As I mentioned in my previous post my Halloween Candle Holder project went waaaay south the first time (graphic transfer was pretty spotty, I put one of the images on upside down etc etc) BUT attempt #2 seems better so I thought I’d do a little step-by-step to detail my learning curve.
I started out with my basic, scrap wood candle holder. To make it:
- I cut three strips of plywood to 12×2″ size
- Glued them together using wood glue and clamps
- Sanded it smooth with my handheld circular sander
- Drilled 3 holes in the top using a 2 1/8 Forstner bit
- And, finally, painted it with some orange craft paint allowing the wood grain to show through a bit
- NOTE: It really is orange! The color keeps changing in the photos but I swear it’s orange!
After the paint dried I sanded it again, by hand, using a 220 grit sandpaper.
- This 2nd sanding is key – and I think skipping it was big part of my previous fail. A super-smooth surface lends itself to a good transfer.
After that it was on to image transfer.
For this step I had my minwax Polycrylic (Satin), my images, printed in reverse on plain old legal paper, a brush, some paper towels and (not pictured, sorry!) a brayer/roller.
My “images” are just a combination of text and some clip art – (mostly from The Graphics Fairy)
I don’t know if anyone would want to do this exact project but if you do here is the reversed print sheet in a high resolution download: Vintage Halloween Graphic Reverse Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road
After applying a good layer of polycrylic – (good coverage ensures a good transfer)
I placed my image, face-down, on top and, using the brayer/roller thingy pressed it into place, smoothing out wrinkles and squeezing out excess polycrilic
(and this is where you’ll want to have the paper towels on hand to clean up any drips)
This is another key step. You want to press down hard and make sure there is really good contact between the paper and the wood. Roll in all directions to make sure you get good contact everywhere.
Drying Time: I live in hot, dry Southern California so I just leave my stuff in the sun for a few hours. If you’r in a cooler or damper climate you might want to let it dry overnight.
Then, using a pretty wet cloth just gently rub away the paper to reveal the image.
Now here is the part about image transfer that doesn’t seem to get mentioned a lot. Yes, the graphic transfers but there is also always a super thin layer of paper left behind. When you first rub it with the damp cloth everything will look great and then, when it dries you’ll get this:
You can do another round or two of rubbing with the damp cloth to remove more paper but you’ll never totally get rid of all of it.
But, not to worry, once you seal it the white paper fades again.
So, on you last pass with the damp cloth
use a dry cloth to get rid of any excess moister and immediately seal it with poly (or Mod Podge or any other sealer) and you’ll be good to go!
So, the first time I tried this I ended up with a bit of a mess of poorly transferred graphics.
My fixes solved that problem but, this time around, they transferred so well that I had to go back in and “distress” some of them with sandpaper to get the look I wanted
I do promise to get off the plywood candle holder kick soon but, even if you have no intention of doing it I hope these projects at least spark some ideas.
And if you DO make one -please send pics!