How to transfer a picture & text to a wood plaque

Written by paul young
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How to transfer a picture & text to a wood plaque
Wooden plaques are often used to display inspirational messages. (plaque image by Terry Reimink from

Through modern digital technology and some older technology as well, a wooden plaque can be crafted to display a favourite photograph. This craft project can be accomplished using a computer, printer, carbon paper and a wood burner. Plaques adorned with photographs can be used as personal gift ideas to commemorate a number of occasions or used to decorate a home. In addition to transferring a picture to a plaque, some text can also be transferred as well, adding a special message or descriptive wording to a plaque.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Digital copy of photo to be transferred
  • Photoshop or other photo editor
  • Printer
  • Carbon paper
  • Pencil
  • Plaque
  • Wood burner

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  1. 1

    Open up the digital copy of the picture to be transferred in your preferred photo editor on your computer. Use the "Text" feature on the program to write text in the desired place on the picture. Save the picture to your computer.

  2. 2

    Change the picture to a black and white image. In the Photoshop program, this is accomplished by selecting the "Grayscale" setting in the "Image" menu under the "Mode" sub-menu. Additionally, the quality of the picture will need to be lowered. In Photoshop, you can do this by applying the "Film Grain" filter, found under the "Artistic" sub-menu. Print the picture.

  3. 3

    Tape the carbon paper to the plaque and tape the picture to be transferred to the top of the carbon paper.

  4. 4

    Trace over the image with the pencil, being sure to include any shaded parts. Be sure to trace over the text on the picture, as well; this process will transfer the picture and text on to the plaque.

  5. 5

    Remove the picture and carbon paper and use the pencil to fill in any areas that did not transfer well from the carbon paper.

  6. 6

    Trace over the image on the plaque with the wood burner. If the wood burner gives the option for a low heat option, use a low heat setting. Additionally, a thin tip on the wood burner is recommended for transferring something as detailed as a picture.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are using a wood burner with just one heat setting, move the burner with faster movement to make lighter lines. After completing the transfer, a coat of stain can add a nice finishing touch to the project.
  • When transferring the image using the carbon paper, go light on the details since wood burners do not shade images with values well.

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