Heat Transfers

Using laser copies, wood and a heat transfer tool.


This is probably one of the coolest projects I have done in a long time. I actually made this for a Christmas present one year. I think it's a pretty neat gift for the guy who has everything or for a very hard to buy for person. I definitely plan on making more in the future and will take step by step photographs when I do.

heat transfer

This is a very easy project and a pretty low cost project as well.

Items Needed to Complete Project:

  • Slab of Wood
  • Access to Color Laser Printer
  • Photo
  • Heat Transfer Tool (Versa-Tool)
  • Sheet of Copy paper
  • Masking Tape
  1. Find a piece of soft wood with a tight grain. I used one of those basswood slabs like you get at the craft store. Many craft stores put out a 40% or 50% off coupon every week, so if you buy it with a coupon, it's a reasonable price. Otherwise, wait until they go on sale.
  2. Sand the wood smooth using a fine grained sandpaper. This is very important so that the image transfers cleaning and smoothly. Make sure you sand with the grain of the wood.
  3. Find a picture that you like and make a photocopy of it on a color laser printer. It must be a laser printer for it to work. Ink jet printers will not work with ordinary paper, although I believe they make special heat transfer paper for use with ink jet printers. I scanned this photo into my computer and enlarged it so that it would fit the size wood that I have. If you take digital photos, that's even easier to print out. If you don't have access to a color laser printer, check out your local office supply store. They can make a copy for you for less than fifty cents in most cases. If there is writing on your photo, or it's important that it be going in the same direction on the wood, then have it printed in reverse. Remember you are transferring the image to another surface, so it's like a mirror. It will be going in the opposite direction when you are done.
  4. When the picture is the size that you need, tear the edges away on all four sides. This gives your project more of an aged look. Of course, this is totally up to you. If you want to have a straight edge, that is fine also.
  5. Place the picture face down on the wood and secure one end with masking tape. Attach the heat transfer tip to the Versa-Tool and allow it to heat up for a few minutes. The heat transfer tip usually looks like a flat circle.
  6. Once the tool is up to temperature, press the tip to the paper and make circular motions, periodically lifting the paper and checking to see if the picture is transferring to the wood. Do not allow the hot paper to cool attached to the wood or you will never get it off. It's very important to lift the paper every few seconds.
  7. Once you have completed the entire picture, you can remove the paper all together and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Heat Transfer Ornaments

I used the same technique to make these ornaments. What will you make today?

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