How To Transfer An Image Onto Glass? Extra Tips for Beginners

How To Transfer An Image Onto Glass

Customized mugs, drinking glasses, or glass artworks can be a great gift for anyone. Mugs that have your initials or a favorite picture of you, your pet, or your loved ones can be a very meaningful thing to have.

The process of putting an image onto glass has been around for a while. It’s a great way to decorate your house as well.

You can order these customized glasses in a store. But, with the right supplies, you can make it on your own, at the comfort of your home.

We encourage you to keep on reading if you want to know how to transfer an image onto glass. There are a few techniques that you can try out. There’s something for every skill level and budget.

By following the right steps, you too can get a professional-grade photo transfer on glass, no need to spend hundreds of dollars for customization in stores. So without further delay, let’s get started on our image transferring journey!

How To Transfer An Image Onto Glass- Different Methods Explained

There are two very common ways for transferring an image onto glass successfully. Both of these methods are beginner-friendly and require supplies that can be easily bought from a drugstore, or any local art supply store. Let’s take a look at both of these options in depth.

A. Transferring An Image Onto Glass Using Mod Podge

Using Mod Podge

One of the most popular ways for transferring an image onto glass is by using mod podge. This is a technique that has been around for a while. It’s one of the most commonly used methods because it’s almost always successful at giving you a professional-grade image transfer at home.

Here are the steps that you need to follow for a successful image transfer using mod podge.

Step 1: Prepare The Image

The first step that you need to do is prepare the image that you want to transfer onto the glass.

When printing the image, you need to keep in mind that the final result will be reversed. That is why for an image to turn out straight on the glass, you need to print the reversed version initially. That way, after you remove the paper, the final image is straight.

Once you have printed the image, cut it according to the size of the glass. You can cut out the extra white borders on the printed image for a better overall finish.

Step 2: Prepare The Glass

After the image has been prepared, it’s time for you to get the glass ready.

Add a generous amount of mod podge onto the surface of the glass.  The mod podge should be added using a special kind of sponge brush.  This brush usually comes free with the mod podge that you buy. If you don’t get it free with the mod podge, you can buy it separately from any craft supply store.

You should be careful about how much of this product you apply to the glass. Adding too less of the product might result in the image tearing in the final process when you try to rub off the paper. But adding too much mod podge will delay the drying process.

Step 3: Add The Image

After both the glass and the image is ready, it’s time for you to stick the image that you want to transfer to the surface glass.

Make sure that the image has been placed and positioned correctly and straightly.

Once you have added the image onto the glass, try not to move it too much. This might result in the paper image tearing.

After the image has been stuck to the surface, you need to wait for the mod podge to dry completely. The drying time will depend on the brand of mod podge you are using.

How much time it will take for the mod podge to dry completely will also depend on the weather conditions of that day.

Make sure you do not touch the image during this drying process. Just let it be.

Step 4: Rub Off The Paper

Once the mod podge has dried completely, you need to wet the image using a sponge.

Generously soak the image with water. Then, using light strokes, try to rub off the paper with your index finger.

You will see that the paper comes off in small parts. Make sure you don’t rub too hard, or else the image itself might rub off as well.

Once you have completely removed the paper, you will see that the image remains on the glass in all its glory! The transferring process of the image onto the glass has been completed.

Step 5: Add A Protective Coating

It is advised not to use this process of image transferring onto glasses that you use frequently. The images won’t last that long on glasses or mugs that you wash regularly.

But if you do decide to transfer the image on a glass that you are going to be using regularly, it’s a good idea to add a protective coating onto the surface.

You can get clear protective glass sprays that add a waterproof layer to the surface. So, even if you wash the glass regularly, the image will remain intact.

B. Transferring An Image Onto Glass Using Tape

Glass Using Tape

Another method that you could try if you don’t have access to mod podge, is by using tape. Now, this is not a very commonly used method and does not have high success rate like the mod podge technique. But at times if necessary, this method can be tried as well.

Here are the steps that you need to follow to transfer an image onto glass using tape.

Step 1: Print The Image

Similar to the process of transferring images using mod podge, the first step in transferring images using tape is to print the image.

With this process, it’s better if the image is printed in high quality with laser printer. Do not use an inkjet printer for this.

Also, remember to print the reversed version of the images if you want it to transfer right.

Step 2: Add Tape

The next step is to add tape to the image.

Cover the entire image with a large-sized packing tape. If the image that you want to transfer is wider than the tape, the image cannot be transferred to the glass successfully.  So keep in mind, the size of the tape is quite important for this process.

Using a credit card or any hard object that has a thin, and sharp edge, flatten out the tape on top of the image. Make sure there are no air bubbles and gaps. The tape should be in complete contact with the image.

Step 3: Cut The Image

After the tape has been successfully added to the image, you need to cut off the extra bit. Parts of the image that you don’t want to transfer onto the glass should be cut out at this time as well.

This can be done easily using a sharp pair of scissors. Box-cutters can also be a useful tool for cutting the tape and shaping the image.

Step 4: Wet The Image

For the next step, you have to soak the image in water for a while.

The water should be warm to the touch, but not too hot. Water that is too hot might melt the packing tape. 

Soak the image in water for at least five to six minutes.

Step 5: Rub Off The Paper

After you have soaked the image in water, take it out and start to lightly rub off the paper.

This is quite similar to step 4 in the mod podge method.

You can use your index finger to do this. But remember you have to rub off the paper light-handedly, otherwise the image might come off as well.

If the paper doesn’t rub off easily, you can try and soak the image in the water again. Give it a few more minutes, and the paper should rub off easily.

Step 6: Blow-Dry The Image

After you have successfully rubbed off all the papers from the image, you will be left with a packing tape that has the image transferred onto it.

Now, you have to blow dry this packing tape until it becomes sticky again. Don’t worry, this will take you just a few seconds.

Step 7: Add The Image To The Glass

Now it’s time to attach this image to the glass.

Remember, the sticky side should be facing the glass. Make sure you don’t get any air bubbles trapped between the tape and the glass. To ensure this you can use a credit card again to get rid of the air bubbles.

The process of transferring an image onto glass using tape ends here, but to add an extra layer of protection you can add a clear protective spray.

What Kind Of Printer And Printer Paper To Use For Images To Be Attached Onto A Glass

To get your desired results, it’s better if you print out the image on printer paper. Although you might think that photo paper is better because it has a sturdier hold, this will not work for the usual mod podge, or taping method of image transferring.

Photo paper can be harder to rub off, even after soaking in water. So, the process will take you a long time. It won’t give you as smooth of a result as printer paper will.

There is a high possibility of you rubbing the image off as well when using a picture printed on photo paper.

Using a laser printer is a better option than using an inkjet printer for this process. Because inkjet printer uses wet ink for the printing process, the image will get ruined easily.

Once you soak the image, there’s a high possibility that images printed by an inkjet printer will start to bleed. Images printed with an inkjet printer might also not transfer onto the glass when you’re using the mod podge method. These images do not work well with water because of the ink that is used in the prints.

Laser printers, on the other hand, use powdered ink or dry ink toner. The printing is done by using heated rollers. Because the image is fused into the paper, it will not bleed or smear if it’s soaked in water.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind while printing is to reverse the image. This step is crucial, especially if you want to transfer an image that has writing. If you don’t reverse the image, the writing will appear backward on the glass.

Glasses That Are Better For Image Transferring

When choosing a glass that you want to transfer an image onto, it’s better if you go for a flatter surface.

If you want to practice your image transferring skills, start with a flat surface instead of rounded glasses because they are easy to work with. Once you’ve brushed up your skills, you can move on to mason jars, drinking glasses, or mugs.

Tips For Transferring Images Onto Glass

Tips For Transferring Images Onto Glass

If you want the transferred image to turn out well, you might need to follow a few tips and tricks. Taking these extra measures will result in a better quality transfer.

Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you get a more professional finish for your customized glass.

1. Use A Thin Paper

One of the main steps of transferring an image onto glass requires you to rub the paper off of the glass surface.

To make this step easier and quicker, it’s better if you use thinner paper. Regular printing paper is the right option in this scenario.

You should stay away from thicker papers, such as photo paper when it comes to at-home image transferring process.

Any kind of paper less than 20 pounds will work just fine for your mod podge or tape image transfer.

2. Apply A Thick Layer Of Mod Podge

If you want your image to appear clearer on the glass surface, you could try and add a thick layer of mod podge.

Yes, it will take more time to dry, but the result is worth it.

Adding a thick layer of mod podge under the glass will also prevent the image from tearing.

3. Print A Very Vibrant Image

After the entire image transferring process is over, you will notice that the final result is a bit dull. Images lose their color and vibrancy after going through all that soaking and rubbing.

Hence, when you’re printing the image that you want to transfer onto the glass, edit it a little bit beforehand. Boost up the vibrancy and contrast if you want the final image to be colorful. This will give you a more lively image on the glass. And here is a good post to screen print onto a glass that gives a lovely look.

Precautions You Should Take For Transferring Images Onto Glass

No matter what project or task you have at hand, it’s always better to take some precautions that will help you achieve a better result.

The same goes for when you’re transferring images onto glass. Here are some precautions that will surely help you get a better image transfer.

1. Clean The Glass Surface

The image that you want to transfer will stick much better if the glass you are working with is clean.

Therefore try and get all kinds of oil, or dust off of the surface of the glass before you apply the mod podge or the tape. You can use an alcohol pad or rubbing alcohol to get oil off of the surface. This will ensure a better bond between the image and the glass.

2. Do Not Rub The Paper Too Hard

It’s better to use a light hand when you are trying to rub the wet paper off of the glass.

If you rub too hard, the image might come off as well. You’ll have to start all over again if the image comes off of the surface of the glass because there is no way of reattaching it. Therefore, it’s better to take your time and rub gently to get all of the paper off.

3. Use The Correct Kind Of Mod Podge

Not all kinds of mod podge will work for the image transferring process. There are certain kinds of mod podge that are specifically made for this process.

Try and get your hands on the image transferring mod podge, which is also waterproof. This will make your transferred image last a lot longer on the glass surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Should You Let Mod Podge Dry On Glass?

To be on the safer side, you should let the mod podge dry for at least 24 hours on the glass.

If you touch the mod podge before it has dried, there is a high possibility that the image transferred will get ruined.

2. How Long Will A Transferred Image Last On Glass?

An image that has been transferred onto glass using the mod podge, or taping method, might last somewhere between six months to a year.

This will surely depend on how you maintain the Glass. Glasses that are not used or are just made for decorative purposes might last for a much longer time.

3. Can You Transfer Any Regular Printed Image That You Already Have Using Mod Podge Or Tape Method?

Transferring a regular printed image onto glass using the mod podge method can be a bit difficult.

This is because the image is printed on photo paper and not regular paper. Photo paper is harder to rub off using water from a glass, that’s why you may use sandpaper for remove the paper.

4. Do Mod Podges Have Different Finishes?

You can get a lot of different kinds of mod podge in the market. Some come with a matte finish and some come with a glossy finish.

Therefore, you can surely choose the kind of finish you want with your mod podge based on the project you have at hand.

Final Words

Customizing mugs or glass surfaces is an easy thing to do if you know how to transfer photo onto glass properly. Luckily, this is a very easy process that does not take much time.

There’s no need to put in an order for customizing or printing glasses anymore. You can transfer an image onto any glass surface, on your own, right at home.

Following the tips and precautions that we’ve mentioned, you can get a professional-grade finish on your glass image transfer as well!

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