Desk Decor- Image Transfer on Different Backgrounds

Hello everyone! Vaishali here,

Hope all are doing great. I am extremely happy to continue as a design team member of Itsy Bitsy. Thanks a lot Rashmi, Harish and the entire Itsy Bitsy team for having me on board again. I completely enjoyed the last term and am grateful to everyone for showering so much love and appreciation for my work. Looking forward to explore interesting techniques, using wonderful Itsy Bitsy products in this term as well.

The ongoing monthly blog challenge is ‘Anything that goes with Little Birdie’s Instant Image Transfer Gel’ Little Birdie is Itsy Bitsy’s own manufacturing brand. As the name suggests, the recently launched transfer gel is Instant…which means now you do not have to wait for hours together to get the image transferred. The magic of transfer happens in just 5-10 mins. Isn’t that great?? I am sure each one of you would definitely want to give it a try and create wonderful products using the technique in a jiffy. The instant image transfer gel is great to transfer both  coloured and black and white images. It has good consistency and adhering property. I have created ‘Desk Decor’ pieces – a clipboard desk calendar and a stationary holder to enhance the desk space. A beautiful working space is always a delight !!!!

In my last post on photo/image transfer, I have shared how to do image transfer on various surfaces like wood, metal, glass, fabric.  This time let’s explore various backgrounds. For this it’s important to  understand the basic concept of image transfer  and the difference between image transfer and decoupage.


  1. To create personalized products, eg- products with personal pictures, artwork.
  2. To create printed look on surfaces, such that there is no thickness of paper popping out.
  3. To create products, where light needs to pass through image like lamps, votives etc.


Decoupage is adhering paper on a given  surface, using decoupage glue. Once the paper is adhered, you no longer see the background of the surface, where paper is adhered. On the other hand image transfer is adhering paper, face down on a given surface,  using image transfer medium. Later, layers of paper are removed to see the image. Only the print on the paper gets transferred to the surface and as a result you see the background of the surface as well.  To put it up simply, you  get a printed look and there is no thickness of paper popping out.

Hence in image transfer the background is very important. Choosing the right background or creating interesting backgrounds  for image transfer can help you achieve the printed look and this post focuses exactly on that.


Natural or raw piece of wood works as a great background for image transfer. Fabric with natural self textures and burlap can also does wonders.  For instance, in the image below, you are able to see the grains of pinewood through the transferred image. Instead if you had used a plain wooden piece with no grains, then the effect will be more like decoupage (paper adhered ) especially if its a coloured image.


Generally most of us transfer the image first and then work on the spaces around it. However, it can be a great idea to first create a background on a plain surface and then transfer the image on it. Have used stencils and chalk paints here  to create a background on the clipboard for transfer. Will be using this to make a desk calendar. 


Let me take you through  step wise picture tutorials of the desk decor pieces, made using the transfer technique. As mentioned above, I have created backgrounds for the transfer in the creations first. So let’s get started….


I have used a small wooden clipboard from the store to create a ‘Desk Calendar’. The clipboard comes with  an arrangement for it to sit on the desk like a photo frame. Itsy Bitsy has a huge variety of AC Moore products and wooden bases. Do check them out.

First, I  created a background on the clipboard base using stencils and chalk paints- Wild Wasabi and Lavender Blush. Once the paints dried,  the surface was ready for image transfer.

Used the border elements from the above stencil.

Chose the current year- 2019 calendar image for transfer.   Have chosen a simple image of  calendar, as I had already stenciled on the clipboard surface and did not want it to be too busy. Next, I took a laser print of the image. You will need to mirror the image and scale it to the required size before printing. The print shop can help you with this. You can use Corel software to do this on your own. Image can be  mirrored  in Microsoft Office Picture Manager also.

Next, I adhered the image of calendar face down on the clipboard surface using Instant Image Transfer Gel, taking care there are no air bubbles left in between the paper and my base. For this apply enough of the image transfer gel evenly on the surface using a synthetic hair flat brush.  Neither use too less gel nor overload it.  Also apply gel on printed side of paper (especially when working on porous surfaces ) and adhere the image pressing well, working  from one end to the other. Press the edges properly, else  the edges may later come off while peeling the paper. Remember there is no need to apply the gel over the adhered paper.

Leave the adhered image for about 10 mins. Now take a wet sponge (not a dripping one ) and dampen the entire surface of the adhered image so that you can see the image faintly through the paper.

Wait for 1/2 minute and start peeling off the paper by rubbing over it gently. Try to peel one layer at a time. Do not force rub if you feel the surface is dry. At such a stage, damp it mildly once again and then start rubbing gently. Gradually as the layers of paper come off, you will see the image clearly.  Stop rubbing once you see the clear image.


This is a common occurrence while image transfer. Some helpful tips-

  1. Always peel the layers of paper from one end to the other and not randomly anywhere. Follow this especially when you peel the last layer of paper. By doing this, you know where the clear image has been spotted and you do not rub over it again  even if you see whiteness back over it.
  2. The whiteness comes back as some bits/residues of paper are still there sometimes and they need to be removed. However avoid removing them immediately. Since you have dampened the surface,  over rubbing  to remove these residues of paper may peel your print off. Wait for around 1/2 hour till the surface dries completely. Now rub gently again just with mildly wet finger and the smaller bits of paper which cause whiteness will come off.
  3. Further seal the paper with transfer gel or decoupage glue (matte or glossy ) and later varnish the project with Decor Varnish (matte or glossy). All this will add the required brightness to the transferred image. Hope this helps….

Once all the paper residues were removed, I had a clear image transferred. Sealed the image with decoupage glue matte and then began the fun part…. embellishing it!  I have used some paper twine, chipboard shapes, laces and the beautiful handmade paper flowers from the store to embellish the calendar. Have kept it minimal though. Have adhered everything using the wonder glue-silicon glue a great product from the store that helps adhere various materials with ease instantly!

Since the calendar base is a clipboard, I thought of clipping some interesting elements and quotes on it so that it can serve as a beautiful desk piece to gift your loved ones…… Something more than utility especially at the beginning of new year!

For this I created two small panels, one on burlap and other on an OHP sheet.  On both I  have transferred quotes using Instant Image Transfer Gel and then embellished them. The burlap says, ‘ Do More of What Makes You Happy’ and the OHP panel has a black and white image that says, ‘Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go .

This is how the OHP panel looked after the transfer, embellishing  and some stenciling in gold. Do check out the recently launched stencils with beautiful designs.

Did image transfer on burlap piece (burlap sheet from the store with backing ) and OHP sheet for the first time and trust me the effect is wonderful. Transferring on burlap or any fabric is surprisingly far more easier as it’s a highly porous surface. Which means the medium is absorbed by the surface and does not get activated again when you dampen while peeling. This makes peeling the paper layers is easier and the print also kind of sets well into the burlap. The natural textures of burlap are seen through the transferred image, adding so much depth.

The burlap panel is embellished with chipboard shapes, burlap lace and flowers. It has an added wooden clip for message or reminders.

And here’s the final look of the …Desk Calendar…

Some pictures with clipping variations-


  1. Take a laser printout of the image you wish to transfer on a regular matte paper (not on thick photo paper or glossy paper ). Laser print is taken so that the ink does not bleed. It is difficult to peel too many layers if the paper is thick. So take the print on regular paper, which generally is within 70 gsm.
  2. Scale the image to required size and mirror the image before printing especially if it has some script as the image is adhered face down in image transfer.
  3. To transfer a personal picture, do not use a photograph. Take a laser print of the personal picture. Same goes for any art work. You can scan it and take a laser print.
  4. Decoupage papers available in the store can also be used for image transfer.

And now there is something more to the desk space! Have made a stationary holder, using the wooden bucket bag from the store. This beautiful piece is a great buddy to the desk calendar.


The bucket bag is made of light colour wood and the mild wood grains are seen. So, I left one side of the bag natural…the way it is and transferred an image with quote,’ Enjoy the Little Things’ on it. It looked printed and elegant as the natural wood is seen. Have a look.

Remember I had mentioned about creating an interesting background in the beginning of the post. Here its is ……


On the other side of the bag, I have created a crackled finish using Little Birdie Crackle Paste from the store and then transferred the image on it. It’s very unique to see the cracks through the transferred image. A quick procedure for this background. The white crackle paste can be applied with spatula directly or through stencils as well. Thicker layer gives bigger cracks and thinner gives smaller. The cracks are formed as the paste dries naturally. Do not speed dry with any tool.

Once the crackled background is formed, the next step is to transfer the image on it. Use an image with lighter colours.

Press well while adhering the image.

Be a little more patient while peeling the layers of paper and you will have a beautiful outcome. 

Just love the way the cracks are seen through the transferred image. A closer view- 

Last step was to embellish the bucket bag with chippies, twine, flowers and coconut coir as fun element. Add further depth with a little dot stamping. The bucket bag with dual look can be handy to hold some pens, pencils, brushes and is sure to enhance the desk with the clipboard desk calendar.

And this is how the two decor pieces sit together, bringing smile on my face.

Hope you liked the image transfer creations, focused on the backgrounds. There will be many more ideas for creating backgrounds for image transfer and am sure you will explore and share them.

Happy 2019 and Happy Crafting till we meet again.

Create, Express, Enjoy !!!

Vaishali K.

List of materials used-



    1. Thank you so much Anila…glad you liked the tutorial…OHP turned out great…I liked the result as well.

  1. Amazing Vaishali !

    Loved the image transfer on the crackled effect …mindblowing indeed 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing detailed steps…

    1. Thanks a lot Hina…glad you liked the transfer on crackle …its something new that I attempted to bring in

  2. Omg what a awesome project you are the best Vaishali Khandwala Kaji in this❤️as I always said you put all your best efforts in your post again awesome project with full detailed tutorial loved it ❤️❤️

  3. Omg Vaishu…this is fantastic. I loved the various substrates you used for the transfer. Love the result…hugs

  4. Thanks dear for making such an informative tutorial full of tips and tricks.Some awesome projects you have created..loads of hugs dear

  5. Wow, this post is seriously mind blowing, what with so many tips & techniques thrown into one! Loved every single project & always love how you break it all down & explain so well!

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