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A New Way To Transfer Images to Wood

A New Way to Transfer Graphics to WoodAs you know I’m always looking for good ways to transfer images.

I ‘ve used Mod Podge Transfer

I’ve experimented with Blender Pens

I’ve used Liquitex Gel.

I have to say all the results were satisfactory but each had drawbacks either due to expense, time or versatility.

So, when I read about the Wall Lenk Transfer Tool that transfers images to wood I thought it sounded awesome!Wall Lenk Transfer Tool I read about it, researched it and, quick as a flash, plunged right in and bought it online.

It arrived!

I was so intrigued and excited I immediately set it aside!

For a year!

(honestly I had no idea it had been a whole year until I checked my Amazon order history.  I thought, maybe, 6 months ago……time flies when you are running a sweatshop having fun!)

But, I have now opened it, tested it out and am here to make my report.

First off, you get what you pay for ($17)…..it’s veeeery basic.  So basic and so potentially hazardous that it makes you wonder how this is allowed to be sold.  Or, more specifically,  given my history, how it is allowed to be sold to someone like me.

It works via heat transfer and, to put it simply, the metal end just gets super hot and then you rub it on your image and that transfers the ink to the wood (or fabric or whatever).

There is no “on/off” switch.  It’s either plugged in and on its way to being insanely hot or it’s unplugged and just lurking around being a little bit less insanely hot.  I didn’t have any moments like I did with the heat gun but the potential for disaster seems to be there.

So, onto the test.

While I was home in Ohio my sister Paula and I, intrigued by all the cool yardstick projects around but dismayed by the insanely high cost of “vintage” yardsticks began to toy around with the idea of making big, faux, versions.  I thought “This is the perfect project to try out my  brand new year old tool!”

I got right to work!

And just three short months later I did it!!! When I get excited about an idea nothing gets in my way!

So, I started out with some poplar wood cut down to size, painted, sanded smooth and a bit distressed.  I wanted it to look like two different rulers so one side was light blue and the other white.Faux Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadTip Number One  – to optimize the transfer the wood must be very, very smooth and the paint (if there is paint) must be given lots of time to dry.

I came up with a couple of ruler designs in PhotoshopFaux Yardstick Design By Cheltenham Road

 

Faux Vintage Yardstick Pattern by Cheltenham RoadI reversed them and printed them out.

Tip Number Two: the prints need to be laser copies or prints – ink jet prints won’t work.

I plugged in the Lenk and, following the directions  gave it about 8 minutes to heat up.

I had read in the Amazon reviews that you needed to “burn off” some of the heat unless you were actually trying to start a small fire.  I burned off the heat by just touching the tool to a piece of scrap wood.  As you can see by the photo it took quite a few touches before it stopped burning the wood –Image Transfer with Wall Lenk Tool Cheltenham Road

But it didn’t take too long.

After that it was just a matter of rubbing it slowly over the image.   You can see where, even though I’d burned off some of the heat, it still scorched the paper a bit.Transfer an Image to Wood Cheltenham Road Tutorial I found that applying a light pressure worked well and going back over the image a few times was also key.

There is no real way to tell if you’ve succeeded or not until you peel away the paper.Transfer an Image Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOn the plus side though, if you peel away the paper slowly you can see if you’ve missed a spot and it’s very easy to just lay the paper back down and give it a few more rubs.  I did this in a couple of spots and it worked out just fine.

In a few places, where I guess I pressed to hard or let it heat too much, the paper stuck to the wood.Image Transfer Tutorial Cheltenham Road

But it was very easy to just dampen a cloth a bit and rub it away.

My box was 24″ long so I couldn’t print out the full ruler on one sheet of paper so I did it in sections and just lined them up.  Once again it was pretty easy.Make a Giant Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadAfter that, I gave my “rulers” a quick coat of wax and assembled the box using a pin nailer (screws or regular nails would work just as well).Easy image transfer tool Cheltenham Road TutorialTransfer Images to Wood - Tutorial Cheltenham RoadThe images transferred very nicely – I like the level of distress and you do have some control over just how distressed you want it to be

Image Transfer Vintage Yardstick TutorialI think, other than the possible risk of burning your house down, this tool offers a lot of advantages.  The transfer takes place quickly (no waiting overnight) and once you buy the tool there is nothing else to purchase.Vintage Ruler Image Transfer Project Cheltenham Road

Also, it’s a true transfer – you don’t end up leaving a thin film of paper so that frees you up as far as background color(s) etc.

Now that I’ve tested it out I’m already thinking of tons of other possible projects (which you will be subjected to I assure you).

 

Please check out these link-parties for more great ideas:link-party-palooza-banner

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

 

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About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

23 responses »

  1. I’m wondering if the ‘Gilman’ ruler was pure coincidence. Looks great!

    Reply
  2. I love this! I’ve done the paper transfers using gesso or whatever, where you dampen and peel the paper off but it always leaves that white fuzzy haze. This came out great!

    Reply
    • Jesse that’s exactly what I liked about it too. It also frees you up to put images down over other colors without boarders or clear demarcations between where the image ends and the wood/background begins (that probably makes no sense but I’m saying it with great passion so let’s just roll with it)

      Reply
  3. I love this! I love your writing style AND your design aesthetic! I totally want to order a Lenk, and, after an appropriate aging period of several weeks to several months in the middle of a carefully curated pile of stuff, make something super-cool just like you did! Thanks David!!!

    Reply
  4. I bought the same tool, but has less success with it than you did. If I can figure out where it is buried in my workshop, I may need to give it another shot! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Reply
  5. When I was doing stained glass, I had a temperature controller that I plugged my soldering tool into. That way I could control the amount of heat that I needed. I would think that would work for this tool. Just an idea.

    Reply
    • I don’t understand. That would totally eliminate the element of danger we are all looking for in our craft projects.
      (actually I didn’t know there was such a thing. That’s a great idea)

      Reply
      • Yeah, you can get them wherever they sell stained glass tools. You needed your soldering iron hot enough to melt the solder but not so hot that it melted the lead came.

  6. Have Mercy!! You crack me up reading this stuff. Seems we could be friends with our delayed creative endeavor’s. Thanks for the great project idea, maybe….just maybe sometime next year I will try this idea out. Keep the post coming I love reading them.

    Reply
  7. Great work. Great writing. As always.

    Reply
  8. Wow, this looks great. I have a tool similar to this that I bought about a year ago and had the same issue with burning and it smelled awful. Thanks to your inspiration, I’m going to give it another try. Thanks for sharing at our Vintage Inspiration Party.

    Reply
  9. Very cool, I like how the ruler turned out.

    Reply
  10. Love the ruler box! Not sure about that tool though. But if it is heat that does the trick would a hot iron work too? Hmm, must experiment with that.
    Anyway great project, thanks for linking it up to the VIP party.

    Reply
  11. how did i not know that you have a blog?! i purchased coasters from you in 2011, and have always loved your style. so happy to follow you here, on FB and Pinterest 🙂

    Reply
  12. I’ve heard about this for many years, supposedly it’s used by woodworkers to transfer patterns to wood (to then cut out). I love the ruler idea since I can’t seem to find any to buy. Do you need to clear coat the finished product, or does the ink stay put?

    Reply

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