Vintage Style Picture Transfer

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Vintage Style Picture Transfer

I love Vintage Style Art!

I have a son who is just days away from turning the big three!  He is obsessed with superheroes, mostly Batman, in fact, I am pretty sure he believes that he IS Batman.  Odds are if you have a toddler son he loves superheroes too!  I wanted to make something special for his birthday that incorporated his favorite hero and went with a picture transfer of the Caped Crusader himself!  


Here’s what you will need:

  • Wood Canvas
  • •Printed picture
  • •Photo Transfer Modpodge
  • •Regular Matte Modpodge
  • •Foam Brush
  • •Scissors
  • •Sand Paper
  • •Sponge
  • •Water
  • •Paint (optional)


STEP ONE: Find a picture to your liking online or photocopy a picture you already own.  

Choose a superhero, a princess, a cartoon character, or even a photograph.  If there is text on your picture be sure and print a mirror copy of it.  Trim the picture to fit your wood canvas.  Decide whether you want a border to show or if you want to cover all of it.  If you want a border to show you may want to paint the canvas first.  I decided on a border and painted mine black.

STEP 2: Modpodge

Give your picture a thick coat of photo transfer mod podge using the foam brush.  You should not see your picture through the layers of mod podge. 

Very carefully pick up the picture from the corners and place mod podge side down onto the canvas.  Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps or wrinkles.  Even if you don’t see any bumps, go ahead and smooth out anyway just in case.


This next step is arguably the hardest, you MUST wait 24 hours for it to dry!!  Alright, hopefully, your patience was intact and it has been a full day and you are ready for the fun part.  Get a bowl of water and dip the sponge in it until it is fully wet.  Dab the picture on your canvas all over.  You will see the picture appear.

Once the whole picture has shown through wait…

(yes, more waiting) about two minutes before moving onto the next step.

Wring out the sponge until it is mostly dry.  Use the sponge and rub the picture in a circular motion.  The paper will start to rub off.  Use a good amount of pressure, try not to rip the actual picture, though, but since we are making this vintage style it definitely wouldn’t be the end of the world if it has a few tears.

Once all the paper is gone, it is time to do my favorite part–to distress!  

The distressing gives it that vintage feel and lots of character.  I ripped my edges and used the sandpaper to rough up some of my paint.  

You are almost done!  

Vintage Style Picture Transfer

There is a little more waiting ahead, but this will be the last time you have to be patient.  

Let the picture cure for 72 hours.  After this time, seal it with a coat of regular matte mod podge.  Let it dry and your picture is all done.  See, wasn’t all the waiting worth it?  I know my son definitely thinks so!

Vintage Style Picture Transfer

Who would you make this for?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


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