How to laminate a photo to wood

Laminating a photo to a piece of wood uses the process of découpage. Decoupaging puts a clear hard sealer over the top of a picture and permanently secures it to the piece of wood. A special brush-on decoupaging solution is available at local hobby and craft stores. The solution dries clear and creates a hard permanent surface. Varnish is another option to seal the photo to a piece of wood. The problem with varnish is it distorts the colour on some photographs.

Cover a flat stable work surface with newspaper. Wipe any dust from the surface of the wood plaque. Place the wood plaque on the work surface.

Turn the photo over so the back is facing up. Squeeze a line of white glue 1/2-inch in from the edges of the photo. Spread the glue on the back of the photograph with your finger to create a very thin layer. Keep the glue 1/8-inch in from all edges.

Turn the photo over so the glued surface is on the bottom. Hold the photo over the wood plaque and determine the desired position. Put the photo straight down on the plaque. Carefully smooth the photo onto the wood surface beginning in the middle of the photo working your way out to the edges. Carefully wipe off any glue showing around the edges. Allow the glue to dry for 15 minutes.

Open the découpage solution. Gently dip the paintbrush in the solution trying not to create any bubbles.

Place the edge of the paintbrush in the top left hand corner. Pull the paintbrush straight down the wood plaque. Repeat the process until the plaque is covered with découpage solution. Add more solution to the paintbrush as needed. Allow the layer to dry 30 minutes. Repeat the process for a total of three layers.


Other solutions that work to découpage or laminate a photo to wood are lacquer, varnish and white glue. The white glue is watered down slightly to help with spreadability. Use the same process to cover the photo on the desired piece of wood. Allow each layer to dry completely before continuing.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Wood plaque
  • Soft lint-free cloth
  • Photograph
  • White glue
  • Découpage solution
  • Paintbrush
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About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."