I’m excited to share some exciting news! I’m an Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Ambassador this fall and holiday season and will be sharing some fun (and festive) ways you can enjoy your favorite photos IRL!
This means each month I’ll be sharing a fun and easy DIY project that features a step by step video tutorial on how to make the project and directions on how to edit and create in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. If you’ve always heard about Adobe Photoshop but have been a little intimidated to learn it, Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is the perfect way to dip your toes into photo editing. It’s super user friendly and even has built in Guided Edits that make otherwise complex editing tasks easy peezy.
My first project is a DIY photo transfer tray that’s the perfect functional fall decor for your home. I’ve dressed up a plain acrylic serving tray by transferring a printed image onto the bottom side. All you need to do is take one of your favorite photo and open it in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 and follow along!
I photographed a bunch of mini pumpkins that I painted in my favorite colors. The colors in the photo were a bit dull so I did a little editing to spruce it up. You can use my photo or any one on your camera roll or computer. This tray would also make a great personalized gift for family and friends. You can print out a photo of a friend’s dog or even your kids. The possibilities are endless!
DIY Photo Transfer Fall Tray
Creating the Transfer Image
- Open your photo in Photoshop Elements 15. I painted several mini pumpkins with craft paint and snapped a photo with my iPhone.
- Correct the white balance. Guided Edit > Color > Remove Color Cast
- Enhance the colors. Guided Edit > Color > Enhance Color
- Adjust the brightness and contrast. Guided Edit > Brightness Contrast
- Enter Quick Edit mode by selecting ‘Quick’ from the center menu towards the top of your screen. If your image is vertical, you’ll need to rotate the image by clicking on Image > Rotate > 90 degrees right (or whatever direction you want to rotate the image)
- Make the image the size of the bottom of the tray. Select the Crop tool (in the tool bar on the left hand side) > and crop to 14” x 6.25″. Adjust the size by entering it in the panel towards the bottom.
- Touch up any blemishes in the photo. If you have specs of dirt, paint, or other small things you want to remove from the photo you can do that easily with the Spot Healing Brush tool. Select it from the tool bar (on the left hand side) and simply click once over a blemish in the photo and it will magically disappear. If you want to make the brush smaller press [ on the keyboard. If you want to make it larger press ].
- Add text on top of the photo. Select the Horizontal Type tool from the tool bar. Click and drag across the width of the image to create a text box. Then type in your word of phrase. I used the font Brandon Grotesque in all caps but you can use any font you like. Adjust the font size so that it takes up most of the width. If you want your text to be transparent once transferred, make it white.
- Enter Expert mode by selecting ‘Expert’ from the center menu towards the top of your screen.
- Create dots around your text. Select the Shape tool from the Draw section of tool bar on the left. Select the Ellipse from the options panel on the bottom and change the color to white. Hold down the shift key and click and drag to draw a circle.
- Duplicate circles around text. Select the Move tool from the Select section of the tool bar. Hold down the Option key (alt on a PC) and click and drag from the center of one circle onto another part of the image. Repeat this adding as many dots as you like.
- Save as a PDF and get it printed. When you’re done, go to File > Save As… > and select Photoshop PDF. Save this file and then take it to your local copy shop to get it printed on 11″ x 17″ copy paper. These prints are usually around a $1 or less each and most shops allow you to even upload the files from home. If you can’t do this, you can always put the file on a USB flash drive or email it to the shop. Ask them to print the image at 100% so that it will print true to the size you cropped it at.
How to Transfer the Image onto the Tray
- Use scissors to cut out the printed image. Use a paint brush to apply a thin, even coat of matte medium all over the entire front side of the image. Also apply a thin coat of matte medium all over the bottom of the tray. Allow both to dry completely, about 30 minutes.
- With the tray upside down, apply a generous but even coat of matte medium all over the bottom. Immediately after place the printed photo with the image side down onto the tray. Use a squeegee, brayer (a fancy artist term for a roller used for applying ink), or even a credit card to smooth out any bubbles. Allow the paper to dry completely; at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Once dry, wet a sponge with water and rub it all over back of the printed page. Use a circular motion to remove the paper, rewetting the sponge as needed. This might take some time so turn on Netflix while you do this.
- After the paper is completely removed, allow the tray to dry completely and then paint all over the image with a coat of gloss varnish. This will prevent the image getting scratched. Once that’s dry it’s ready to be used!