Due to a recent project I've posted, I have been asked by many LJ’ers to do a blog on just how I was able to get such a clear image fixed onto a piece of oak. Here goes nothing….........
An Image (flipped horizontally) printed on a LASER Printer. It can be color or B&W – either work just fine in this application.
Paper – Regular copy paper works just fine. Do NOT use photo paper – it will most certainly not work.
Wood – I prefer a light colored hardwood. White Oak, Birch, Maple or even Poplar works well for this application.
Gel Medium – There are many out there. I happened to find a product by Liquitex called Matte Gel Medium – this 8 oz. container was a tad over $15. I am guessing you will get at least 6 large images out of the container.
Paint brush – any will work, but I chose a 1 ½ brush. It cleans up with just soap and water so don’t worry about destroying it.
Something to flatten/smooth with. I use a paint scraper, but you can even use a credit card. I understand others use a roller (brayer), but I like the scraper the best.
Clear coat finish – I use a spray lacquer, but just about any clear finish will work. This is pretty much required as it seals the image as well as hiding all the leftover paper, as you will see later.
Now, Let’s get to work…...........
For this transfer, I picked a nice piece of oak and an image of the Baltimore Orioles / Natty Boh Guy taken from an old sign I saw for sale in Baltimore.
I also chose to use a Black & White image, and used my graphics program to flip it horizontally before printing it.
Remember – only a LASER printed image will work for this! If you don’t have access to one, go to a copy center (Kinko’s for example) and have them make you a few copies. It’s only a few cents per copy.
The oak was rough cut, so I ran it through my planer and sanded it smooth.
Although you don’t need to, I chose to trim the image down to just what was needed as there is less work to do later.
I then tested the placement before I began spreading the medium.
Spread the gel out in a nice, thin coat – I used about two glops (see below image) for this image. You will be tempted to put on a nice thick coat, but it isn’t needed and it makes things more messy and difficult to accomplish.
Smooth the medium with the grain of the wood – you don’t have to have it perfect at this stage.
Apply the image, face side down of course, to the wood and smooth with the tool of your choice.
Be careful not to push down with your fingertips as I have left “divots” in the medium doing this.
Smooth over the image until it is adhered very well – you will probably squeeze out some of the gel and that’s just fine. Don’t press too hard though – you have to leave some gel under your image for this to work.
Once smoothed really flat, go over the wood again with the paintbrush to smooth out the gel.
Try not to get a bunch of gel on the back of the paper – this will make finishing much more of a chore! Getting a tad around the edges is OK though.
Now the hard part – you have to let this thing dry! Overnight is best – don’t worry about walking away from this for days or even weeks though.
This looks like a great place to end this part of my blog so…...........
Until later, BYE!
-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.rhoadesclan.com