I feel like Pinterest has failed me. So I keep seeing all of these beautiful tutorials about how to transfer an image to a piece of wood. They lure you in and make it seem super easy and then bam. They’re like, oh you just need to smear it with some gel medium. What the heck is gel medium and where to I find it? Apparently not at my local Walmart.
The tutorials that don’t require gel medium say you can use a t-shirt photo transfer paper. Technically you can do this and I did… three times, and it still didn’t turn out very pretty and that stuff is incredibly hard to sand off. So just don’t even go there. I waited until two days before a wedding to complete the gift I planned to give. I wanted to do the gel medium thing but then my Walmart didn’t have gel medium.
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Okay, fast forward a few months later and I’m going to be prepared for the next wedding I go to. So I make the 45-minute drive to my nearest Hobby Lobby because my in-laws keep giving me gift cards because we’re all a bunch of craft obsessed freaks.
So I find the boxes I want to use as gifts and it turns out they’re on sale. So I’m super excited about that. Then I go to look for this “gel medium” stuff. I do a quick search on the hobby lobby website and it tells me it’s with the Mod Podge. I find it. Thank the heavens. It’s called Photo Transfer Medium. You can get it on Amazon too. Even when you search “Gel Medium” on Amazon it comes up in the search results. The universe is conspiring against me.
I’m so excited to do this project.
Fast forward another couple months and I finally get around to trying this project out. I had to stain my boxes and wait for them to dry and I’m just slow when it comes to completing craft projects.
Here we go. I’ve got my images, I’ve got my Photo Transfer Medium, and my boxes. I had to print the words out twice because I forgot they needed to be backwards. The text is an exerpt from the poem “Never Gonna Give You Up” by: Rick Astley. If you like this font it’s called Tiza and you can download it here.
I got halfway through spreading the photo transfer medium on the boxes before I decided to check the website and realized I was only supposed to apply it to the image. Oops. So I did both boxes. I mean, I should have done one to make sure it worked but YOLO.
One of these is for a wedding in two weeks. The other is from a wedding about a year and a half ago. I thought I had until September but in March they’re like “Hey, we’re getting married in three weeks, hope you can make it.” They planned to have a reception where everyone could make it but haven’t so I just haven’t gotten around to making their wedding box yet.
So it’s been a couple days since I did these and I’ve been waiting for them to dry and I check on them and the photo transfer medium is still pretty white. In all the tutorials it’s clear. What’s going on?
This is like 5 days later. Eeep. This is not good. This is not what I planned. Why did I do this to both of my presents?
And the final result which looks horrible. So I’m going to have to do some sanding and maybe whitewash paint the rest of the box to get this resembling something that looks presentable.
To be fair I did think about testing this on a scrap piece of wood, but I figured what was the worst that could happen.
Pinterest did not prepare me for this.
Please excuse me while I go whitewash some boxes.
Apparently you can use this stuff for transfering images to fabric. So I’ll have to try that out… on white fabric. Ugh. But hey, if I ever have something that’s already whitewashed this stuff would probably work great.
Have You Made this Mistake?
Let me know about your own Pinterest fails. We’ve all made something that hasn’t come out as planned.