Today, we will be making DIY transfers with rice paper and applying them to thrifted home decor! I will share tips for printing and applying your DIY rice paper image transfers.
We will be applying rice paper transfers to glass, wood, and metal but they can be applied to most clean surfaces!
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Out of the five DIY Transfer methods that we have been looking at, this is my favorite to work with! Rice paper transfers are easy to use, budget-friendly, and versatile. Today, we will look at a few tips, pros, and cons of making your own transfers on rice paper. And of course, we will be upcycling some thrifted finds with our transfers!
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Materials & Tools for Creating DIY Rice Paper Transfers
- Basic Inkjet Printer -I use an old HP Printer but here is a similar model and the one I will most likely purchase next
- Rice Paper –
- Scissors –
- Rubber Scraper –to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles (I have seen others use plastic wrap with success but use what is best for you)
- Cardstock & Scotch Tape – (optional)
- A Printable Graphic or Image – Canva.com and Thegraphicsfairy.com are wonderful resources for printable vintage images and they offer both free and paid versions.
I started to create and share FREE Printables here on my blog you can find them @ https://creativediypurpose.com/category/free-printables/. I add new ones each week and I take requests for ideas on future printables!
Tips for Making Quality Transfers
- Wait at least 10 minutes after printing your image before applying it to your surface
- Wait for the image to dry to your surface prior to applying sealer
- If using Mod Podge (type) glue using a sponge brush helps avoid ink smearing
- Test your favorite sealer on a sample piece of printed rice paper before applying it to your finished project
Pros of using DIY Rice Paper Transfers
- You can create and use your own designs to transform your projects!
- UNLIMITED choices for designs
- You can print from 1000’s & 1000’s of available graphics and printables online
- Inexpensive – each transfer costs pennies to create
- Easy & user friendly to create and apply your own rice paper transfers
- Color absorbs into the rice paper for a beautiful, rich transfer
- Rice paper is very durable
Cons of using DIY Rice Paper Transfers
- Thicker paper is more of a challenge to apply to pieces with curves and small details
- Ink can run if Mod Podge is used as a sealer (I found that applying it using a sponge brush helps)
- White paper along the image edge shows when not applied to a white background
Printing Instructions for DIY Rice Paper Transfers
- You will want to print onto the TEXTURED SIDE of the paper using an inkjet printer
(find out first which way you will need to lay your paper inside of your tray in order for it to print on the rough side)
- Cut the RICE PAPER to the size of a regular sheet of printer paper (8.5”x11”) then place it inside the paper tray OR
- If you want to send the rice paper through on a firmer surface (for difficult printers)
cut the RICE PAPER about a half-inch smaller on all four sides. Apply scotch tape along the edges to adhere it to a sheet of cardstock.
Be sure that the tape is flattened down smoothly to prevent printing issues.*
*If your printer tends to be “high maintenance” and you are concerned about the rice paper getting stuck inside of the printer you may want to try this option.
Upcycling Home Decor using DIY Transfers
I love applying rice paper transfers to thrifted finds to give them makeovers but you can apply them to new items, too! Super easy to apply and takes only a few minutes! We have five projects today, four are thrift flips and our last project is an easy photo transfer DIY.
Project 1- Upcycled Watering Can
Even though I liked the bird print that came on this thrifted watering can, it needed a refresh. The watering can had a cardboard image wrap that was coming apart and worn in areas. I applied a DIY textured paint (50/50 baking soda and chalk paint) and then applied the rice paper image. It ended up adhering to the textured surface perfectly.
I took a paint marker from Sharpie ( I forgot I had one that I ordered 2 years ago and it worked like it was new!) and ran along the outline of the can to give it an aged look as you’d see on an antique enamel pan!
This graphic was created from a vintage french ad found at Thegraphicsfairy.com AND I added birds to both sides using the Canva Pro version (I use Canva Pro several times a day for creating & editing)
Download the Vintage French ad with 2 Birds HERE! PDF
Project 2 – Upcycled Lavender Sign
The free printable seed pack images can be sized to larger prints and make the perfect vintage-inspired sign! Once the paint on your wood sign has dried this project only takes a few minutes to complete!
I created these vintage-inspired see pack images using the Canva Pro version. I will be releasing a set of Veggie Pack prints next week!
If you would like the Vintage Inspired Flower Packets you can find them here on my blog
5 Easy Inkjet Printer DIY Transfers!
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Watch the Video Tutorial for DIY Rice Paper Transfers
Upcoming DIY Projects
We will be continuing our DIY Image Transfer Series during the weekdays for the rest of May. Don’t forget our Sunday videos & blog posts will focus on Vintage Inspired Upcycled Decor and Projects 🙂 Then we will head into the requested tutorials using Canva.com
Project 3 – Clear Glass Plate Project
This was my first attempt at applying rice paper to a glass plate. It was very easy and the possibilities for creativity are endless! I added a paper doily for a layered look over the back of the plate. Then I applied a coat of Gesso to the center image (over the back) so that the image became opaque. I did not cover the lace trim on the doily because I wanted it to show through the plate.
If you like repurposing glass bottles or jars here are a few more ideas you may like:
Project 4 – Photo Transfer using Rice Paper
You can copy a favorite photo and print it on rice paper to transfer. You can either apply the image by using Mod Podge to the back of the photo or to the front of the photo (like you would if doing a reverse image transfer). How cute would these be as Christmas ornaments then give them out as gift tags or place setting name tags? 🙂
I did try one photocopy as a reverse image with a layer of Mod Podge over the top, allowed it to dry for 8 hours then tried to wet and remove the image. I was not successful as it was very much glued down.
I don’t know if I applied too much Mod Podge or if it is because the rice paper is thicker than regular copy paper. I will research it and try again in the near future and let you know if I’m successful.
Project 5 – Upcycled Tray
Here I applied a two-page transfer to a thrifted tray. It is a challenge to end up with a seamless image but I think this ended up okay. I will keep practicing the two-page transfers, until then I prefer using FREEZER PAPER TRANSFERS (for a faded vintage look) or Water Slide Decals (for vivid colorful images)
The vintage french advertisement I found over at thegraphicsfairy.com and I applied a bird image that I found using Canva Pro.
You can download a printable PDF of this VINTAGE BIRDS w/ AD image HERE!
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How do I Seal my DIY Transfers?
I use the spray sealer from Rustoleum. A wax sealer would also work and you can apply colored wax for an aged look. If you are wondering if your favorite sealer would work on these transfers you can take a “scrap” piece of printed rice paper and test your sealer on it.
Apply two thin coats allowing them to fully dry between each coat for long-term durability and less chance of reactivating the ink.
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What do you think about the rice paper transfers? Have you tried them or want to try making them?
Shop this Post & My Favorite Products:
- DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit
- Reynold’s Freezer Paper – (for printable transfers)
- DAS Air Dry Clay (white clay) OR (terra cotta clay) OR (stone-colored clay)
- Gesso Surface Prep Medium, 16-oz, White
- *Rice Paper (for decoupage) – This is the exact paper and seller I purchase from
- Waterslide Decal Paper (for inkjet printer)
- E6000 glue – https://amzn.to/329hrZe
- *HP INKJET Printer (my HP model is no longer made but this is similar) – Basic, easy to use –
- Wax & Chalkpaint Brush – https://amzn.to/3kiZ5dQ
- Polycrylic Sealer by Minwax (Brush on)
- Water-Based Poly Sealer by Varathane (Brush on)
- 10 pcs Wooden Knobs (feet or toppers) – https://amzn.to/3ruQd9a
- Lavender (faux) is AMAZING for the price
- Oil-based Paint Marker by Sharpie (set of 3) –
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