Self Portrait Print Transfer Project – Using PicMonkey!

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Photo transfer art project for kids •

This one is slightly involved – but the results are great, plus you’ll hang it on your wall forever. I worked on this with Fen, and it was fun to watch her play around with tweaking images and experimenting with different effects. I introduced her to PicMonkey, which, if you haven’t tried out yet, is soooooo fun.

It’s a photo editing and collaging site that offers tons of goodies to beautify or funnify your photos. There is a paid version (which I use), but the free version offers plenty of options, from adding mustaches to your face to simple editing to collage-making.



Here’s what we did:

1. Photo shoot! A plain wall as a background is the best so your image doesn’t end up cluttered-looking. Throw on some music, and get your model to strike some poses. Ham it up!

2. We took about 20 shots and then saved about 6 of the ones we liked best to the computer.



3. Now for the fun part- PicMonkey. When you get to the site, you will have the option at the top of editing a photo or creating a collage. Click on the collage option, click on open photos, and open your 6 chosen photos.

4. On the left side of the screen, click on the little collagey icon, then click down on Square Deal, and the image with 4 squares.

making a collage in PicMonkey •


5. Drag a photo to each square and keep dragging around until you are happy with the placement. Save your creation, or write down the file names of each photo so you remember where you want each photo.

collage in picmonkey •


6. Now switch to the edit photo option. I’m going to give you the exact steps we used to get to our results, but feel free to change things/colors/effects up as you (your kid) see(s) fit. 



7. Here are the settings we used for each photo:

For each photo, we clicked on the science beaker, then clicked on Warhol. Click on each color and enter the #’s below that correspond to each photo you’ve chosen.



8. Save your creation!

collaging in picmonkey •


9. Grab your transfer paper and put it in your printer- do you know which side your printer prints on? You can do a test print first on plain paper you have marked on one side. That way you’ll know whether to put your print paper up or down.

10. I opened my print in preview and printed from there. Here are the settings I used:

  • Resized to 6″x6″
  • 300 ppi resolution
  • Scale to 100% (so it doesn’t change the size to fit the paper)
  • Under print settings: Presentation Paper Matte for media type, I ‘mirror imaged’ it, so it would print backwards (Then it’ll look right when you transfer it to your board.)

Transferring Onto the Board

We used maple panels from Dick Blick, but you can also buy them on Amazon. I found some at Michaels as well, or you could use a piece of pine.

Preheat your iron on the cotton setting for 5 minutes- no steam! Place your print, face down on the wood, and press the iron down in different areas of the print- don’t forget the edges and corners! Press down fairly hard with the iron, but don’t move it back and forth.

When we did it, the paper kept bubbling a little in the middle, so we thought it wasn’t working, but just ignore that.

After it cools, peel the paper backing off. If it seems completely stuck on, try to rip off a little corner, and add a tiny bit of water (or in our case, spit) to it to help get it started.

We finished our piece off with a layer of Mod Podge, and hung it on up.

Photo transfer art project for kids •

As you can see, this project can be done easily by an older kid, but can still be fun to do with a younger kid- you’ll just end up doing most of it.

We decided to try this on paper next, and the results are amazing! We used a piece of thick watercolor paper. I’m sorry to say I’m not sure which effects Fen used, because she was messing around forever. I have a feeling your kids will come up with something pretty wonderful.

Photo Transfer Project for Kids •

Tip: If you use paper, make sure you have a piece of glass or several sheets of thick paper or something sturdy underneath the paper you are printing on, so you aren’t ironing paper to your table.

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    • says

      Of course! It took a surprisingly long time to figure out all the colors we ended up with, so I thought I’d be nice and include them…. This is the kind of project that would be so fun to play around with.

    • says

      Thanks, Franks! I love kids messing around with computer art-making. It was obviously not something we even dreamed about as kids, so it’s fun to see what sorts of cool things they do.

  1. says

    Wow, that is very cool. I think it is too complicated for me to pull off but my 7th grader would love to do it and would be able to follow your directions. Sending her over here.

    • says

      Thanks! I had a ton of fun figuring out the colors- this is sort of as technical as I get on here; I may have to research some Photoshop projects for kids…

  2. says

    damian starts school in september. you can bet your bottom his first day he’s wearing a tshirt like this! we’ve got all summer to practice with the teens’ help. thank you girlfriend! absolutely love Fen’s self portraits!

  3. Shauna says

    Great project! I’m doing a mural with the Primary class in my school (6 pupils in total) and have a big wall to work with…do you know if you can transfer these images onto a wall? I was thinking it would look amazing as a class portrait but unsure if it’ll work. Thanks!

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