Today’s post is a skill builder post. I’m going to show you how to transfer graphics to paint on a flat surface. It’s an easy transfer method that works with any image with clear lines that can be traced.
There’s a back story on this little bench project. I had plans to visit a good friend in VT, she saw my DIY Starfish Stenciled Bench project a few weeks ago and wanted to make something similar from a bench she had on her porch. You guys know I love a good traveling DIY project! I scoured Pinterest until I had the perfect saying that would fit for her amazing place in the woods. Here’s a link to my collection of inspirational phrases on Pinterest if you need a special phrase too. If you’re looking for images you can see how to paint graphics on furniture like I did with this whale graphic on a bench I gave new life to.
A suitcase can only hold so many supplies, especially since I had to pack for myself as well;) Sometimes you just have to use what you’ve got and it’s OK. Before we could transfer our graphics to paint, we had to prep the bench. We found some paint in the garage to use as the base. I tinted it with a little of my acrylic craft paint.
You can see where I gave the bench top a light sanding around the edges before I added the stencil. The white paint is the same gallon of white I used for the base coat. I blended in a few areas of yellow here and there for interest. I love this dandelion stencil, don’t you?
Once the bench top was painted we were ready to transfer the phrase I printed onto the wood for painting.
How to transfer graphics to paint
Supplies needed to transfer graphics to paint onto a flat surface. I use affiliate links to help you find the products I used.
- graphite paper
- fine brush – I used # 0 round tip
- colored pen
Choose graphics to transfer
I used Pic Monkey to design my words. All I did was pick the font I loved and use the design feature for an 8×10 sheet of paper. If you’re not familiar with it already, Pic Monkey is an awesome online tool that allows you to design graphics, even simple sayings like this one as well as edit photos. They have a basic free edition which is all you’d need for this image transfer project. I used BlockPosters.com to size and print out my words to fit on the bench.
Transfer graphic or image to paint on a flat surface
The steps to copy or transfer graphics to paint is pretty simple. Begin by trimming the excess paper off the words or graphics you want to transfer. Place it in position and tape the top. Next, slide the graphite paper underneath and carefully trace the words with a colored pen. I always use a colored pen so I can easily see where I’ve already copied. To get the exact shape of your letters, stay on or just inside the lines of your graphics or image.
You can see in this close up below how nicely the graphics transferred to the wood. For best results when painting, use a fine tipped paint brush and only dip the top 1/3 into the paint. Dab off the excess on to a paper towel. This was an easy project to paint. Actually it was really easy and relaxing since we had a big cozy fire in the fireplace with a glass of wine and painted the bench top together.
Is there anything better than girl time? I think not:)
Using the stencil under the words added a little dimension to the simple bench top. I distressed the words just a tad. I wanted the bench top to fit with the weather worn and natural bench base. The bench top was sealed with two coats of Americana Decor Soft-Touch Varnish. It’s an interior-exterior sealer.
Graphite paper allows you to trace or your image onto a flat surface or wall quickly and easily. For those of us who remember carbon paper, it’s kind of like that only less messy:) The link I shared has different color graphite paper and plenty of sizes including rolls, which I think is brilliant. Plus it lasts a long time, you can reuse the sheets over and over again.
Our bench project turned out perfect for an outdoor deck.
What a perfect saying and so true. I miss our morning walks already…
Each day was different.
With a new surprise around the corner, like this coneflower growing on the trail…
…or a secluded spring fed pond.
Picking wild blackberries and raspberries reminded me of when I was little. I grew up in the Northeast and this felt like home.
All in all I think I picked the perfect phrase for my friends bench. I hope my friend uses it when she has her morning coffee outside.
And remembers our awesome few days of girl time, hikes in the woods, shopping ~ of course;) and painting her bench together.
I love that I can share a few of my favorite moments from my girls get away and share how to transfer graphics to paint with you all at the same time. Using creative skills to create a memorable piece is so much more rewarding than buying a souvenir, don’t you agree?
Do you have a favorite phrase you’d love to paint on something?
I love the dandelion stencil and the bench looks wonderful. The saying is perfect. I like the touch of yellow. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty
Hi Jenny! I loved, as in loved this project! Especially because it was for a friend who has such special roots in the VT countryside. So glad you liked it to.
beverly e says
I really enjoyed your easy-to-follow instructions and product links. Thanks for sharing this project and the beautiful photos, too.
Hi, do you have plans to make the bench? Thanks
Hi Jennifer, Unfortunately I don’t have plans to make the bench. My friend had it on her porch already it just needed a little paint. A bench with plans is super idea for a post though! I do have lots of building projects in my DIY Build category on the blog though, here’s a link to my page https://h2obungalow.com/project-gallery-2/diy-build-projects. Thanks so much for your visit.
I recently did a similar project but the graphite paper didn’t work to transfer my words. I just used a marker to outline and it bled through onto the wood. Any tips for making the transfer paper work?
Hi Jamie, I use graphite paper all the time and it works great. The only instance I can think of it not working well would be if the surface you were trying to put the transfer on was not smooth. Maybe like rough wood? So sorry it didn’t work well for you! Thanks for your visit & good luck!
What great craft tips! Your project turned out beautifully! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty
Hi Jamie! Thank you, I loved working on this bench and project. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for your visit!
Love, love, love that cute little bench. I am pinning this method as I would love to try something like this. I am not crafty in this area but would love to try it! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy seeing what you up too! Hugs and blessings, Cindy
Hi Cindy… You can do this! The bast part of using this method is that you can take any graphic or words and transfer it without needing the skill of free-handing. I’m awful at free-style drawing:) Have fun with this technique, and thanks so much for your visit!
I want to make some fall signs, so this is perfect! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday! 🙂
You’re welcome Dee! This little project was kind of my kick-off for the season:) Glad you liked it & thanks for your visit!
Sue Collins says
Lovely project. We live in the woods of Tennessee and I
would love a copy.
Hi Sue, This saying will be perfect for you! I’ll send it over shortly. Thanks so much for your visit:)
I envy you your time in the mountains – what a refresher that must have been. I am impressed with your bench and would appreciate receiving your download. I am not familiar at all with Pic Monkey. Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi Sewnya! As much as I love the beach, the woods and mountains were a huge treat and very refreshing for a cool change:) So glad you like my bench project! I’ll send you an email shortly with the pdf file:) Have fun with it and thanks so much for your visit!
I’m glad you had a nice visit with your friend, and the bench looks wonderful! I’m sure the piece will bring back special memories of your time together for years to come and that your friend will think of you each time she uses it. The inspirational saying is perfect, and I would love to have a copy of it.
Hi Dorene! It was a wonderful visit and I hope she does think of our trip when she uses her bench. Don’t you love the saying? As soon as I found it, I knew that was the perfect one. Thanks so much for your visit and I’ll send you the file shortly!
Wendi, I just love your friends little bench, you make it sound so easy so I’m going to hunt for something to use this method on.
I’m so glad you had a nice relaxing girl time with your friend and what gorgeous property, so green and lush. The little bench fits right in with that beautiful nature.
Hi Patty! You can do this project! It IS easy. I’m sending you the file too in case you want to use this one 🙂 Yes, girlfriend time is so important too. I’m learning to appreciate friend time more and more as time goes by 🙂 Thanks so much for your notes, you know I love hearing from you!
Cindy Fusco says
I absolutely love your projects. Please send me the info on the stencil transfer. Thanks C F
Hi Cindy & thank you!!! It makes my day when I get a note like yours that someone enjoys what I create and share. I hope I inspire you to try them or your own version:) I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the file. Look for it in your inbox shortly & thanks so much for your visit!