How To – Transfer a Picture on to Steel

How To – Transfer a Picture on to Steel

Floating Money

 Transfer a Picture on to Steel


The Process

Step 1 – The Substrate

Before Transfer a Picture on to Steel you sort your image, or maybe around the same time, you need to know what you are transferring the photo to as it could change the size and format of your image. Applying an image to guitars, furniture, helmets, cars, motorbike tanks etc…And in this example we will be applying over one of our panels.

Step 2 – Prepare your Photo

You need to find a photo you like and in this example we are going to use floating money. If your photo needs editing or flipping around you can use PhotoShop, CorelDraw or the free version of as an online resource to photo editing. If using a colour picture reducing the saturation and ideally warming the image up so it looks more golden and will sit better on the wood.


 Transfer a Picture on to Steel

Step 3 – Print your Photo

You can print from an inkjet printer, but the results are far better from a laser copier / laser printer. If you don’t have a laser printer then you can take your artwork to a copy shop and get them to photocopy your photo on their laser photocopier – just onto basic paper (ideally 80gms weight). Simple

Note: If applying to a coloured background (This mean anything not white) then you will have to airbrush the printed side of the photo with white so as to highlight the colours and add white into the picture.

Step 4 – Get everything ready 

First you need to lightly sand your substrate with fine sand paper. Then you will need some Gel Medium or Mod Podge. You need something to apply with about the size of a a credit card, and have some cloth or towel available to clear up your excess gel.

Step 5 – Apply the Photo

Get that Gel Medium out and apply it liberally but not too thick. Place your photo down on the substrate and wipe your card over it to get a nice smooth finish.

Step 6 – Walk away

You need to leave your work overnight, stop your fiddling and go do something else.

Step 7 – Time to start rubbing… and rubbing… and rubbing

Grab a jug of water (warm or cold) and a sponge / cloth. Lightly soak the paper while very gently rubbing the paper. It’s so important not rubbing too hard and being patient, let it dry and then came back and rubbed a little more. You can’t get it all s long as when it’s wet it looks good then that’s the time to call it a day and let it dry.

Step 8 – Seal the image

When using this process on steel we seal we image with a clear. There are two types of clear. The first is 2 Pac clear and this is used predominantly I’m all auto paint jobs. The second type of clear is a aerosol one pack clear; this is a very versatile seal for most jobs including bike helmets, skateboards etc. If you’re using wood as in furniture then seal it with a good quality furniture oil or polish.

That’s it!

This is a great way to have money floating over your paintwork. We used to use Rice Paper but have found this to give far better results, the biggest being – No Air Bubbles on the edge when cleared.

That is a win, win for everybody.

This is just one of the many things we teach in the Custom Special FX Course…Enrol now and get on the road to Airbrush Magnificence…or at least to learn this and other Great Ideas so as you can Earn from what you Learn.