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How to transfer images to wicker

Good evening! I hope you are doing well.

I picked up this little storage chest about seven years ago from one of my local fabric stores and since then it has been put to good use! It has provided me with some great storage for my sewing supplies, art supplies and most recently some of my scrapbooking tools.

It’s hard to tell in the photo below, but this organizer has six long drawers which give me loads of storage space for all of those itty bitty things that are easily misplaced around my house. Don’t you just love it when storage pieces are not only functional but also look beautiful at the same time? I know I do!

Well unfortunately, I didn’t find this chest beautiful to look at anymore. For the past few years I had kept it hidden in my craft room closet because it was not something that I wanted out where everyone could see it. It wasn’t really ugly; I just found its finish a little boring. Time for a makeover!

 

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The one thing that it did have going for it was the decorative handle on the top. Amazing!

 

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Anyway…

Here is what my storage chest looks like now after its makeover.

What do you think?

 

 

I really am in love with it and the French vibe it has going on!

 

To transform this piece, I first painted it with a light gray whitewash, transferred images to the top and then gave the brass hardware a white and gray aged finish.

 

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Did you know that you can transfer images onto wicker? I wasn’t sure it was possible before I set out to work on this piece. Actually, I have transferred images to many surfaces before, but never to wicker. Why? Because I just couldn’t quite get my head around how I would transfer onto a textured surface. I decided to give it a try anyways and as you can tell from my after photos, my experiment was a success!

 

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Now that I have shared this with you, just think of all of the wicker items around your home that you can give a makeover to!

How about using this technique to transform a tray for the top of your dining room table or a basket for storing towels in your bathroom? You could even add some text to your transfer to personalize it. So much fun!

 

Now some of you may ask me, what is the best type of wicker to transfer to? For a successful image transfer onto wicker you will want to use something that is tightly woven and is fairly even in texture. If you were to transfer to a piece of wicker as shown in the photo below you most likely wouldn’t get good transfer from it. Why? Because this type of wicker is not flat. It would be impossible to have your transfer stick down firmly and evenly and you may lose some of your image in the process. We wouldn’t want that now would we?

 

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Do not use this type of wicker!

 

Here’s how I did it:

 

Supplies You’ll Need:

    • your wicker item.
    • a laser photocopied or laser printed image. I used the Engraved Roses printable from the Graphics Fairy found HERE.
    • white acrylic gesso.
    • acrylic craft paint in the color of your choice. I used DecorArt’s Americana “Driftwood”.
    • Golden Soft Gel Medium. I used semi-gloss.
    • OPTIONAL: Rub n’ Buff in the colour of your choice for the hardware. I used Antique White.
    • Krylon Matte Finish clear spray sealer or Mod Podge.
    • fine grit sandpaper. I recommend 220 or 400 grit.
    • medium sized paint brushes for applying paint and gel medium.
    • a spray bottle and tin foil.
    • ruler, pencil with eraser and scissors.
    • a plastic cup and a plate/tray for paint.
    • rubber brayer or flat spreader.
    • paper towels and/or a rag.
    • dish scrubber.
    • plastic drop cloth or newspaper to protect your workspace.

 

 

Directions:

 

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Step 1: Preparing and painting your wicker

    1. Determine If your piece has an existing topcoat. If it does give it a light sanding prior to painting and wipe off the sanding dust. If you have unfinished wood then give your piece a wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or grime.
    2. For a white-washed paint finish, mix up about 90% gesso with 10% Driftwood acrylic paint in a plastic cup. Make enough for 2 full coats of paint.
    3. Paint 2 coats of the white-wash mixture on your piece. Let it dry between coats. You will find that the finish will look somewhat uneven when everything is dry. This is exactly how you want the finish to look.
    4. To age your piece further, mix up some of the driftwood craft paint with water on a paper plate until it has a very watery consistency. Brush it on randomly, working on one section at a time while lightly wiping it off while it is still wet. Leave the gray wash layer heavier in spots.
    5. Finally, you can age your item even further by sanding off some of the paint on the raised edges to expose the undercoats and original finish.

 

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Now we come to the next step (my favorite part!); image transferring.

 

While writing up this tutorial I have tried to be as brief as possible as I have shared how to photo transfer in several other posts. Honestly, I find it hard to be brief when I want to make sure that I don’t leave any important information out. That said, if you would like even more information about transferring, you can find my original tutorial, How to Guide: Transfer a Photo to Canvas HERE.

 

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The Engraved Roses image used in this tutorial came from The Graphics Fairy.

 

Step 2:  Preparing your image for transferring

    1. Measure the space where you would like to put your image. Re-size your image to fit using your graphic editing software.
    2. Print out your image on a laser printer or print it out on your inkjet printer and bring it to a Staples to have it photocopied with a laser copier. If you plan on using text in your transfer you must print your image “mirror image” mode. Both color or black and white images transfer well.
    3. TIPS FOR CUTTING OUT YOUR IMAGE: First draw a box around your image using a pencil and a ruler leaving 1/4″ of white space around the edge on all four sides. Then trim around all of the details (leave 1/4″ border) but leave a small straight edge on each side of your image (see image transfer photo below). Having a slight straight edge on each end of your image will help you to keep everything straight when you place it face down to transfer. Also, be sure to erase any remaining pencil marks.
    4. Once cut, figure out if your image will fit on your piece or if you need to do any further trimming.

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Step 3: Transferring your image

    1. Place your image face-up on a piece of tinfoil. Open your gel medium container and have your paintbrush, brayer and a damp rag close-by.
    2. IMPORTANT: If you have “holey” wicker like I did, you will need to add on a layer or gel medium to fill in the holes prior to adding your image so that there is a flat surface for your image to transfer to.
    3. Using your paintbrush, apply gel medium to your wicker in the general area where your transfer will be applied. You want all of the holes to be completely filled with medium.
    4. Immediately coat your image with a even layer of gel medium all the way out to the edges. Carefully pick up your image by the edge and place it face-down exactly where you would like for the transfer to go. NOTE: Your image cannot be moved once it is stuck down so work quickly and carefully.
    5. Use the palm of your hand to smooth out your image then use your brayer and roll over your image in all directions with some pressure so it is stuck down firmly. Wipe up any excess gel medium with a damp rag.
    6. Leave your transfer to dry overnight.

 

Uh ohhhh!  For some reason, a few of the holes where I had added a thick layer of the gel medium ended up turning yellow. Definitely not the look I was going for. If this happens to you then you can easily paint over the yellow spots once they are dry with your gesso-paint mixture. Phew! All hidden now!

 

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Step 4: Revealing your transferred image and touch-ups

    1. To reveal your image, lightly spray your dried transfer with water. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
    2. Using the pad of your pointer finger, lightly rub back and forth over your transfer in one spot. The paper backing will start to roll up and your will see your image coming through.
    3. Work over your entire image removing the paper in one section at a time until your image has been completely exposed. Keep the section your are working on slightly wet.
    4. Let your transfer dry slightly and then rub the palm of your hand across it to remove more of the paper fibers. Rub gently and be careful near the edges!
    5. Remove any remaining paper fibers by lightly rubbing over your transfer in a circular motion with a damp kitchen scrubber. Use your hand to feel for more fibers. Repeat as necessary until your transfer feels smooth
    6. After it is fully dry, use your gesso-Driftwood paint mixture to touch-up any areas of your wicker that have yellowed, are too shiny or are too distressed for your liking. You can also put a very thin coating of this mixture over top of your transfer to age it slightly as long as you wipe it away immediately with a damp cloth.

 

 

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The above photo shows the transfer while it was still wet. The photo below shows the transfer after it has dried and I have done the final touch-ups and aging.

 

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One thing I should mention is that there may be a opaque (hazy) layer of gel medium surrounding your image even after you have removed all of the remaining paper fibers. The gel medium does not dry perfectly clear. If this bothers you then you can coat the wicker with a semi-gloss topcoat which will help to disguise it a little more. I was going for a matte finish on this piece and the haziness didn’t bother me so I decided to leave it as is.

 

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Step 5: Painting and aging the hardware

    1. Make sure your hardware is clean and work in a well ventilated area.
    2. Rub on the Rub n’ Buff with a rag or gloved finger leaving some of the original finish showing through in spots.
    3. Leave it to dry for 20-30 minutes.
    4. Buff off the excess. Reapply as needed.
    5. Dab your finger into your Driftwood gray craft paint and rub off the excess onto a paper towel. Apply a light layer to the hardware randomly to give the appearance of age.

 

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Step 6: Protecting your hard work

    1. After everything is dry, protect your painted piece with at least two to three coats of a clear spray sealer such as Krylon’s Matte Spray Sealer or a Matte Mod Podge.
    2. Leave it to dry overnight before use.

 

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Well there you have it. It’s so easy to transfer to wicker!

This project took me only about 30-45 minutes to finish (not including drying time) and didn’t cost me a thing as I already had all of the supplies on hand. Too bad I didn’t do this years ago!

 

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Of course I had to take a photo of the message that my Mom had left me on my chalk board when she stopped by the other day. It says “Je T’aime Beaucoup”  which means “I Love You Very Much” in English. Awww… wasn’t that sweet of her?

 

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While you are here, I hope you stick around and check out some of my other previous tutorials. Also shown in the photo above is my Large Picture Frame Turned Chalkboard tutorial which can be found HERE and my Milk Painted Lamp tutorial that can be found HERE.

 

Until next time,

 

 

 

Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up with H0H ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Redoux Interiors – Link Party ~ What About Co – Show Off Friday ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ Frugal Friday – The Shabby Nest ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturday ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrap Up Party ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ Funky Junk Interiors – SNS Party ~ Craft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Monday ~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Blogger’s Party ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Monday ~ Under the Table and Dreaming – Sunday Showcase ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~

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5 comments

  1. Linda@Coastal Charm

    Now, I have thought about trying this, thanks for sharing this neat ida with all of us.

    Blessings,
    Linda

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Linda. Thanks also for taking the time to stop by for a visit.

  2. Nicole@Show Off Friday

    It looks gorgeous! Thanks for sharing at my linky party.

  3. sherry

    You did a fabulous job on this! I’ve attempted transferring images twice and each time I wasn’t too pleased. Now I realize it’s because I didn’t use a laser printer. Thanks for tutorial!

    1. Carrie

      You’re welcome Sherry. Thanks for your kind comments.

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