There are many ways to transfer images to wood and make cool custom jewelry.  Decoupage is one. But a different technique which is really popular is sublimation printing. It is a process most used in print on demand apparel like custom t-shirts. 

Sublimation printing is the heat transfer of inks to materials such as fabric and wood. It's name comes from the scientific term where a solid becomes a gas without first turning into a liquid. The design is first printed on sublimation paper using a printer loaded with sublimation inks. Then a heat press at typically 375- 400 deg F, is used to turn the inks into their gaseous forms which then permanently bonds onto the material. The resulting transferred image will not crack, peel or wash away.

The designs are limitless.

There are many sublimation jewelry tutorials on Youtube. Some use the larger heat presses which are used for apparel printing. But you can also smaller ones like Cricut's Mini Press or EasyPress which are much more affordable. 

Watch crafter, Kim Byers, demonstrate how she makes her sublimation wood earrings using just her Cricut Mini Press.  She lists all the materials she used in the video description.  I second her recommendation of if you want to design your own. I use canva for my blog post graphics.  Not into doing any designing?  There are  numbers of sublimation earring designs etc on Etsy for purchase. 

Kim also demonstrates how you can adapt an Epson Ecotank printer with sublimation inks for sublimation printing in this tutorial. She again lists all of the bits you need in her video description. Note that the sticky tape used is heat tape. Ordinary tape will simply melt into a gooey mess. She uses the Cricut Mug Press. Sure beats those vinyl cut outs which don't see very durable to me!

It's important to use blanks which are primed for sublimation printing. The whitish background is best for vivid colors. There are tons of sublimation blanks available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. However, some crafters have tried different hacks to prepare their own blanks.

Becky of Design Bundles has one hack which uses water based polycrylic sealer on top of wood cuts.

The Wesleys have a great hack using laminate pouches to prepare wood cuts for sublimation printing.

Consider prepping the wood with either gesso or white acrylic paint before using either polycrylic sealer or the laminate for more vibrant colors.

Tempting technique, isn't it?

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM