CRAFT OR CRAP: Paper to wood transfer yields disappointment, more pathetic than polished

Amanda Siefken Visual Editor


This week’s edition of Craft or Crap is one that seemed almost too easy to be real, so we tested it out. It’s like we are the myth busters of DIY projects here at The Collegian, letting you know what is a great craft, or what is just plain crap. On Pinterest there are many different pins with ways of transferring a photo from a piece of paper onto something else. In the end these seem to always look really cool, but how does a Pinterest addict know which method is the easiest, cheapest, or even just works.

There is one that caught our eye however, and that is the act of transferring a photo to virtually any surface, using nail polish remover. Nail polish remover is an average household item that is cheap and easily recognizable by its distinct smell. Of course, between all of us, one of us had nail polish remover, so we knew that this craft had to be tested.

With only four needed items this already passed the test about being easy, but would it work was the real conundrum. We got together our nail polish remover, a picture printed that we wanted to transfer, and paper towels to do the transfer. The first thing that we tried transferring our picture onto was a plank of wood. The wood was aged a little and since the picture we chose was of our own Weary Wil, we thought that it might look really awesome if it worked. We also tested just paper-to-paper, so if the outcomes were in fact different, we would know which worked better or which one looked the best. 

Now that we had all the items needed for this craft, we set everything up and we were all a little excited to see how this worked. Before we get into the steps we took, we do want to say that we followed the directions exactly from a pin found on Pinterest, and yes it really is only four steps. 

Step One

Place the picture face down, right where you want it on what you are transferring onto. For us we placed the picture of Wil in the bottom corner of the wooden plank, because this was the lightest part, so we had hoped it would have the best chance of showing up after being transferred.

Step Two

Get the nail polish remover on the paper towels. 

Step Three

Next, we rubbed the nail polish remover soaked paper towels on the back of the picture. Completely covering the paper, the picture should be visible through the paper. This is the first time we thought, “Hey this might actually work” and then we started talking about who got to keep it when we were done. After about five minutes of fighting over our cool craft, we realized that we should probably finish it. We put one more layer of nail polish remover on just to make sure the image transferred completely onto the wood. 

Step Four

This step is the most stressful, but also the easiest step. The last thing left to do was to remove the paper from the wood and reveal the image transferred to the wood. The online directions for this pin did not say if we were supposed to just rip it off or peel it carefully. The closest thing we could compare this project to were temporary tattoos. They are basically the same project, just transferring a picture onto your skin. With temporary tattoos, removing the paper needs to be carefully peeled back slowly so not to rip or damage the transfer. We took this knowledge and applied it to our current dilemma. Peeling the paper away from the wood slowly, we were instantly disappointed. There was nothing on the wood. There were a few wet spots from the nail polish remover, but the transfer had failed. To be honest, disappointment is a huge understatement. We all just sat there staring at the wood, hoping that it would just appear…it never did. 

We then tried this on the paper. Following all of the same steps, just like the directions said to, we made sure to push as hard as we could when rubbing the nail polish remover in. Sadly, this also failed. Our hopes and dreams of this awesome craft were crushed. Therefore, we can verify that this craft is complete crap.