Photo Transfer Project (step-by-step)

Preserve your memories by transferring your favorite photos to boards…then add vinyl lettering to complete the project.

This project is not difficult, but it does require several hours of drying time.


  • Board (I used this DIY board from Uppercase Living)
  • White craft paint
  • Foam brush (for paint, gesso and ModPodge…I rinsed out brush between uses)
  • Gesso gel medium (I used one that I found at Michaels)
  • Rag
  • Disposable bowls (for paint, gesso and ModPodge)
  • Photo printed out on regular printer paper from a laser printer with the image mirrored
  • Vinyl lettering (I used this love expression from Uppercase Living)
  • Burnishing tool (plastic…like an Uppercase Living transfer tool or Pampered Chef scraper or a library card)
The supplies you’ll need: board, paint, brush, gesso, rag, disposable bowls, photo from laser printer (printed in reverse), vinyl lettering, burnishing tool.


Paint your board with white craft paint and allow to dry completely.


Print out your photo on regular printer paper. You must use a laser printer (not an InkJet). When you transfer your image, it will be mirrored. Therefore, if you want your completed project to look like your original photo, simply mirror the photo before printing by using the “flip horizontal” choice in your tools menu. Size the photo to fit your surface. (You can cut it to size at this point or trim off the excess after you’ve applied the photo to your board.)


Paint the top surface of your board with gesso. Paint the front of your photo with gesso. Apply the photo to the board with the photo side facing down. Carefully smooth out any bubbles using your burnishing tool. Wipe away any excess gesso. Allow to dry for at least four hours.

Paint the front of your board and the front of your picture with gesso.


After at least four hours have passed, take a warm damp rag and lay it on top off the board. Leave it on for about five minutes.


Remove the rag. Using your fingers dipped in water, make small circular motions on the board to remove the top layer of paper, almost as if you are sandpapering the surface.

Dip your fingers in water and rub in a circular motion to remove the top layer of paper.

It’s a little messy. 🙂 Continue to do this until the cloudiness disappears. (I did several rounds, letting it dry in between.)


When you’ve removed the top layer of paper and the project is completely dry, apply a coat of ModPodge to the front of the photo/board. Repeat two times, letting dry about 15 minutes between coats.

When you’ve removed the layer of paper, allow to dry then apply ModPodge.


It’s vinyl time! Choose an expression from Uppercase Living like the one here or custom design your own using the MyDesign Tool (choosing your font, size and color). You could customize the place and date for your photo (such as “Cape Cod 2016”).

Position vinyl expression.
Remove backing paper from vinyl expression, adhere to surface, then remove transfer tape.

Need tips on applying vinyl? Check out my post with how-to videos.


For more vinyl expression inspiration, please visit

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