How to Add Pictures to a Glass Window
Are you feeling like you want to do something a little different with your space? Setting pictures on a glass window is the perfect antidote to a tiresome living room or bedroom, adding a touch of decorating to an already existing feature. It’s an easy do-it-yourself project that will have guests asking how you managed to transform an ordinary window into a stylish focal point.
There are a few ways you can add pictures to a glass window.
Method One: Laser Printing
The first method involves using a printer, but not just any type of printer. You’ll need a laser printer for this method—not an inkjet. Inkjet printers use wet ink to print photos. Wet ink bleeds and smears before it’s completely dry and this can damage your images.
Print your photo and place a piece of clear packing tape over the printed image, completely covering it. Smooth out the tape (you can use a credit card to smooth the surface for this step) to remove air bubbles. Trim the photo of any excess paper or tape.
Next, place the image in a glass of warm water for five or so minutes. Then, remove the taped image from the water and lay it flat on your work surface. Rub the back of the photo off to remove the paper—you can use your fingers to do this. You should be left with just the strip of packing tape with the image transferred onto it. Next, dry your image completely. The tape should be sticky once it is dried.
Now you can apply the adhesive side of your tape to the glass window. Press the tape firmly against the glass surface and use the credit card once again to smooth it out.
Method Two: Mod Podge
Mod Podge is a photo transfer medium that works similar to a glue sealer. Mod Podge adheres to paper, fabric, or any porous surface, so if you want to transfer pictures on glass, you can use Mod Podge to do the job. The process is a little tricky if you’re new to using Mod Podge, but once you get the hang of it through some trial and error, you’ll find that it can go quickly with great results.
You’ll need wax paper (or a silicone mat), scissors, your Mod Podge, an application brush (preferably a foam brush), your photo you wish to transfer, the piece of glass you wish to transfer the picture to, and access to a professional printer (either a laser printer or an inkjet printer will work) to complete this process. Use thinner printer paper if you can for a smoother transfer.
Lay your wax paper or silicone mat on a flat surface, placing your trimmed picture face up on the paper. If you need to, use a paperweight at its corners to keep the picture in place. Next, grab your foam brush and dip it into the Mod Podge, applying it to the front of your picture. Using broad strokes, apply a thick, even layer so you cannot see through the Mod Podge. Try to apply the strokes in the same direction to avoid the picture becoming bumpy or crooked.
Let your project dry for at least 24 hours, keeping your workstation still and at a steady temperature of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. After the image has completely dried, transfer it to a new piece of wax paper or a new non-stick paper while flipping the picture over.
Your next step will involve using a wet sponge and applying it to the picture. The water will help break down the paper so you can create your decal, so you won’t want to completely wring the sponge out before applying it to the photo. You can also use a spray bottle filled with water instead of a sponge.
When wetting the back of your picture, use your finger to rub the paper and you’ll notice that the material will start to peel away. There’s a risk for ripping the picture, so use light to medium pressure and try not to rub one area too much or for too long. Apply more water to areas that begin drying out. It may take some time to remove all of the paper. The thinner the paper you use, the easier this step of the process will be.
Once the paper has been properly rubbed off and you are satisfied, it’s time to finally transfer the image onto the glass. Take your Mod Podge photo decal from the wax paper and place it where you want the picture to go onto the glass surface. The image will stick, so be sure to get it in the exact spot you want the photo in. Once the picture is in position, apply light pressure with your fingers, smoothing the image out.
Although the Mod Podge process is a lot of work, it’s one of the best ways to transfer photos onto a glass window. It’s one of the longer-lasting methods because the Mod Podge adds a protective layer to help the image last and keeps the picture on the glass permanently.