How to Lacquer a Photo to Wood


Decoupage is the technique of applying paper to an object or wall and then applying many coats of varnish to create a lacquer finish, or one that is smooth, transparent and highly resilient. Although the term comes from the French word meaning "to cut," decoupage was developed in second century China. But it was the Europeans who elevated decoupage to an art form. In Italy, apprentices applied up to 15 coats of varnish to create a lacquer finish. But for a wooden picture frame, you don't have to apply nearly as many coats -- even just half as much will result in a gleaming lacquer finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Photo
  • Flat wooden frame
  • Sharp scissors, craft knife or X-Acto knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Pencil
  • Decoupage medium (such as Mod Podge)
  • Disposable foam brushes
  • Cotton swab
  • Brayer (a miniature rolling pin)
  • Acrylic varnish (semi-gloss or gloss finish)
  • Wipe the frame with a damp paper towel to ensure it is free of dust. Let the frame dry thoroughly.

  • Cut out your photo so that it looks exactly as you wish it to appear on the wooden frame. A craft or X-Acto knife will enable you to make finer, more precise cuts, such as around fingers or other small details in the photo.

  • Optional: Apply a light layer of spray adhesive to the back of the photo, and press the photo onto the wooden frame. Ensure that you like the positioning of the photo; if not, carefully pick it up and reposition it. The spray adhesive will keep your photo in place but will not provide a permanent seal. Once you are satisfied with the positioning, put a pencil mark on the frame to note the placement of the upper edge of the photo.

  • Coat the back of the photo with a thin layer of decoupage medium using a disposable foam brush. Place the photo on the frame and smooth it out with your fingertips to work out any air bubbles. Press the edges of the photo with your fingernail to secure them. If glue oozes out, wipe the glue with a cotton swab.

  • Make sure that the brayer is clean before rolling it over the photo several times. Coat the front of the photo with a thin layer of decoupage medium with a disposable foam brush to seal the photo to the wood.

  • Coat the photo and the entire front of the frame with acrylic varnish with a disposable foam brush. Let the frame dry. Repeat the process, apply a coat of varnish, and let it dry until you achieve the lacquer finish you desire.

  • Run your hand over the frame during a "dry phase" to ensure that the surface is perfectly smooth. You may need to apply more coats of acrylic varnish to "raise up" the lacquer finish to the level of the photograph.

Related Searches


  • "Decorating with Paint & Paper"; Karin Strom; 1999
  • "Paint Recipes"; Liz Wagstaff; 1996
  • "Simple Painted Furniture"; Annie Sloan; 1989
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Apply Lacquer

    Lacquer is known for creating beautiful finishes, making it a popular choice among furniture makers and custom finishers. You don't need to...

  • How to Finish Canvas Prints With Lacquer

    Canvas is a great material to paint or print on, as it is long-lasting and tough, but also looks striking and is...

  • How to Paint Over Lacquered Woodwork

    Lacquer woodwork finishes are available in a number of sheens. Lacquer finish helps seal wood for lasting durability. Whether glossy or matte,...

  • How to Lacquer Cabinets

    Lacquer is a fast-drying finish that gives cabinets a glossy shine while creating a protective coating. Due to its fast-drying nature, lacquer...

  • How to Varnish a Photo Onto Wood

    Varnishing a photo onto wood is a simple craft that can be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. For best...

  • How to Thin Lacquer

    If you are having problems with lacquer, such as bubbles, extended drying times, or rough finishes, you might need thinner lacquer. Thick...

  • Lacquer Craft

    Painting lacquer on the surface of crafts not only protects them, it also enhances their attractiveness. Lacquer can be used on wood,...

Related Searches

Check It Out

DIY Wood Transfer Christmas Ornaments

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!