Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wooden Photographs

Hey everyone so I mentioned in my last post that I was making a bunch of presents for people and that I would be posting a blog especially to give you all step-by-step instructions on how to make your own.  Well here it is.  I made some picture blocks for my family members using some of their favorite pictures.  And you can just ignore the fact that the example is a picture of me.  Alright, so here is the final product to give you an idea-
So that's pretty snazzy isn't it? I think so.  So here is what you need to complete your own beautiful version of this:

Picture (black and white OR color) printed from a laser printer on regular paper
Block of wood (try for smooth and light colored, we used pine)
Gel medium
Mod Podge
Paint brush (and/or a sponge brush thing)

Here are some picture examples-
So, in doing this project I enlisted my father to help me with the wood.  As a team we calculated the length of wood we would need.  Upon buying the wood we again measured out the pictures and decided on 7.5" for the small pictures and 12" for the large pictures.

After cutting we sandpapered the edges and arranged the blocks from best quality to worst based on knots and cuts and so on.  From there I chose my first picture, a block of wood and began!  The first step is to brush the gel medium on the wood.  You're going to want to really lay it on there because the more gel medium, the better the picture will stay on the wood later on.
So now the gel is on the wood you want to lay your picture down on the wood pretty soon after so that it doesn't start to dry on you.  Now the way I did mine we left enough room to have a small border around the picture.  This made things a little difficult when placing the picture down as I had to center the picture before setting it on the surface.  IMPORTANT!  If you want your picture to be the proper way around when it is on the wood then you need to print the picture reversed.  Trust me on this one.
So now your picture is gelled onto the wood.  Now you get to leave it to sit overnight!  Yay!  Clearly overnight is not an exact amount of time.  I left mine for about 20 hours and a couple for over 24.  It's all just a matter of when you have the time to continue.  I was interrupted twice while I was completing the next steps, thus the varying time differences.  Anyways, now that your picture has sat for some un-named amount of time overnight, it is time for part two.
Taking the water and the washcloth, you want to drip a fair amount of water onto the center of your picture.  I worked from the center out because it seemed the best way.
Now after I did this a few times I realized that the best way to do this is to wet just a little of the picture at a time and rub off that section, using the washcloth.  In the following video, where I got the idea, the woman uses her hands to wipe the paper away but I found that using the washcloth to do it worked way better and I will tell you why at the end.

So now that you are rubbing off the paper-
-you want to be careful that you don't rub too hard or too much in one particular area or another.  If you do you may actually cause the ink to come off as well.  That happened to me on more than one occasion.  However, it's not totally related to rubbing too much.  I'm not exactly sure why it happens, but even if everything is perfect it may still have spots that rub off, so don't think you're doing it wrong.

After the paper is gone you want to rub the wood a couple of times to get any small amount of residue off.  I used a somewhat damp paper towel for this part.  Then, when the wood is still damp and the picture is looking awesome, Mod Podge the s*** out of it.  You don't want to do more than one coat, so just make sure you get a nice coating on the first shot.  After that, just let the Podge dry and you are all set.  Say hello to your new piece of art!
Now some of the problems I came across while doing this project were thus- paper not coming off all the way, and ink coming off too much.  It was pretty frustrating at times.  I read a couple of comments on the video that gave multiple suggestions.  In regards to the paper, like I said before, I found that using the wash cloth was the best method to get all of the paper off the first time.  When I used my hands the paper didn't come off as well and I would end up concentrating on one spot for a long time trying to get the paper off and ended up taking the ink off.  Other times the ink just decided to come off anyways, even if I only went over the spot once or twice.  If the ink comes off a little bit I would just let it go.  I think it makes the picture look more antique and I kind of like it.  However, if too much ink comes off it just looks weird. Using the washcloth, I only had to go over an area three or four times and all of the paper would be off.  The particular cloth that I used was easily attachable for the paper and I would periodically have to pick chunks of paper out of the cloth.  Don't be afraid to do this.

The most problems I had were before I used the wash cloth for the entire picture and the paper wouldn't come off completely.  There were a couple of suggestions for this if it happens to you.  The first one is to wet your picture again before you Podge it, making sure you can't see any of the white residue.  The second is to rub vegetable oil on it before putting the Podge on it.  I think the vegetable oil worked better in this regard, but there are so many variables between pictures that that might not have had anything to do with it.

So now that you've read and seen my steps and trials, feel free to check out the original site that I got the idea from- Wooden Picture. She has a handy dandy video to accompany hers so you may want to watch that for a nice visual.  As you can see she did hers slightly differently than I explained it but I gave you the best description that I could through my own personal trial and error.  If anyone has any questions feel free to leave me a comment below and I will be sure to answer.  Have fun!!

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