Transferring Inkjet Designs to Wood


Many times we create projects that require lettering or could use a little something extra to make them stand out. While we always have the option of painting on these graphics, we know that hand painting that can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming. Other times, we may want to add something to the background of our to make them more interesting, but we just don’t know where to start and don’t feel that our artistic abilities are up to par. So where do we turn?

A few weeks ago, I saw a video made by my friend Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals ( which had a wonderful answer to that question. In his video, he showed how easy it could be to transfer any computer image to a wood or painted project using your own home inkjet printer. Steve’s demonstration used the leftover backing paper from common labels to transfer any image he printed onto any project he chose. I had read how you can transfer images using a laser printer, but not only did that limit you to using black images, but you usually needed to head to your local office supply or printer to obtain the copy of the image. But with Steve’s method, because you use your home printer, you are able to transfer both color and black and white images without having to run to your local office supply or copy store to use a laser printer. (You can watch the video on YouTube here:

I was fascinated by this method, and thought that it would be great to incorporate it into my Hare Garden Marker scroll saw pattern. While I liked the idea of using the waste backing from label sheets, I experimented with a couple of other types of paper and found what I feel is an even better way to use the process in our projects. The label backing sheets worked fine, but I found that I couldn’t see exactly where I was applying the image. I thought about it a bit and I found that using clear sheet protectors worked just as well. Since they were transparent, I was able to place the image exactly where I needed it to be. Not only that – but I found that they were more readily available and cheaper to use, as you didn’t have to waste or use a full sheet of labels in order to try different things. I found sheet protectors at my local Staples store for about $6 for 25 sheets. I am sure that you are able to find them just about anywhere at similar prices.

Scroll Saw Hare Garden Markers Pattern
I used my Hare Garden Markers scroll saw pattern (# SLD453) to experiment with this technique.

Material & Supplies Needed

  • Clear sheet protector (light weight will do)
  • Plain piece of paper
  • Inkjet Printer
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel, small cosmetic sponge, or soft cloth
  • Clear Matte spray finish or Krylon Workable Fixatif


Scan in or cue up the image you wish to print on your computer in your photo editing program. Check your printer to be sure that it prints multi-media. I have a cheap (under $100) Canon Pixma printer and it prints card stock and thicker material from the back tray, so I thought it would be best to use that. I experimented with several printer settings, and found that printing on “Glossy Paper – High” worked the best for me. I strongly encourage you to try different settings on your own printer to achieve a finished look that you desire. Since the sheet protectors are so inexpensive, it is well worth the time and materials to do this so that the finished project comes out how you like it.

Insert a sheet of paper into the sheet protector. This helps the sheet remain rigid when going through the printer and offers stability. Use the
scissors to cut off the side tab of the sheet protector so it will fit into your printer. Make sure you don’t cut too close, as you want the back and front pieces of the sheet protector to remain attached together.

Print your image onto the sheet, using a ‘high’ setting. Be careful how you handle the sheet once it is printed. The ink is wet, and stays wet for a very long time. Pick up the sheet by the edges and don’t allow anything to come into contact with it, as it will smear very easily. Have your work space neat and ready once you print.

Use A Sheet Protector
Cut the excess off your sheet protector.

No Touchie!

Use the scissors to cut apart the herb names, again being careful not to touch the wet ink. Work with one name at a time and leave the remaining names off to the side in a safe place where you won’t bump them or touch them. This seems obvious, but I hate to tell you how many times I ‘accidentally’ handled or set something on the remaining names! It took me a few tries to learn NOT to touch them!

Carefully Cut Apart The Sections
I carefully cut my names apart from each other.

Carefully insert the tape (STICKY SIDE UP) under the edge of the name and gently press the edge to adhere to the tape. You can use a Popsicle stick or tweezers to press the edge to the tape so you avoid touching the ink and smudging it.

Attach Tape To Edge
Attach tape to the edge as shown.

Lift the piece up by the tape and hold it into position over the marker. Remember that once it touches the surface, the ink transfers instantly and it cannot be moved. I leaned to the tape side and positioned it over the marker, then I gently rolled it forward, being careful not to move it from side to side at all.

Tape The Plastic To Your Scroll Saw Project
Tape the printing to your work piece.

Once it is in place, hold it down by the taped edge and use a folded paper towel, cosmetic sponge or soft cloth to GENTLY rub the ink onto your marker. I tried this using my finger, but the moisture of my finger caused it to stick to the plastic and moved it every time. Using the paper towel, sponge or cloth eliminated this problem completely.

Rub The Ink Onto Your Wood
Rub gently with a paper towel to transfer the ink.

Carefully remove the plastic overlay piece, lifting it straight off of the marker so you don’t smudge it.

Immediately spray a light mist of matte finish or Krylon Workable Fixitif over the piece to set the ink. After it dries, you can then handle the pieces normally.

Spray A Finish To Seal The Ink
Spray a finish over your work piece to seal the ink.

The Results

You can see the wonderful results of this process. Not only did you save a lot of time, but you didn’t have to paint the tedious lettering! I love this process and I can think of many other ways this process will benefit me in my scroll saw and painting projects.

What is nice about this is that there are so many wonderful graphics that you can use that the possibilities are just about endless. One great place to find many wonderful free to use and royalty free pictures and graphics is The Graphics Fairy online. The web address for them is They have thousands of beautiful color and monotone images that can be used on backgrounds, for lettering or just about anything else you can think of. You could even try using pictures of your friends and families and printing them on wood with a beautiful scrolled frame!

Scroll Saw Bunny Garden Marker
The finished result.


I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial and give this process a try. I really think that it will open the door to many different ways of creating unique projects with your scroll saw!

Remember to stop by Steve’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals site at  – not only to see the video, but also to see the hundreds of wonderful SIMPLE projects that he offers. Steve makes a new video each week and his ideas are not only practical, but also fun and easy. Be sure to sign up for his weekly newsletter as well. There is always something fun and easy to learn!

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