Everything You Need to Know About IOD Paint Inlays

Everything You Need to Know About IOD Paint Inlays

All the Basics on How to Use IOD Paint Inlays and Faqs

"What is an IOD Paint Inlay?" you are probably wondering.  Well, leave it to the IOD sisters to come up with the most innovative product in furniture transfers yet! Paint Inlays are not a rub-on decal, furniture applique or decoupage.  They are not a synthetic film. They are a completely new product (patent pending, as a matter of fact) that allows you to transfer artisanal quality, painted images onto your freshly painted *chalk-type* painted surfaces.  In other words, the specially designed carrier transfer paper is embedded with actual paint.  When applied to your project surface and allowed to dry, the carrier paper is dampened and then removed, leaving behind an actual painted design on your piece.  The best part? Put your used sheets to the side, allow to dry and use them 3 or more times. Another fun bonus: until sealed, your paint inlay designs can be reactivated with water and manipulated for creating even more unique and artistic effects!

How do IOD Paint Inlays work?

Made from organic artist-quality paints, IOD Paint Inlays can be transferred onto your painted projects.  Each time the Paint Inlay is used, it will leave some of the paint behind on the carrier paper, allowing you to use the Paint Inlays more than once.  How many uses you will get from each sheet depends on your technique and individual style of use, but each application will produce a slightly varied and naturally distressed design from the previous application.  Similar to DIY Paint, the paint in the Paint Inlay is active and can be re-activated with water until sealed, which will allow you to manipulate the paint and apply your own special painting techniques until you are ready to seal. How fun is that???

IMPORTANT!! *For best results, use with non-polymer chalk-type paints only, such as DIY Paints. IOD Paint Inlays can be used with chalk paints containing polymers, but timing and results will vary.  It is strongly suggested that you experiment with any paints containing polymers on a sample board before applying to your main project.

Basic Instructions for Using IOD Paint Inlays

  • Plan the composition and design of your project surface;
  • Trim your Paint Inlays using the grid lines as a guide.  Trim the excess margins away if you are working on a large area and want a seamless repeat pattern.
  • Apply an even and generous coat of chalk-type paint on a previously prepared surface (for example, this would theoretically be your second coat of paint).  Work in small sections, no larger than the area you are applying your single Paint Inlay sheet/section-presumably no larger than any single sheet if you are using a full uncut sheet (12” x 16”).  This is to manage your drying time as you work for each section you apply.
  • While the paint is wet, place the Paint Inlay section design side down on your wet, painted surface, keeping the paint inlay taut (just look for the grid lines, they should be face up—they are printed on the back so that you can easily identify the front from the back).
  • Spray/mist the back of the carrier paper lightly but evenly with water. Use either a damp sponge or cloth to apply light pressure across the Paint Inlay to ensure even contact between the inlay and your work surface.  Try not to move, drag or pull on the Paint Inlay once applied to avoid any blurring or smearing of the design.  Continue by repeating the steps above to apply your inlay to complete your project design.
  • Wait until the Paint Inlays have dried to the touch. Remember, your drying time can vary depending on climate and conditions.  When you are ready to remove the Inlay sheets, spray or moisten using a damp cloth and wait about a half minute for the carrier paper to absorb the water; then gently pull the carrier paper away from your project surface.  Start from a corner and pull up gently at an angle; your carrier paper should not tear; you can apply a little more water if you find the carrier paper resisting removal, then try again.
  • Once your carrier paper has been removed, you can manipulate your design by applying small amounts of water to reactivate the pant.  You can use a brush, a rag, a sponge or any other applicator—you can even add to the design by adding additional colors of paint—this is where you can really get creative!
  • Allow your project to fully dry; then seal!

How should you seal an IOD Paint Inlay?

Your IOD Paint Inlay can be sealed using the same options you would use to seal your chalk-painted projects:

Water-Based Topcoats/Sealers:  To prevent any bleeding of your design, it is best to apply your topcoat using a sprayer.  Alternatively, you can use a spray mister to apply a 50:50 ratio of sealer to water; once you have applied your first coat, you can apply any subsequent full-strength coats using a sponge applicator.  Be sure to allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying your next coat. Note: You can apply your first coat using a sponge applicator and a very light touch, but be advised that some your colors may bleed a bit if you over-work your application. This may or may not be a desired effect, depending upon your personal aesthetic and design objective.


IOD Paint Inlays can also be sealed with wax.  Apply furniture wax according to manufacturer’s directions and buff to a sheen.

Oil-Based Sealers:

Oil-based sealers can be used without reactivating the paint but should be tested on a small area before applying.  Be advised that many oil-based finishes can yellow with time and may cause some discoloration of your piece, most notably on light paint colors.

How to store your Paint Inlays:

Paint inlays should be stored on a flat surface in their packaging in a cool, dry place until ready for use.  Once you have opened and used your Paint Inlays, allow them to dry completely; then store them pigment side up in their original packaging, preferably with the protective tissues that came with the original packaging in between the sheets. This should keep them in good condition until the next time you use them!

What other types of surfaces can Paint Inlays can be used on?


You can use IOD Paint Inlays on fabric with a textile medium. 100% cotton or high cotton blends work best. GAC 900 by Golden is one textile medium we have used with favorable results.  Remember, results are also going to vary depending on the type and surface texture of fabric you use—using Paint Inlays is not an exact science—you will have to experiment a little bit to see what type of results you can achieve; having said that, use a fabric that has a smooth surface that can receive a good clean impression from the Paint Inlay. 
    Instructions for using Paint Inlays on unpainted, virgin fabric:
    • Use GAC 900 by Golden diluted with water - 50:50 ratio.  Put in a mister or spray bottle (a travel size spray bottle will work!) or in a container if you prefer applying with a brush.
    • Apply the mixture to your fabric; then apply the mixture the front (paint side) of your Inlay.
    • Place you Inlay face down onto your fabric surface; the gridlines should be on top facing you.
    • Apply pressure to the Inlay to make contact with your fabric. Here’s where you can get creative, as the type of pressure and how you apply it will determine the type of impression you get.  You can use a brayer, your hand, a blunt object—you can also use a thin mount as a layer of protection between the Inlay and whatever you are using to apply pressure. Once you apply the inlay, leave it ON THE FABRIC until both the inlay and fabric have dried completely. Once dry, dampen the back of the inlay carrier paper to remove it from the fabric surface.
    • Apply the diluted mixture of GAC 900 by lightly misting or spraying the paint side of your fabric.
    • Set aside and allow to dry for 24 hours.
    • Use a dry iron on the highest setting you can without damaging your fabric.  Do not use any water or steam while ironing; remember, any water or steam can reactivate the Paint Inlay paint until it is completely sealed and set.

    *NOTE:  You can use chalk style paint to dye your fabric before applying your Paint Inlay.  Dilute your paint first to the consistency of cream; then mix your GAC 900 with your diluted paint at a 50:50 ratio.  Apply to your fabric with a brush. Then continue with steps mentioned previously above to apply your Paint Inlay.

    How to use IOD Paint Inlays on Glass Surfaces:
    For this type of application, you will need a spent carrier sheet; therefore, always save your used sheets so you have them on hand for this purpose.  The spent carrier sheet is going to help achieve uniform texture on the glass surface considered to be the negative space of your intended design.  This will make sense as you continue to read.

    • Clean your glass surface.
    • Cut your Inlay according to the pattern you would like to use along with enough of the spent carrier paper that will cover and fill the open areas.
    • Apply an even coat of Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge to your glass where you want your design to be.
    • Place your Paint Inlay face-side down so that the painted side makes contact with the glass. You can use a brayer to ensure even contact of the paint.
    • Apply a coat of your mixture evenly to the rest of your glass (the negative space of your design) and cover with a used (spent) carrier sheet. This step is going to help create a uniform texture in the negative space consistent with the rest of your design where there is no paint.  Allow all to dry thoroughly.
    • Using a fine mist bottle or sprayer, spritz your medium onto the carrier paper and wait a moment for the carrier paper to become saturated; then carefully pull away the Paint Inlay carrier sheet from the glass.  Let your project fully dry.
    • Again, using a fine mist sprayer filled with the mod podge mixture, spray the surface of your project to fully seal.  Allow to dry completely and re-apply a second coat (this time you can use a brush).


    Can Paint Inlays be sealed with wax?

    Yes, but since ingredients vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, always test first.  I would recommend that you only use wax that does not contain solvents.  DIY Wax or Sweet Pickins Furniture Polish are good choices.

    Can Paint Inlay sheets be left on a project between applications?

    Theoretically yes, just store your project in a low humidity environment.

    Can IOD Paint Inlays be used with other types of paint?

    IOD Paint Inlays were designed to be used with non-polymer containing paints, such as DIY Paint. Polymers, such as latex and acrylics, act as binders in paint products.  This is important in understanding how the Paint Inlays work.  Polymers will interfere with the ability of the carrier sheet to release from the surface of your project once it is dry.  Therefore, when using paints containing Polymers, you may have difficulty removing your carrier sheet—and paper will be left behind on your project, which is not desired.  You may have better results if you remove the sheet before the paint and carrier sheet has fully dried, but this can possibly affect the way the paint from the Inlay embeds in your piece—as well as affecting your overall design outcome.  For all of these reasons, you may want to consider using DIY Paint, a non-polymer chalk type paint that works well with the Paint Inlays.  Milton’s Daughter carries the full line of DIY Paint.  Many other brands of chalk-type paints do contain Polymers and you will need to check the ingredients first before attempting to use with IOD Paint Inlays.

    Will the Inlay dry if not sealed?

    Do not confuse the terms “dry” and “sealed;” the paint in your Paint Inlay will dry quickly.  However, being that the paint in your IOD Paint Inlay does not contain Polymers, it can be re-activated with water indefinitely until a sealer is applied, which creates a protective barrier on the painted surface.

    How does sealing protect the inlay?

    The paint in the Paint Inlay, like other chalk paints, is porous when dry.  Water-based sealer and waxes form a non-porous barrier, effectively protecting the surface of your painted piece.

    Why does the surface paint have to dry before pulling away the Inlay carrier sheet?

    As the paint dries it creates a stronger bond between your project’s painted surface and the Paint Inlay paint, than with the Paint on the Paint Inlay and the carrier paper; therefore, the paint from the Paint Inlay becomes “embedded” in your painted surface.

    Can Paint Inlays be rolled for storage?

    Being a brand new product, there’s simply not enough information to say yes or no; however, it is recommended that you store Paint Inlays flat to prevent any possible curling for ease of use; flat storage will also help keep your used, dry Inlays in good shape for your next application.

    Does temperature effect Paint Inlays when storing or shipping?

    Paint Inlays are more stable than other types of furniture transfers when it comes to storing and shipping in hot or cold temperatures.  However, high humidity/moisture can affect them, but if stored in their cellophane wrapper without direct moisture penetrating the package, they should be well-protected.

    Can a water-based, commercially available spray sealer/topcoat that comes in aerosol format, or water-based sealer topcoat in a sprayer be used instead of mixing the 50:50 ratio of water to sealer?

    Absolutely!  The 50/50 ratio of sealer to water in a small bottle is just a hack that works well for those who don’t have access to a sprayer and/or don’t have the facility to use a sprayer or aerosol spray.

    Can a hair dryer be used to speed up the dry time of a Paint Inlay?

    Yes, but be sure not to use any drying tool that gets very hot, as heat can damage your paint by accelerating cracking, bubbling, chipping and even removal of your surface paint.  Fans that encourage the natural movement of air work well, as chalk paints and mineral paints tend to dry quickly on their own.

    Do Paint Inlays used on walls need to be sealed?

    Yes, it doesn’t matter where you are using your Paint Inlays, they must be sealed.

    Can Paint Inlays be used on mildew-resistant paint?

    The answer is “we don’t know,” but knowing that mildew-resistant paints are polymer-based, you would probably need to first paint your surface with a non-polymer chalk-type paint before applying your Paint Inlay.  You may also need to seal using several coats for protection against a high moisture environment and for durability.

    Can I apply Paint Inlays to a non-painted surface or to a piece that I don’t want to re-paint?

    Paint Inlays can be embedded into clear topcoats, with some special considerations for timing when removing the carrier sheets. Different brands of topcoats, sealers and paints containing polymers might work better than others.  Timing for removal of the carrier sheets is going to be key in how your Paint Inlays work with these products. For this reason, it is best to test an inconspicuous place on your project or on a sample board first.

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