to my disclosure policy.
What you will need for this image transfer technique we are about to do:
The surface you will be working on. In my case an Sea Creatures Printable.
Bowl of water
White, lint free rag cloths. If you are doing a large project have a lot on hand.
Printer or have it professionally printed
Your image/graphic printed on basic printer paper. ( No need for image transfer paper!)
If you like the nautical design I have created and want to do the same you can download the Sea Creatures Printable right here.
How to create the image transfer:
Start painting the piece of furniture or work surface you are working on. I completely painted the chest of draws with two coats of chalk paint and allowed it to dry. The beauty of chalk paint is that is died very fast between laters. I would still allow some extra time for it to dry thoroughly.
Prepare your print! Don’t forget if you are working with wording you must print the image backwards otherwise it will be backwards on your finished piece. I was working with illustrations so it didn’t matter, though I did design the collage of sea creatures backwards to what I wanted it to look like. If you are working with a large piece of furniture you will find that you will need to print the images on multiple pieces paper. The size of paper I printed on was A4 which is a universal size paper for printers.
Skip this step if you are only doing a small image transfer-
Once all of the sheets of paper are cut then I used masking tape to tape all of the edges together. It was a bid job and I had to be patient to be precise but I was happy how it all turned out.
I recommend only using masking tape or painters tape to tape the sheets of paper together because later you need to remove the tape and you do not want it to rip off any of the paper as this may cause issues with your image transfer if it pulls off too much paper and rips your image away from the paint.
Once your image is ready, it is time to paint again. Apply a generous and thick layer of paint to the surface you are working on. I covered the entire chest of draws with paint.
Note; it is VERY important you work fast, particularly if you are working on a large area. As I said before chalk paint dies very fast and you want to place the image transfer on the surface while the paint is still wet.
Carefully place the paper over the wet paint. Use a credit card or ruler to gently work out any air bubbles under the paper. Leave it to dry for 24-48 hours to make sure the paper has completely died on the wet paint.
Since the paint was fairly thick, I allowed 48 hours. You can not tell that the last layer of paint was thick. So do not worry about this.
Remember how I told you that you need patience if working on a larger piece like this one? Well, here is the part where you will need patience. I would recommend spacing it out over a few days.
Make sure that the surface is completely dry. Gently remove the masking tape. Get a bowl of warm water and the white rag clothes and start working away at the paper. I wet the paper with a little water and allowed the paper to absorb the water, then I slowly started rubbing the paper with a cloth in circular motions.
Slowly but surely the paper will start gathering in little balls and coming off. This was a lot of work for a large piece but I can’t tire of saying, worth it. I don’t think I could have created such an intricate design by tracing and painting these illustrations on the chest with my hand. Far too complex.
Keep working away at your project.
You can see it is starting to show through! Success!
Oh yes, place a large drop cloth or plastic underneath to catch all of the little balls of paper because it is a lot of mess with a project of this size.
After about a week of working on this I was almost there! I would only work on it for short periods of time as my garage was very cold and I get bored easily.
Here is a photo of the almost finished image transfer!
I suggest not getting impatient. As you work away at the paper the paint does start dissolving a little so you need to be very light handed when you get close to exposing the image. The paint has absorbed the ink but only on the surface. Some of the image did ware away but I was ok with this as I was going to sand over it to distress it anyway. I wanted a worn look.
So there you have it! Once all of the paper has been removed you need to seal in your master piece with finishing wax for chalk paint to protect the paint and the images. I love the finish. It was matt and it doesn’t look like it is an image transfer. I was scared to use other methods as I didn’t want even the slightest bit of gloss on this piece. I can’t wait to share the finished project with you! So that you don’t miss out on the final reveal don’t forget to sign up to my Email Newsletter where you are kept up to date with all of the latest posts and freebies!
Have you tried this image transfer technique before?
Enjoyed this post? Here are some other’s you will love!