Plank Photo Project

Over this last year my sister has been slowly updating her home. As the sister, I get the privilege of being the main artist on her walls, and I try to make sure that whatever I give her won’t be something that is hung up out of pity. I prefer not to be the creator of the “look at that” art. The new look of her home is what I would consider rustic / country charm. She was interested in a print I did a couple winters ago, but I wanted to give her something more unique and fitting than a basic poster type print.

I saw an art print at Ranch and Home and really liked the reclaimed/rustic look of it. It seemed simple enough and of course I instantly thought “I can do that”. Sometimes I seem to have an inflated view of my abilities. But either way, I searched the internet (okay, let’s be honest, I searched Pinterest), and found a few posts on how to transfer pictures to wood. Again I thought, “see, can’t be that hard”.  So I make my list, take tips and tricks from a variety of “how to” blog posts, and set off to Lowes.

I wanted to make a plank board wall hanging, and I couldn’t find anything on how to do what I had in mind. I picked up a pack of wood planks, & some finishing nails (apparently my box of nails & screws is hiding somewhere with my hammer, and mutli-tool screw driver). I had some scrap wood I planned to use for backing, and hubby has clamps I could klepto (one of his auction finds – you can read about that here). I had the photo printed by Staples, I opted for the blue print option for printing. The best paper choice is as close to inkjet printer you can get.

As I start building the wall hanging for my project, hubby starts giving me the “you’re going to regret doing it that way” look and grunts. So of course, I respond with the standard “what?” To which he replies “where’s the wood glue?” You are using wood glue right?”

“Um, I wasn’t planning on it. Can’t I just push these together, and nail them to some boards so they stay together?”

“You can, but I wouldn’t. It’s not going to work like you think it is”.

This is where I remember his “your projects always become my projects” line, which in fairness, they do, but it’s because he is better at this stuff, and I tend to learn as I go.  But either way, I wound up going to Lowes for wood glue.

In the end, here was my process:

1. Line up planks as desired (here is what I bought). Then put a bead of glue in the grooves between each plank, and put them back as desired. Then clamp to hold in place for drying.

For diagram / printable directions click: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print 

2. Once glue is dry (the bottle will tell you how long it takes to set”, flip so the back side is up (choose which side will give the best result for your picture – try to choose the side with the cleanest surface- see step 3). Nail each precut support board approximately 3 inches in from the edges. The length will depend on the size of the board you choose to create.

3. Flip the board so it is face up. If there is any glue spots, try to sand them off, the ink doesn’t transfer well to dried glue.

boards-1

4. Coat with “Gel Medium”, it’s really called exactly that. I went into Joanne’s looking for this and really wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is a picture of what I used. Put a good coat on, think of paper mache, too much and the paper will get all nasty and tear, not enough, and the ink won’t transfer.

5. Put the print ink side down onto the boards, and smooth out wrinkles.

boards-2

6. Let dry overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can wait just as long as it takes for the paper to be completely dry, but it’s similar to putting on a temporary tattoo, so if it’s not dry it will peal up.

7. Using a wet wash rag, scrub the paper off. I suggest getting a bowl, or small bucket of warm water, and have it sitting there to rinse the rag as you work. Another trick is to get the paper a bit extra wet like you would when putting on a temporary tattoo, and then try scrubbing. It seems to help pull the paper off better.

8. Once you believe you have all the paper off, let it dry, and re-evaluate. I had to go back a few times as paper would become noticeable again once it dried. The sky and light areas were the hardest for me.

plank-board-2

9. Optional: Once you are sure you have all the paper wiped off, coat with modge podge/ decoupage glue.

plank-board-1

Lesson’s learned:

  1. Ink won’t transfer onto wood glue
  2. Pencil will be seen through the picture – not sure how I didn’t notice it before moving forward and putting the gel on
  3. If you don’t get all the paper off, and then you coat it with modge podge, it will seal the picture, make the white paper EXTREMELY obvious, and you won’t even be able to sand that crap off. – start over
  4. If you want an exact image as you see when you took it, don’t forget to flip the image, otherwise it will be a mirror image
  5. When using the planks, keep in mind that there will be lines / gaps in your picture – placement may look funny depending on the print. You may not want lines / gaps through your loved ones face.

Print directions here: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print

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