How to Make Wooden Photo Blocks

18 Feb

A while ago I got a Groupon for Wooden Photo Blocks and I thought, “ I bet I could make that.” So I found a few tutorials online and chose my favorite. This video was my favorite one:

I liked that you could still see the wood grain through the picture, giving it a cool look. I mostly followed her technique with a few variations. Here’s how it went down:

Step 1 – Get Supplies

Hobby Lobby had the Gel Medium, Mod Podge, and paintbrushes. I went to Lowe’s for the wood. I chose a piece of wood 11 inches wide and about 4 feet long. I had a nice man at Lowe’s cut the wood into three 11×14 pieces.

Step 2 – Print Your Pictures

Make sure to print your pictures on normal paper (no finish) with a laser printer. I’ve heard that pictures printed with inkjet printers will run. I had my pictures printed at Kinko’s on 12×18 paper to make sure my photo went all the way to the edges of the wood. Oh, I also printed the mirror image of my photo so it would be normal once it transferred to the wood.

Step 3 – Sand the Wood

Sand your wood pieces to make sure the surface is smooth enough to absorb the picture. I also rounded the edges a little bit to give them a softer look.

Step 4 – Apply Gel Medium

Apply the gel medium on the wood evenly. Make sure to get the edges completely, otherwise the picture won’t stick and peal when you remove the paper.

Step 5 – Place Picture on Wood Block

Place your picture face down and smooth out all the bubbles and wrinkles.

Step 6 – Let Dry

I let my pictures dry for a full 24 hours just to be safe. That worked well for me.

Step 7 – Remove the paper

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Wet the paper with water and GENTLY start removing the paper. I used the same fingertip technique the girl used in the video. When you get to the edges, rub toward the edges to avoid tearing or actually rubbing off the picture.

Step 8 – Apply Vegetable Oil

This part is not in the video. I found that once I had removed the excess paper, there was still some paper residue left on the image. When the paper was wet it looked great, but when totally dry it had a cloudy look. The vegetable oil bring clarity back to the photo. I applied the veggie oil with a sponge brush.

Step 9 – Brush on Mod Podge

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Quickly after applying the vegetable oil, I brushed on the Mod Podge. Once the Mod Podge dried, the surface was still pretty oily from the vegetable oil. So I rubbed the surface with the paper towel and reapplied the Mod Podge. I did this three times and the oily residue was gone.


Step 10 – Hang Your Photo Blocks

I attached ribbon to my photo blocks from which to hang them.



It’s been a few months since I did this project and things have changed. After a few months, the paper little paper that was left on the wood must have dried and started to show throw. It started in little sections and then eventually the whole picture was cloudy.

I ended up peeling off the picturing, sanding the wood again, printing the picture again (not flipped), and just Mod Podging the pictures directly onto the wood block. I’m sad that you can’t see the wood grain, but they still look good without transferring the picture.

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