I first saw this project on Pinterest and was instantly drawn to the idea of being able to blow up an image at such a low price. I thought this would be a fun project and a nice little gift for my brother-in-law and his wife, Luis & Anee, since I'm decorating their new house.
Step 1 - Choose an Image.
I chose a picture from our wedding that was taken by our amazing photographer, Katrina Perry, of my adorable niece and nephew (children of Luis & Anee). The image file I uploaded is super high resolution, but one of the tutorials I saw online actually used an old tiny polaroid and even that turned out ok.
- Go to www.staples.com to upload your photo
- Create a username and password
- Click "Copy and Print Services" and choose "Engineering Print" under "Oversized Prints"
- Choose the Blueprint size you want and click "Fit content to paper" to maximize the size potential
- Pick a location to pick up your print
I did mine as a 36"x48" print which was $7.29. Because it's an engineering print, it is only available in black and white, and it's somewhat of a fast draft, so the quality isn't perfect, but it's not bad (especially for the price)!
*TIP - Pick a picture that has more light colors than dark. The one I did had a lot of black so it ended up a little streaky.
The tutorial I saw used foam board, but I decided to use wood instead - it's a little more expensive, but worth it, in my opinion. I chose a 4'x4' piece of oak because it was solid enough to not be flimsy but is still lightweight and inexpensive. The print size was 3'x4' but the image itself didn't fill the entire height of the paper, so there was a white border on top and on bottom (think widescreen). While at the hardware store, just have one of the employees in the wood cutting department cut the wood to the size of the image.
*TIP - Measure the image and have the wood cut to about 3" shorter on the length and the width of the image so the paper will wrap around the wood. So if the image is 31"x48", have the board cut to 28"x45".
- Recruit a helper
- Lay the board on a flat surface (preferably outside) with something underneath to protect your floor
- Spray the glue evenly all over the board making sure you get to the edges and corners
- Have your helper hold one end, and you hold the other at the corners
- Line up the edges and start pressing the paper into the glue
- Work out as many bubbles as possible as you attach the paper to the board
- Fold excess paper over the edges of the board and use the spray glue to attach to back
*TIP - Start pressing the from the middle paper and work your way out. Once to the edges, you may have to cut slit at corners to create a wrapped look.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
I did not cut the board as small as I should've. My original plan was to paint the edges of the board with some gray paint I had laying around, and then cut the paper to the exact size of the board. That didn't work. Save yourself the trouble and have the board cut right the first time. This will cut out a time-consuming step of painting the edges, and also gives the final product a more finished look.
I'll say it again: LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
When the picture didn't fully cover the width (even though the paper was 4' and the wood was 4'), I took it back to the hardware store and had them try to cut off the excess. Clearly, this was a bad idea. The wood edge was gone, but picture was shredded. I'm too stubborn to give up, so the solution was electric tape. Hopefully, these steps won't be relevant to your project, but I thought I'd include them, nonetheless.
- Lay the board with the attached photo on a flat surface with something underneath it for protection (I used my kitchen table because it's a good height)
- Fill the roller tray with gloss medium & varnish (I had some already, but you can purchase from an art supply store for around $10)
- Roll the varnish all over the image and around the edges. It will look a little white until it dries. The rolling also made the paper wrinkly, which wouldn't have been my preference, but it works. It kind of gives it a vintage feel
*Note: The varnish will seal the picture and will allow you to clean it with a damp cloth after it collects dust over the years.
- Measure and mark where you want to put the hook eyes. Rule of thumb is 1/3 of the distance from the top. Since mine was 31" tall, I measured 10" from the top and about 1" from the edge.
- Wrap the wire through the eye of the hook and leave an extra few inches of wire around itself for extra support.
I bought the shortest hook eyes to attach the hanging wire to, but I was still nervous that they would go all the way through the 1/4" wood and puncture the picture, so I super glued a couple small pieces of wood to the back to provide a thicker area to drive the hook eye screws into. This is not necessary, and if I do this project again, I will definitely skip this step.