07 January 2013

How To Make An Oversized Photo Print For Cheap!


If you remember, this wall in our dining room used to have a big mirror leaning against it. 

You can see part of it in this picture:

I liked how it looked there, but it wasn't secured very well to the wall- we're renting so we try to do as little damage to the place as possible, and these walls crumble when you put a screw through them. So with the mirror we didn't anchor it properly in place; I just used some command strips at the top to help it lean a little more sturdily. But when my two year old son (the same kid who broke my For Like Ever sign in half) suddenly developed an uncontrollable desire to knock the mirror over, those command strips didn't stand a chance. I came in the room one day to find my son behind it, shoving with all his might, and the mirror precariously balancing on one corner and swaying towards the table. It was a miracle I was able to sprint across the room in time to grab it before it shattered everywhere.

I was terrified it was going to kill someone so I had my husband take the mirror down to the basement while I thought up something new to go on this wall. 

I've actually wanted to make one of these oversized photo prints for quite a while now, and getting rid of the mirror freed up pretty much the only wall space in the house that we have to put one on. 
Months ago I pinned this tutorial from Sugar Bee Crafts, and it's where I first got the idea to make one of these. I ended up doing mine a little differently than in that tutorial though.

What was the same, is how I got my picture blown up so big: I took it to Staples and ordered their largest "architectural" print. 

This is the picture I used:

It's a photo Rob took of our oldest son over the summer when we were in Florida on vacation.

It only cost me $7 and some change to get this printed out to the largest size Staples makes- which is 36"x48". 

For that price it's printed on normal paper and is only available in black and white, but I love the black and white so I didn't mind. The woman at Staples told me that I could get it printed out in color on glossy paper at this size, and that it would cost around $45.00. That's not a bad price for the size, so I may do it eventually. But for now I was trying to keep things as cheap as possible.

 I didn't want to use the huge foam board from home depot to mount it on, which is what the Sugar Bee Crafts and other tutorials I've seen have used. It comes way larger than what you need and I wasn't sure how difficult it would be to cut, especially since I don't have a garage so I don't have a big open space to lay the board out on.  

So instead I went to Joann Fabrics and got this:

Just like what I used to make science projects on at school.

Look at the size:

Exactly the size of the photo print, so no cutting!

Okay, some cutting...

For what ever reason my photo didn't take up all of the space on the paper- there was a skinny strip of white at the top and bottom.

So I measured the width of both strips and cut that amount off of the bottom of the poster board. 
But it was easy cutting.

All the edges of the poster board looked rough like this:

So I used white duct tape that I'd also bought at Joann's (it was in the same aisle as the poster board)
to cover all the sides. That way when you look at the picture from the side it has a neat edge.

Then since it has the two big folds that I didn't want to be able to fold anymore, I taped up the back of the board to hold it straight. 

Then the poster board was ready for the photo.

For this part it was helpful to have a helper.

I took the board outside and sprayed the front of it with spray adhesive,
 then I brought it back in and laid it on the floor and Rob and I each held opposite sides of the photo and carefully laid it down on the board, making sure everything was lined up right. 
I hadn't cut those empty strips of paper at the top and bottom of the photo; I just folded them over the top and bottom of the poster board and taped them down in the back. 

The best part about using the poster board for this is how light it is- I didn't have to put a single nail hole in the wall. I just used a bunch of command strips to hold it up. 

And it looks so awesome!

With the cost of printing, the poster board and the tape I spent around $17 to make this. 
Not bad for something that has so much impact! I just love how huge it is!! (No that's what she said jokes in the comments section! haha)


  1. Fantastic project and tutortial! And I actually like the big photo better than the mirror. Happy New Year, Brooke!


  2. Awesome! Loving it way more than the mirror - glad you went so large!

  3. What a genius you are!!!
    It looks awesome. Love it in the black and white.

  4. Cool project Brooke! I love that picture. When I first saw it I thought he was looking down on the earth from space and couldn't figure out how you did it! Looks great in the room.

  5. LOVE this. I've wanted to do something with large scale pictures for a while now. Yours turned out fabulous.

  6. Awesome picture, awesome project. You're the best;)

  7. Very clever! The picture looks great in your dining room :) Yels x

  8. OMG I just love this and it is so easy
    I am so going to try this and soon
    Thanks for all the great tips

  9. That turned out so cool, Brooke! Thanks for the tips!


  10. Brooke! Wow! Ok that is wonderful to learn about and know. I have a wall that needs that sort of art (big art) and in a cheap way. Loving it, I am!!!!

  11. This makes me so excited as I think I know the perfect photo to try this out with. Thanks so much for the great tutorial!! :)

  12. Brooke,
    It looks fantastic. The photo is so cool. Only $7 for the print? Great diy.
    I've not been blogging lately, but every time I can your blog is one of the first ones, because you always surprises me with your ideas.
    Happy 2013!

    ps: my blog address has changed: