How to put a photo on wood and seal it

Updated April 17, 2017

If you are looking for a creative and personalised option to display pictures inside your home, consider mounting a photograph to a wood plaque or block. Whether you have a slab of oak or a piece of rich mahogany wood, you can design a plaque with a colour and texture of wood to bring out the qualities of your photograph. You can put a photo on a section of wood and seal it permanently to create a decorative plaque or centrepiece.

Prepare the surface of the wood. Sand the wood to a smooth finish with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any rough spots or inconsistencies on the surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Mix one part water with two parts Elmer's glue. Stir rapidly to create a complete mixture.

Dip picture into the glue and water mix, completely submerging the photograph into the liquid. Pull photograph out once all surface is dampened.

Press the back side of the photograph onto the wood. Use a damp rag to smooth over the photograph and remove excess liquid. Press any bubbles from under the picture. Allow glue to dry for 24 hours before continuing.

Brush a thin layer of polyurethane over the wood surface. Cover the photograph in the same manner and direction as the wood. Do not stop on the picture at any point with the foam brush. Allow polyurethane to dry for six hours and apply a second coat. Allow polyurethane to dry for 24 hours before hanging on the wall or setting out for display.


Use clear-drying Elmer's School Glue to complete this project. Wood glue, glue sticks, and super glue will not work well for this project. Consider staining the wood 24 hours prior to placing the photo on the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Elmer's glue
  • Bowl
  • Damp rag
  • Foam paint brush
  • Polyurethane
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About the Author

Nicole Byerly has been writing since 2003. She has published multiple works that have appeared in "Campus Philly." Byerly is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity at Utica College.