Photo Transfer onto Glass

image transfer tutorial

Image transfer is one of my favorite, favorite things.  I have done image transfer many times, onto wood, canvas and fabric, but this is the first time I attempted to do a photo transfer onto glass.  I love how this project turned out, mostly because I am in love this this photo, but also because image transfer is really cool on glass.  It is easy to accomplish.  Seriously.  Here’s how to:

How To Transfer a Photo onto Glass:

Omni-Gel 8-Ounce Transfer Medium

Painter’s Tape

Glass Pane (I used glass from a picture frame)

Photo–from book, magazine, or printed on laser jet printer

Wet Wash Cloth

image transfer tutorial
  • First, tape your glass down to the surface you are working on.  This will help you center your photo transfer, protect you from the sharp edges and keep the glass in one place while you work on it. Then, cover the face of the picture completely with the transfer medium.  *Note, please keep in mind that this image transfer will be the reverse of the original, so don’t choose something that will look strange backward.
  • Next, place the photo face down onto the glass.  With the pads of your fingers, pressed down all parts of the photo and try to rub out any air bubbles or globs of gel.
  • Allow to dry completely.  When it is dry, begin to remove the paper.  The image will remain in the dried transfer gel.  Use the wash cloth to soak the paper, and then start rubbing…and rubbing and rubbing until all of the paper is removed.  This process takes some time!  The paper comes off in layers, so let it dry and then come back to it and keep rubbing off the paper.

Frame and display!

image transfer tutorial

One of the things I love the most about photo transfer is that it has an old-time rustic look, which is why I wanted to do a photo transfer of this photo.

Give photo transfer a try–and I’d love to know how your project turns out!

full tutorial for transferring a photo onto glass


  1. Lori WhoNeedsaCape says:

    Nancy, this is a very cool craft. Love the pic, reminds me of some from my family. Found your post on Strut Your Stuff Saturday.

    Please stop over and link at our SUPER SUNDAY Link Party, our readers would enjoy this also. Runs now through Tuesday evening.

    Who Needs A Cape?
    Not Your Average Super Moms!

  2. Becca Diestelkamp-Woodham says:

    Very cute! Great job. I love photo transfers! I need to get to work on a photo from our wedding. Stop by my Friday’s Five Features and link up this post (and others)!

  3. LilyWhite says:

    Ah This is so cute! I am going to try it on some old windows I have! If you get a chance, would you link this up to our blog hop? I think our readers would love it as well! Thank you!
    xoxo, Jordan

  4. RGV Athletes In Action says:

    I’d Like To Try This On Maybe A Glass Vase, When Giving Flowers As A Gift. I Wonder If It Will Be Ok When It Gets Washed?

  5. RGV Athletes In Action says:

    I’d Like To Try This On Maybe A Glass Vase, When Giving Flowers As A Gift. I Wonder If It Will Be Ok When It Gets Washed?

  6. RGV Athletes In Action says:

    I’d Like To Try This On Maybe A Glass Vase, When Giving Flowers As A Gift. I Wonder If It Will Be Ok When It Gets Washed?

  7. RGV Athletes In Action says:

    I’d Like To Try This On Maybe A Glass Vase, When Giving Flowers As A Gift. I Wonder If It Will Be Ok When It Gets Washed?

  8. RGV Athletes In Action says:

    I’d Like To Try This On Maybe A Glass Vase, When Giving Flowers As A Gift. I Wonder If It Will Be Ok When It Gets Washed?

    • Ashleigh says:

      If you cover the picture with some sort of sealant (or even a glue or some sort that isn’t washable) it should be perfectly fine.

  9. Great idea! Thanks!

  10. Kara @ Petals to Picots Crochet says:

    Very cool!

  11. Trying to do this to a christmas ornament but can’t get it to work. What kind of paper? regular photograph?

    • I’m so glad you are trying it…and what a cool idea to do it on an ornament. You want to use a picture that is printed with a laser jet printer on regular paper. and, be warned, it takes some time and effort to get all of the paper off.

  12. I tried doing this, but the paper did not stick to the glass. I am attempting it onto a wine bottle. When I was rubbing the paper off, chucks of the paper were just coming off with no transfer! What am I doing wrong? Thanks, I love the project and hope to be able to do it!

    • Hummm, first off, try using the Mod Podge brand of image transfer gel. I’ve had the best luck with that. Next, it is super important that when you put the gel on the paper, and the paper on the glass that the entire image is covered. Then, I usually spent some time gently rubbing the back of the paper to get all of the gel blobs out. You want a nice even coat. I’ve also had issues were if a tiny section of the gel dries before is get to the glass the image will not transfer. I hope some of that helps, and that you have some success. Sounds like a cool project!!

  13. Hello Nancy, I tried this the other nite and I guess I rubbed too hard because I started to get parts of the picture peeling off too. It looked fine until it started to dry and that is when I noticed the pic was rubbing off too. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • Here’s the thing about photo transfer–it is never going to be perfect. You can see in mine that there are streaks where picture rubbed off. For that reason I shy away from doing close-ups for people faces, because if an eye rubs off, it looks weird. Also, try using the Mod Podge image transfer gel. I’ve had the best luck with that. Good luck!!

  14. michelle hutson says:

    i was wondering if you can just use a regular photo to do this ?

    • You can use any picture, as long as it is printed with a laser jet printer on regular paper. Also, since the transfer is never perfect, I have better luck with less details pictures. Good luck!

  15. Hello! Thank you for sharing! I have never done such transfer but do you know how durable and practical this is? Does the image come off with a scratch? Im thinking mostly about jewlery.

    • Just as it is written here, it is probably not strong enough for jewelry–but if i were you I would just give it a few coats of Mod Podge. That should do the trick. I’d love for you to send me any picture of finished projects. Sounds cool, what you are planning!

  16. Wondering if an inkjet printer will work?

  17. I have attempted this on a glass bottle but when it came to getting the paper off (8+ hours later) the whole picture peeled off. I basically had a homemade bumper sticker!! What am I doing wrong? I need help! First try at this craft.


    Kirsty x

  18. Nancy!

    I’ve been stalking your site! I can’t wait to try some of these projects, if they turn out, I’ll post them and link back to you -thanks for the inspiration!!

    emily recently posted…Artist in the Spotlight: Emily JeffordsMy Profile

  19. Karen Trout says:

    This is great. A lot of your crafts have come up in my pins so I feel like I’m stalking a little bit too! I have the transfer gel and keep looking around for new things to try… empty jars, old wooden furniture… so many things, so little time.

  20. Suzanne says:

    How do I subscribe to your (fabulous) blog via email?

  21. I love this idea and am currently working on a wedding gift for this upcoming weekend. I’m transferring photos to an old window. All of them worked great besides one. I am having trouble getting the back rubbed off of one. It is very pale right now and has a pink tint. I can tell there is still paper on there but can’t get it to peel, Any advice? Also if I can’t get it to work is there a way to remove the entire image and start this pane over? I’m kind of in a time crunch been working on this for a few days now.

  22. Hi, Nancy. What do you know about making a tintype? Is it a similar process? Can you do a blog enter on doing one? Thanks!
    Jonathan recently posted…Steam Punk in the Cinema Part 1My Profile

  23. Elizabeth Charbonneau says:

    After reading your fun post I set out on a mission to create awesome stuff but it hasn’t worked out and now I’m sad 🙁 The back of the MOD PODGE packaging goes through a process of creating a decal by using wax paper, huh??? You made it look so easy. Any tips? I can not get a single image to transfer to glass. I am using regular copy paper, laser toner, MOD PODGE Photo Transfer Medium and glass.

    • Even though this was posted several months ago I will offer up some advice for anyone who stumbles upon this. The method that I used and worked for me was I applied a layer of gel medium to the piece of glass then applied a layer a gel medium to the photo. Layering the gel medium is the key. One layer just doesn’t seem to cut it. Once the layers were applied I merged the two together and smoothed out the air bubbles using an old gift card I had laying around. When I finally got all the paper bits off there were very few spots of the image that were not transferred. To seal it I used a spray sealant

      I would also like for people to know you don’t have to use the Mod Podge brand. There are other gel mediums out there. I used a gel medium made by Liquitex that I got for half off because I used a coupon from the craft store. Do not hesitate to experiment until you find the method that you think looks best! 🙂

  24. This is so cool! I can’t wait to try this. Do you think it would work on a glass plate? For display or gentle hand washing? I’d put it on the bottom of a clear glass plate…sure wouldn’t want someone to “eat a photo”… *giggles*

  25. I wondered this too if it would be able to be washed? Also, do you think it would fade easily in the sun? I was thinking of doing this on something that would be outside….do you think that would be a good idea?

  26. Joyce Yantha says:

    Can you use a blow dryer or bake the glass to speed up the drying time?

  27. Just a question, would this technique work on candles?
    I thought to myself, if this works on candles it would make excellent table settings or as bonbonnieres at weddings
    christening etc…. as candles are quite inexpensive items these days.

  28. Just a question, would this technique work on candles?
    I thought to myself, if this works on candles it would make excellent table settings or as bonbonnieres at weddings
    christening etc…. as candles are quite inexpensive items these days.

    • This technique works on almost any medium…so it MIGHT work on a candle. Not sure how the wax would factor it, but since candles are cheap, I say give it a try—and let me know after you do!!!

  29. An inexpensive source for standard-sized small pieces of glass would be your local thrift store on ‘sale’ day…snap up those cheap ugly frames and just use the glass…it’s bound to be less expensive than going to a frame shop and having it custom cut.

  30. Julie A. Spears says:

    This sounded like a great idea, but after reading the comments, it sounds as if there are more fails than successes. Guess I won’t waste my time with this project. I thought you could just use any photo, but apparently, it must be a laser printed photo, so unless you have a laser printer handy, it probably won’t work very well. Too bad. Looked like a fun project.

  31. Can you use a photo printed on photo paper?

    • No. It has to be on regular paper. Part of the process is rubbing off the paper and leaving the ink behind, so photo paper would not work.

      • Christy Smith says:

        My daughter did this on an 8×8 artists canvas as a Christmas gift for us this year. She actually used tissue paper (gift wrapping tissue) that she taped to a regular sheet of paper so it would make it through the printer. Then removed it and just proceeded with the tissue paper image. And she used our inkjet printer. It came out great!

        • Thanks for taking a minute to share this tip! I have yet to try a photo transfer with tissue paper, but I can see how it would be a great thing to do. Definitely on the to-do list!

  32. I am guessing that you just cant use a normal photo.

  33. I am guessing that you cant just use a normal photo.

  34. I think this is the solution for me to display photos in some old windows for a gallery wall. Neat idea, and it appears easy enough for a “craft challenged” person like me! I’m going to give it a try…perhaps a couple of test runs on some glass I don’t minfd messing up with phots I don’t mind jacking up. If you knew me at all, you would jnow that jacking up seemingly easy things is what comes natural to me! 🙂

  35. I was looking for something like this to try for a vintage decoration for the lanterns we are using for her wedding. I wanted to incorporate some old pic of family that has passed away. We wanted to have the feeling that they are still with us and what better than to have older pics of grandparents and famliy that has passed in formal attire placed on tables . Im hoping it works out.

  36. Sherry says:

    Hi, Nancy! I was wondering if you knew the couple in the photo? Because I was suprised when I saw it on my Facebook it is a photo of my husbands grandparents.

  37. Rosie Salazar says:

    hi!! I was just wondering where do I go to find that certain gel medium? Or will any gel medium work? Thank you?

  38. Do you have a blog on utube showing how to transfer photos onto glass? I see this one but I would like to see a demonstration. I have a old door with a window I’m going to make into a wall hanging/ coat rack and add a few other things to it. It would be wonderful if you could show me how to do this. Thank you.

  39. Is the process the same for photo transfer onto a *mirror*??? If so, I want to do it as a decor for our wedding. Thanks in adv.!!

  40. Denise Halter says:

    I found this site while researching ways to transfer pictures to mirrors. I etch glass and have been asked if I can do mirrors,but I needed a way to get the pic onto the mirror to etch. I was wondering if you thought this might work for that, because the picture wouldn’t be left on it after I’m done at least not the printed one anyway. I would greatly appreciate your imput on this. If you have any other suggestions I’m all ears. Thanks for your help and imput in advance.

  41. Cindy Ables says:

    Have you ever tried to transfer to eye glasses lens? I am trying but cannot figure out how to work with the curve.

  42. I just finished a photo for my sons wedding (loved doing it) but did you put any thing on the back of your picture when finished to seal it?


  1. chauffeur perth

    Photo Transfer onto Glass – Do Small Things with Love

  2. says:

    Photo Transfer onto Glass – Do Small Things with Love

  3. […] case you’ve missed it, I’ve already transferred photos onto canvas, fabric, wood and glass.  I also did a reverse photo transfer with watercolor.  I love all of these projects, and […]

  4. […] When trying to come up with some inexpensive Christmas gift ideas, I came across this wonderful idea to share some of our old family photos that we found in our attic recently. With just a few supplies that I already have and a trip to my local craft store, I can scan in my family photos and make unique hand-made gifts for our family this year. Looks easy enough that my kids can help out too! No more sweaters for grandma and tacky ties for the uncles this year. I might also cut out a few pictures of my daughter’s favorite soccer players and make a collage for her room. I can’t wait to get started! Click here to read full article […]

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