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How to make classic wood tiles

Looking to personalize your space? You can literally make any tile design you want with an easy to do: image transfer. That's right! Any tile design! It all starts with paper.

Follow my tutorial for a step by step guide to help you make your own wood tiles.

Tools and Materials

  • wood

  • printer paper

  • laser printer

  • wood glue

  • sand paper

  • sponge

  • water

  • clear top coat

Print the design

First you'll need to print out your tiles on regular printer paper using a "laser printer." You can find pictures of tiles on Pinterest or with a Google search. You can also take pictures of tiles and print them out that way.

You'll need to reverse all images before printing them out so they transfer correctly.

It doesn't matter with most of these tiles, but it's a must for words, so it's best to get in the habit of doing it.

Any kind of wood should work just as long as the surface is smooth.

*We started by transferring multiple images to one piece of wood and cutting after the transfer, but found it much easier to cut out the tiles first and then transfer.


You'll need to sand the surface of the wood you transfer onto very well. It should be INCREDIBLY smooth! Like Teddy Pendergrass smooth! The image will need full contact with the wood to transfer correctly. Again, any type of wood can be used just as long as the surface is smooth.

You'll also need PVA glue/wood glue.

I live in Japan, so I can't recommend a glue, but any PVA glue/wood glue will work.

Yes, image transfer mediums are available, but they cost a lot more and in my experience, look about the same as just using glue.

Press Image Against Wood

This was the first attempt at an image transfer using wood glue.

First, press the image against the wood to make creases so you'll know exactly where to rub on the glue. It also makes it easier to apply the image.

*Remember to reverse all images before printing.


You want to use just enough glue to cover the wood.

Too much glue will ruin the transfer.

Smooth out the Glue

The glue should look like this and I just used my finger.

The ink from the image will transfer to the glue.

Smooth with a Sponge

Gently smooth the image out with a kitchen sponge. The image shouldn't move around on the wood. If it does, you used too much. You also used too much if it is coming out from the sides.

Rub off the Paper

Let the image dry to the glue for at least 24 hours.

When it is dry, dampen that kitchen sponge and gently rub the paper making it a little wet.

The paper will start to rub away from the image like this. Take your time using your fingers. The image is transferred, but can still be scratched off if you're too rough.

Finished tiles!

Stain (If You Want)

You can stain the wood with a water based stain before transferring your image.

These are what the tiles looked like before a clear protective top coat.

Add a Top Coat

These tiles have a matte clear top coat on them.

A top coat will protect and waterproof your image. It will also make the color pop.

A light sanding is a great way to distress your image


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