Select Page

How to Transfer Graphics onto Furniture or Wood

In my ever growing obsession to rescue every sad piece of furniture that crosses my path, I adopted this little black bookshelf from a roadside. I wish I had thought to take a “before” photo, but suffice to say, it was bad. Real bad. Scratched matte black paint, kids stickers peeling, it was a mess! But it was solid wood, and structurally sound. Since it was so dinged up, I decided go with the distressed look and some stenciling. I wanted a little more texture, so I sorted through the pile of picture frames that we had rescued from a dumpster. (Behind a big name craft supply retailer! You’d be surprised what you can find!) I found a frame that worked, and cut down a side to fit the front edge of the piece. I painted the little frame piece matte black to match the rest. I distressed the entire piece a bit more with a hammer, and then I painted with a matte white and sanded.

I sketched a little design idea for the detail.
Then I fiddled in Photoshop and printed it in the size that I wanted.
 
Once I was ready, I used chalk on the back of the design for the transfer. Some people use pencil instead of chalk. Bothe methods have their merits. Because the surface was a little busy with the distressing, I thought the chalk would stand out better. Also, the orange color helps.
 
After I covered the back with orange chalk, I laid out the design exactly where I wanted it, with the chalk against the painted surface. This is where you should tape it down so that it doesn’t move! I just held it in place, since the design is small, and it was getting dark out!
 
Once I had it lined up, I traced over everything, pressing firmly. You want to check periodically to make sure that you can see the chalk transferring.
Once the tracing was done, I went over it with pencil right away, so that the chalk wasn’t lost before painting. I should note that it’s best to print out the entire design, but in this case, I printed only half. When I was finished tracing out the first half, I flipped over my design, put the chalk on the printed side, and traced it again from the chalk side. I didn’t have to waste more paper or ink.
  
Once the design is transferred and traced over with pencil, you’ll need to wipe off the excess chalk. At this point, I was ready to paint!!
The most exciting part is when you get out the brushes, and really get to work! Woo hoo! There are plenty of options for filling out your design. I used 2 artist paint brushes, using a tiny size for the fine details, then filling in most of the larger spaces with a slightly bigger brush.
 
Once dry, I gave it some scuffing with sand paper, and it was ready for sale!!