DIY Wood Transfer Christmas Ornaments

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You can make your own Christmas ornaments.
Image Credit: Lucy Akins

This fun image to wood transfer method is easy and extremely versatile. You can choose any image you wish to transfer, in color or black and white. With it you can create DIY wood ornaments that are either very large pieces to display on your walls, or smaller pieces like these beautiful reindeer ornaments for your mantle, banister or Christmas tree.


Things You'll Need

  • Wood ornaments or wood slices for a rustic look

  • Craft paint

  • Paintbrush

  • White printer paper, preferably lightweight

  • Printer

  • Image to transfer (reversed using photo editing software)

  • Scissors

  • Acrylic gel medium or decoupage medium

  • Credit card or popsicle stick

  • Sponge or towel

  • Dish or tray


Laser printed images on lightweight printer paper work best for this photo transfer to wood method.

Step 1: Paint Your DIY Wood Ornaments

Paint the wood ornament (optional) and let it dry overnight.

Step 2: Print Out the Image and Cut It Out

Print out the image you would like to apply to your ornament on regular or lightweight white paper. Cut and trim the image to the size of the ornament.


Step 3: Apply Acrylic Gel Medium or Decoupage Medium

Apply the acrylic gel medium or decoupage medium with the paintbrush directly onto the front of the images as well as to your wood ornament. Make sure that you cover the entire surface area of each evenly.


Apply gel medium evenly. Take your time and try not to get the medium too thick, but not too thin, either.

While the gel is still wet, place the image (facing down) onto the wooden surface. Lightly press the image down with your fingers so that the paper sticks to the surface.


With a credit card or popsicle stick, lightly burnish the surface with smooth, even pressure. Set aside and allow to dry completely.


Make sure you burnish with steady pressure -- not so lightly that the gel doesn't adhere to the paper, but not so hard that the gel is pushed out from underneath to the edges.

Step 4: Press Over the Image With a Sponge or Paper Towel

When the gel or decoupage medium is completely dry (we recommend waiting overnight), dip a sponge or a towel in water and press over the image. This will reveal the image and start to remove the paper backing.


Step 5: Moisten and Rub Off the Paper Pulp

Use your finger to gently rub the paper pulp off the transferred image. Continue the moistening and rubbing process until most of the paper has been removed.

Step 6: Remove Any Remaining Paper Residue

Wipe off any additional paper residue with a clean paper towel.


Step 7: Protect Your Work With Decoupage Medium or Sealant

Apply a light coat of decoupage medium or sealant on top to protect your transferred image.


For a frosted windowpane look, use a stencil brush to stipple white paint around the edges of your ornament ​on top of​ the medium or sealant on the decoupage photo ornament. Watch our video above to view the process.

Step 8: Display Your DIY Wooden Christmas Ornament

Hang your beautiful DIY wood ornament on the Christmas tree. With this transfer method, you can customize your tree with images in any style or color.