Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Image Transfer Onto Bedside Table Using Mod Podge

I was on the verge of putting this little bedside table into a yard sale and then decided I really should use it in the guest room instead.  Since I'm crazy for image transfers, I hunted for one (at The Graphics Fairy, of course)  that would suit the piece.  I simply enlarged the image into three separate parts that fit on letter sized paper using Word.

After painting two coats of white acrylic, I set to work using the photocopies printed using toner and burnished the image using Citra Solv and to my surprise, it blurred badly.  I painted over the drawers and tried again.  Another fail.  This method worked perfectly on my J.P Coats sewing box project so I was at a loss to figure out why it wouldn't work on this piece, as I had even used the very same paint on it.

I thought I must be doing something wrong so I found some tiny images I had on hand and tried to transfer them onto the sides of a drawer where it wouldn't show, and all three times every one of them blurred badly.  I am completely stumped as to why it wouldn't work this time.

I was not going to give up easily, so I did some research and decided to try out the Mod Podge image transfer method.

I followed the directions as outlined in this really good tutorial, and the dang image rubbed off as I worked on the first drawer, so - another fail. 

I felt defeated but began to work on the second drawer, gently rubbing off only a thin layer the wet paper as instructed, and then decided I was tired of it, so I left it alone overnight to be worked on the next day.

Leaving it to dry overnight after wetting it again and removing a thin layer of paper seems to be the key.  

The next morning, I saturated the leftover paper again, gently rubbing it off, and the image had firmly set onto the paint and didn't come off this time around.

So in a nutshell, this is how I managed to get a good transfer:

Brush a moderate amount of Mod Podge over the image on your photocopy - use cheap thin paper, it's easier to remove later.  Don't brush the Mod Podge onto white spaces  - you'll waste time rubbing it off later.  Don't use an excessive amount of Mod Podge, but don't be stingy either.


Position and then lie your copy onto the painted item print side down and gently remove bubbles or wrinkles with your fingertips or a flat item (a credit card would work well).  Do this step gently or you will rip the paper.  Also! make sure your print is properly oriented.  I put one upside down on a drawer by mistake. FUUUU....!  If you are transferring the image to drawers, make sure the images line up perfectly.  I taped my image down and used an Exacto knife to cut the print between the drawers.

Let your piece dry for 24 hours.

Put down newspaper because the next step is messy.  Completely saturate your photocopy with water (I used a spray bottle) and gently rub the paper off with your fingertips using a circular motion. Key word: Gently.  You won't be removing all the paper, there will still be a layer left.  Keep your paper damp as you work.   You will find this step to be time consuming. It's tedious, but be patient and stop yourself from wanting too rub hard because you will end up removing the image.

Let your piece fully dry again for at least 10 hours. 

Completely saturate the paper and gently rub it off with your fingertips again, some more, ad nauseum. 

You may have to repeat these last two steps a few times based on how much Mod Podge you used and whether Jupiter is aligned with Mars or not.  It's hard to say which affects the process more.

I much prefer the quick and easy method using Citra Solv, but if this is the only way to transfer an image onto a painted surface, then it was worth it in the end.

After the image had set and was ready to go, I painted a thin coat of Mod Podge all over the drawer fronts to make sure the faux finish would cover evenly over the areas of the image where trace bits of paper remained.

Next, I applied a glaze (half glaze, half leftover acrylic taupe paint) to give the piece an aged look, and added some drawer pulls that were salvaged from a dresser that was given a makeover a while ago.

Cost of project: zero.  My favourite amount to spend on stuff.

Here is the bedside table before the transformation, in danger of a rehoming: 

As an aside, I often see comments from people who use French ephemera saying that they have no idea what the words mean.  I read an entry where a woman said she chose to believe a transfer she used meant something dreamy and romantic and it literally said 'Quality chicken feed wholesalers.' 


This particular image I have used is either the work of someone not very knowledgeable in French who threw some unrelated and random items together for this ad, or else stores in France sold a weird assortment of goods way back when.

This place sells clothing, stationery, bootmakers' items and cutlery.  That's sort of like a pastry shop selling doorknobs and pillows.


  1. So glad you tried this and are sharing it with us! It's amazing, certainly better than painting it on. I will have to try this some day.....

  2. I didn't even know you could do this! Much better than the wrinkly mod podge. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Oh la la Linda, How have I missed this posting? It turned out beautiful. I've not tried the transfer method of any kind yet because I read about conflicting reviews of the so many methods. I can't stand the re-do method and it seems that I'm good at finding those kinds of projects. You have the patience of Job to have stuck with it~I sure admire that...need some of that to rub of on me! lol

  4. I happened to stumble upon your blog while I was researching mod podge transfer disasters....haha. I am currently in the "rubbing off step" of a transfer onto a ceramic lamp. At this point I am ready to scrap it! I am so frustrated. I may have gone a little heavy on the mod podge and am rubbing so hard that the image is starting to lift. I'm not sure where to go from here, but seeing that you did yours a little at a time, I am going to go forward. Wish me luck!

    1. Yeah, stick with it and go slow is my advice. You've got to have patience using this method and that's hard to muster up when you're excited to see the finished project already!

      Good luck!

  5. Wow! This looks sooo pretty! What a transformation, it's just beautiful:)

  6. Great job! I love how it turned out! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Amazing it! Pop in for a visit sometime at
    Found you at my daughter's site Trendy Treehouse.....have an awesome weekend, NeeCee

    1. Thank you so much, and I'll be sure to stop by!

  8. Lovely work. you have outstanding thoughts. and implementation of this work is just too good.
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