Cactus, Acrylic, Photo Transfer, Wood, Art, DIY, Paint

Cactus Photo Transfer Tutorial

Hi there!

Oh my goodness, sorry it’s been so long! I know I know, bad rookie blogger waiting so long between posts! But honestly, life! Literally a week after I launched my blog my biological father contacted me so I’ve kinda been wrapped up in catching up on the last thirty six and a half years!!!

I’ve still been working away on my projects but I’ve certainly devoted less time to them. I’ve been focusing my attention on getting my reclaimed shelves done, which I thought I would do this weekend but I had a slight setback. The brackets that I ordered were a tiny bit bigger than stated online, so I’m back to square one on getting them mounted. Hopefully I’ll have them up by next weekend (fingers crossed).

Since I knew the shelves weren’t going to be finished this weekend I switched focus to a project I saw on Pinterest that I just had to try, transferring images from parchment paper to wood. I’m thinking it would be a perfect piece of artwork for the shelves and it seemed like a quick and easy project. Seemed…keep reading to find out!

Cactus Acrylic Pin

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What you will need for this project:

Things you will need if nothing ever goes your way and you always need to MacGyver your way through life:

You’ll want to start with your piece of wood. If you don’t have any laying around you can order a wood canvas or plank from Amazon. Here are a few options:

Confession, I am a wood hoarder so I had no problem there! I can’t stand the thought of tossing a perfectly good piece of wood, so we have a garage full of scrap pieces just waiting for my creativity to strike. When I saw this tutorial I knew the exact piece of wood I wanted to use, and it was already halfway prepped!

Wood, repurposed, Wood Canvas, Art, DIY, Photo Transfer Tutorial, Acrylic Painting, Cactus, Cactus Art
My scrap piece of wood, just dying to get out of the garage and become a piece of art!!

I had to trim the extra little bits off, and yes, I totally did it myself with the miter saw! I am checking at least one resolution off my list this year; to get more familiar with power tools. This is the second power tool I’ve had to use this year, I used an oscillating tool on the shelves.

My piece of wood was pretty rough and had some cracking paint that I wanted to sand down a bit. I used a palm sander but you can sand by hand if you don’t have one. Given my results, you’ll want to have a nice smooth surface, unless you want a really rustic look. If you want to transfer right onto bare wood, you’re ready to go, if you want to paint or stain the wood you can do that too. My piece had previously been painted so I just sanded to smooth it out and to give it a bit of a distressed look. Be sure to wipe down your piece to remove any sawdust/dirt.

Now that your wood is ready or you are waiting for the paint or stain to dry, you can pick out your picture. If you don’t have anything in mind there are literally thousands of free printables on Pinterest. I found my cactus watercolor printable here. You can also check out my Free Printables board on Pinterest for some other options.

I read through several tutorials that all stated that you had to use a laser printer, which I don’t have, so I kept looking until I found one for inkjet printers. To be totally honest, I don’t think it matters which type of printer you have.

No matter what kind of printer you are using make sure you play with the vibrancy and saturation of the picture to make the colours pop. I didn’t do this enough because the picture I selected was a light coloured watercolour and when I did make adjustments the colours looked neon…not the look I was going for.

You can do this in just about any photo editing app. For this project I used the desktop version of Canva because I could select a custom size, I wanted 8.5” x 14”. You’ll also want to flip you picture horizontally, if you don’t flip your picture when you transfer it will be a reverse image. You can do this right in Canva or in your printer settings if you prefer. Once you are all done preparing your picture you can download as a PDF.

The next thing you will want to do is get your parchment paper ready. You’ll need to cut it down to the size you selected for your picture, I’d suggest a standard letter or legal size, even if you have a smaller image. I worry that if you try any smaller you may lose the parchment paper in your printer forever!

Every tutorial I read said to tape your parchment paper to a piece of paper or card stock. I tried this with paper, as I didn’t have any legal sized cardstock and it failed to make it through the printer Every. Single. Time. After a few curse words I took it off the paper and gave it a go, of course, it slid right through the printer easy peasy.

Now this is when I knew this project was not going to come out as expected. The colours on the parchment paper were so light you could hardly see them. Hopefully yours has come out bolder/brighter.

Be very careful with the parchment paper, the ink will be wet and will come right off with the slightest touch. You will want to get it to your plank and very carefully place it face down. I would suggest taping it so it doesn’t move around spreading ink everywhere. Now that it’s secure you will use your gift card to scrape over the picture transferring the ink to the wood.

If your picture was dark and saturated enough you will now have a beautiful picture on your plank. Allow the ink to dry for several minutes and you can spray with a crystal clear acrylic spray to protect it.

If you are anything like me, it’s time to pull out the MacGyver half of the supply list! I could hardly see my beautiful picture, I was so disappointed that this easy project didn’t turn out. There was no way I was giving up on this completely adorable little cactus watercolour so I busted out the acrylics and filled in the blanks!

If you’re an artist and have the right kind of brushes I’m sure you’ll fair better than me and my cheap set from the dollar store. If not, I used the tiniest brush I had and a toothpick for the veining, needles and sand.

Cactus Art, Cactus, Artwork, Art, Repurposed Wood, Photo Transfer Tutorial
A close up of my final product, with acrylic paints.

Even though the photo transfer was a total fail and didn’t turn out the way I expected, I absolutely love it and can’t wait to display it on my reclaimed shelves!

I hope you give this project a try! Let your inner artist out!!

Happy Monday!

Amy, Signature

Cactus Art, Cactus, Art, Artwork, Photo Transfer Tutorial, Acrylic Paint,
The finished piece on display with some cactus friends!

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