So many exciting changes going on in life right now. As I mentioned in my last couple of posts my family is currently knee-deep in the process of opening up a restaurant in our little sea-side community of New Smyrna Beach, FL. My talented daughter and her husband, who has just completed his commitment to the Air Force, have moved back to help with the project, as has my wondering adventurer of a son. AND hubby and I have recently become grandparents for the first time – awesome!
And into the mix comes my son-in-laws thirtieth birthday. A thirtieth birthday is reason enough to celebrate, but now is also a great time to honor his military service to our country. So in addition to all the packing and unpacking, meeting with restaurant consultants, architects, landscapers, city planning… we throw in a party – why not.
More about the party later but for now I’m focusing on the gift my daughter made for her hubby – corn hole boards. If you haven’t heard of corn hole, which I can’t imagine, it’s a game where two teams try to toss bean bags (or in this case a corn bags), from some distance, through a small hole cut out of their competitors board. But my purpose for telling you all this is really to share the how-to process for doing a photo transfer on wood to personalize your corn hole boards.
You can buy corn hole boards and bags or make your own as we did.
Corn hole boards (plain unpainted)
Images printed on Laser printer (image reversed) using the lightest weight paper possible
Matte gel medium (in painting supplies at your craft store)
Paint brushes (foam or bristle, we preferred a 3″ foam)
Bone (crafting tool not body part), credit card or plastic scraper etc. (used to flatten and get the air out when you adhere the image)
Rags and a bucket of water
Drop cloth – it’s go’na get messy
Now comes the fun!
If you plan to enlarge the image make sure it has a high-resolution so that the image does not pixellated when it is enlarged. The picture will be placed face down so if it has words or objects that would be effected if they came out reversed, you will need to plan ahead and reverse the image before printing. You will eventually be rubbing the paper off the board so use as thin a paper as will print, we used 24lb). I must be printed on a laser printer. Make a couple of copies, just in case – trust me, we were glad we had extras.
Let’s get started.
Put a drop cloth down under your boards.
Most instructions will say to paint a thin layer of the matte gel medium on the right side of the image then carefully position it face down, on the surface of the board. However we found that the paper would curl and was difficult to handle so we ended up painting a medium thick layer of gel directly on the wood then placed the image face-down on top of the gel, but this only works if you know exactly where you want the image. Make sure to wipe away any exposed gel before it dries.
With a bone or a credit card or a plastic scraper (our preference was the scraper) carefully press the image, rub out all the air bubbles and make sure the edges are down. Gently wipe off any access gel.
Now the hardest step – waiting! For you patient types, the instructions call for you to wait 6-8 hours for the gel to completely dry. But, I’m sad to say, I’m NOT the patient type, so out came the hair dryer.
It’s time for some messy. Get your bucket of water and towels. You want your towel to very damp but not wet, if you tried you could still ring a bit of water out – very damp. Put the very damp towel on the top of the transfer until it is completely soaked, you will see the paper change color and look more translucent; it may take a minute or two (if you are using a large image work a small area at a time, you’ll see why in the next step.
Ready for your workout? Once the image is saturated you will need to rub off the paper. We alternated between using our fingers and using a wet rag wrapped around two fingers to gently, but firmly rub and rub and rub and rub the paper. Be extra careful along the edge not to rub off the image. Right away the paper sloughs off, but look close and you’ll see teeny little fibers still clinging to the image – they have to go. This can take a while.
When all the fibers have been buffed away you will be ready for a break, so take one while the image completely dries. If any pesky little fuzzies are still around, you will see them as the image is dries, you can moisten the area again and rub some more.
Once all the fuzzies are gone and the image is completely dry apply a coat of matte polyurethane and you’re done.
I wish I could share some pictures of the party but I was having so much fun I forgot to take them!