How to print letters on wood

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to print letters on wood
You can iron-on transfers with a home iron. (electric iron image by Falk from

Wood is very versatile --- over the years, it has been used for everything from signs to toys, and often these products are printed or painted to create a specific image on the wood. Today, with modern computer technology and home printing machines, it is possible to print onto wood from home. This means you can add details to your wood projects that are very fine and you can reproduce these details on more than one piece.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Ink jet printer
  • Transfer paper
  • Cotton fabric
  • Wood
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Open the photo handling program that was installed or came with your computer. If you don't have a generic program then download a free program from a trusted online source. The only features the program needs is the ability to produce letters and to mirror the letters (view them in reverse).

  2. 2

    Select a logo of your company or an image of a sign you like. This will allow you to print letters onto the wood. Use the photo handling program to reverse the letters so that everything is backwards. Save this image to your desktop and print it out on your ink jet printer. If you are satisfied with the size of the image, you are ready to make your first print.

  3. 3

    Insert transfer paper into your printer so that the image will print onto the transfer surface. Print a copy onto the transfer paper.

  4. 4

    Turn your iron to the cotton setting (the highest setting). Place your well sanded (very smooth) wood surface face up on the ironing board. Position your transfer print face down over the wood. Place a piece of thin cotton fabric over the transfer.

  5. 5

    Iron over the cotton fabric until the paper is beginning to transfer. You can check by lifting one edge just enough to see the image. Remove the cotton and iron until the image has completely transferred.

Tips and warnings

  • The first sample you try should be a trial piece to familiarise yourself with how the ink and transfer paper work. Once you have a feel for what's possible you can make wood tiles, decorate doll houses, add signs to model railroads and create a host of other projects. Just remember to reverse words and letters before printing.

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