This is my first time transferring graphics onto furniture using the Mod Podge method. I read about many transfer methods and looked over other people’s projects to determine the best method to use. What I finished with turned out decent but I wish there was more information out there about some of the “pitfalls” because there are definitely some things I would have done differently. I’d like to tell you what I learned about this method and offer some suggestions to consider if you want to try transferring a graphic using Mod Podge.
If this is your first time trying this, start with a piece of furniture that is not too valuable or sentimental. I almost went for it on a nice piece of furniture first and am glad I didn’t. These TV trays were hanging out in the attic and were perfect to practice on.
If possible, transfer onto a light-colored paint. I didn’t realize that the outline of the graphic would show as much as it did but I think it will show a lot less on a lighter color paint. This olive color paint may have been a bit too dark. Alternatively, I would have taken the time to cut the image out as close to the outer edges as possible.
Plan to rub and rub and rub some more to get the wet paper off the image. I let the paper dry a couple of times during the rubbing process to see what the image looked like dry. Here’s a picture at the beginning. Did I mention you need to rub a lot?
The graphic will be a little “fuzzy” from the paper so I sanded it with a fine grit sand paper. I also tried some steel wool but I preferred the sand paper. You do have to be careful because you can rub the graphic away. This may be ok if you’re going for a worn antique look but if not, rub carefully. The graphic kind of looks a like a sticker at first but adding a coat of wax does darken and blend the graphic into the furniture.
There will be a slight bevel where the graphic is so if I use the Mod Podge method again, I would probably steer away from a very smooth surface like these TV trays. The graphic may be more challenging to transfer to a rougher surface but I think it will blend in better on a rough surface. Below is a poorly lit picture but it does show a close up of what the finished graphic outline looks like. It’s actually a little less visible to the naked eye but this was still not what I expected. I guess I expected perfection – so much for my OCD!
I’m not sure if my top coat was a good or bad idea but I’ll tell you what I did. Because I wanted to antique the trays I used wax over the image first. A coat of clear wax and then some dark wax. I didn’t think the wax coat alone was durable enough for long-term wear, however. I also wanted to see how a couple of coats of polyurethane would work in leveling out the graphic so I put 3 coats of polyurethane on top of the wax. The directions on the polyurethane said not to use it over wax but so far the top coat looks great. I’ll make an addendum to this post of it burst into flames or starts peeling off in layers anytime soon.
Although I wanted to apply enough Mod Podge to thoroughly coat the graphic, I realized it’s a fine line between too little and too much. I caution against just slapping a bunch of Mod Podge on and sticking it to your furniture because I noticed that air bubbles and lumps (for lack of a better word) can form. I pressed and smoothed the heck out of the graphic when I stuck it on and I still ended up with a couple of air-like bumps. Next time, I will be sure to use a nice soft brush that will disperse the Mod Podge as evenly as possible and not apply it as thick. I noticed that while I was smoothing out the graphic the Mod Podge seeped out the sides anyway so I obviously could have used less.
One last thing that I almost had to reveal is probably something most will never encounter. If you ever add graphics to TV trays, make sure you place them the same way on each tray. Let’s play “spot the oops” in the last photo of this post. Can you find it? Always make sure to double check your graphic placement if you’re doing a matching set!
Despite everything, I recommend trying this method. It was relatively quick and easy and adding a graphic can really turn an average piece of furniture into something special. I plan on trying some other methods and will post on those for comparison. These deer graphics were found at The Graphics Fairy.