My father-in-law is one of those people who is nearly impossible to buy for. He has everything he needs, and is very particular when it comes to clothing. So this year, like many others, I have opted to give him a keepsake rather than a purchased item. If you have someone like him on your list, consider this project: Transfer a photo to a piece of wood for a sentimental art piece that will fit nearly any d├ęcor.

Start by gathering your materials. You will need a piece of unfinished wood, a photo that has been color copied (do not use a photo printed from a photo center or from an inkjet printer), Mod Podge, foam brushes, a cloth and clear glaze spray. For the Mod Podge, you can either use Mod Podge Matte, which will show some of the wood grain through the photo, or Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium, which will give a white background behind the photo and no wood grain showing through.

First, make sure the photo is cut to size to fit the wood panel. If you plan to center it on the wood, trace the area you plan to put it before you begin. Use the foam brushes to paint over the photo with the Mod Podge. The trick is to get a thick, even layer over the entire image.


Carefully turn the image over and press it down onto the wooden panel. Use your hands to rub the image and remove any air bubbles. Wipe down any excess that comes out of the sides. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.


Once dry, use a damp (not wet) cloth to remove the paper backing. Start in one corner of the image, and dampen that spot. Rub gently. This will loosen the paper and reveal the photo left behind. You can remove the paper by continuing to wipe with the cloth or with your fingers. Go over the entire image in this way and wait one hour.

Then, go over it again to catch any spots you may have missed. You may need to repeat this process one more time. It is better to go slowly and to not wet the image too much. Doing so may remove more than just the paper backing. After the image has dried, spray it with the clear glaze to seal.

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