I have a confession to make. I’m a photo hoarder. There are easily thousands of sweet little snapshots tucked away in my phone’s memory, and my favorites are all too often lost in a scrolling sea of photography. I’m always looking for new ways to share and display my collection of pictures, so when I stumbled upon this technique for transferring images to glass, I immediately thought of my Instagram album!
Since Instagram photos are usually cropped to a square shape already, they make the perfect choice for decorating square candle holders. You can use this technique with black and white or full color photos. Just make sure the images you are using have plenty of contrast and bold color. Softer, heavily faded images won’t show up as well. You can use the Color Story app on your phone or A Beautiful Mess actions to prep your photo for this project.
Another important thing to remember is that your photos must be printed with a laser printer for this project. The ink in ink-jet printers doesn’t behave the same way, so it won’t work for making image transfers. After resizing my photos on my computer, I took them to a local print shop for printing. This gave me gorgeous, high quality photos to work with.
Step One: Place tape over your photo. Do your best to place the tape down smoothly. The photos may not transfer in spots that are rippled or bubbled.
Step Two: Use a popsicle stick or bone folder to vigorously rub the image. This helps make sure that every bit of the tape is stuck to the photo.
Step Three: Cut out your photos. I like to leave a one eighth to one quarter inch margin on the sides of each photo. This helps to add a little extra stickiness to the transfers.
Step Four: Soak the photos in a bowl of warm water. Allow them to soak for at least five minutes. The longer they soak, the easier removing the paper will be. You won’t damage the transfers by soaking them too long, so feel free to walk away from the project for a while and go do something else.
Step Five: Remove your transfer from the water and gently rub the paper off of the back. It helps to have a fresh bowl of water handy to rinse your transfers while you work. Make sure to get every bit of paper off of the transfer, otherwise it won’t be sticky enough to adhere to the candle holders. Try using a soft, wet sponge to remove stubborn areas of paper.
Step Six: Spread your transfers on a flat surface to dry (sticky side up). Allow the transfers to dry completely before moving on to the next step. After they are finished drying, you might notice bits of paper that didn’t come off on your first try. If this happens, just dip the transfers in water again and rub them gently with a soft sponge.
Step Seven: The dry transfers should be nice and sticky now. Press them onto the outside surface of the glass candle holders to put them in place. Use your popsicle stick or bone folder to rub the transfers onto the glass. This will help make sure they are fully adhered. If your transfers aren’t sticking, go back to the previous step to see if you can remove any more paper. Sometimes tiny grains of paper can stubbornly hang on to the transfers, making them less sticky. If they still aren’t sticking properly after that, use a little clear spray adhesive to glue them in place.
Try putting together collections of candle holders to display baby photos, everyday snapshots, or pictures from a favorite trip. These pretty little candle holders also make great personalized gifts! They would be a great choice for birthdays, showers, or Mother’s and Father’s Day. xo. Mary Helen
Credits // Author and Photography: Mary Helen Leonard. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.