As part of my "I was Influenced" series I not only wanted to look at products, but also ideas that have gained popularity in the blog-o-insta-sphere. This one isn't new, for the past few years giant engineered print photos have graced home decor blogs. I had read that they don't come out as great as people think they do, but I was curious to try for myself. Here's how I made this 24" x 36" large scale photo and frame for a little under $15.
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I am really terrible about printing photos (aren't we all), but I did want to make an effort to display some of my wedding prints in my home. I am in the middle of a bedroom refresh and thought that it would be nice to have a framed photo from our wedding day there. My dad gave us a new miter saw for Christmas, so I also thought this would be a great introductory project.
I decided to go with black and white since the room itself is black and white. I love black and white photography and my photographer (Olivia Gately Photography if your local) did a great job with it.
The first thing you need for this project is the large print. If you've ever tried to have a picture enlarged you know it can add up quickly. I looked into creating a "poster" out of my image at Target Photo, but a 24 X 36 poster would run around $40. So that's when I decided to see if what all the influencers say about engineered prints are true.
Engineered prints are usually used to display things like architecture plans and drawings, not photos. In fact I read quite a few stories where people said Staples no longer will print photos as part of their "engineered prints." I also read that the images are more blurry than bloggers let on (I have a solution for that). I decided to try my luck anyway. I figured for $4 it was worth the gamble.
Prior to uploading my picture, I opened up Canva (you can use any graphic design or photo editing software). I created a new Canva and set the pixels to 24" x 36" and then sized my image and saved it as a new file. I thought this was important to ensure that when the image was blown up it remained sharp. By the way I LOVE Canva and use it for my blog daily (this is not an ad, I just think it's a great product).
I uploaded my new image to the Staples website, paid, pressed submit and waited for them to call me and say they couldn't do it. They never did. 2 hours later I picked up a giant poster sized image. I was impressed with how sharp it was. So for $4 I now had my image.
Next I needed supplies for the frame. I decided to use 1X3's cut at 45 degree angles. 1 X boards are cheap and they cut like butter on the new saw.
I originally planned to mount my picture on plywood. If you go to the back corner of Lowes (where they cut the wood) there is a whole section of smaller plywood pieces ranging from 2X2 to 2X8. They range in price from $7-$20 depending on what you get. I was planning on getting an inexpensive 2X4 and cutting it down. To my surprise they had a board in that section that was a white board on one side and a chalk board on the other. I thought that was pretty cool, and it was already the size I needed, no extra cuts! For $6 I thought it was perfect. My plan was to mount the picture to the whiteboard side and then down the line I could flip it over and use the chalkboard.
Just for comparison, a chalkboard framed in a similar way to what we're doing is $60 on Amazon!
Okay, so putting it all together:
To mount the picture to the board I used adhesive spray and smoothed it out like crazy. I was really nervous that once it went down it wouldn't be forgiving, but I had a little leeway to re-position. I used 3M Adhesive Spray because we had it on hand. We also used it to refelt our pool table. Having used it on two products now, I can say I really like it. It's forgiving, smooths easily and holds up well! Someone asked if you could use a glue stick..probably, but I honestly think you wouldn't get as smooth of a surface. If it's what you have, go for it, but if you can afford to upgrade, get the adhesive spray!
While the glue was setting I built the frame.
I cut my four side pieces at 45 degree angles and attached them with pocket screws and a staple gun for extra hold. Finally I stained them "Dark Walnut" because I had it leftover from another project. (Also, Dark Walnut has streaks of black in it which I thought would pull the black from the photo).
I have to admit, putting a brown wood frame against a black and white picture struck me as odd, but I've seen it on other blogs and it always looked nice, so I went for it. I figured I could repaint it later if I didn't like it.
The other reason I went with a wood stain instead of black paint was to bring some warmth to my room. The walls are black and white. I'll be adding a black fireplace, so there's a need for something warm. I may also frame a large mirror with the same wood tone to pull it in throughout the room.
Once the frame dried I used the staple gun to attach it to my mounted photo. Done!
All in all I'm really happy with how it turned out. It cost me less than $15 including the picture and it's custom to my space. I was pleasantly surprised that the engineering print hack worked. If you see the engineered print trick floating around on influencers blogs and accounts, give it a try! I'm so happy I did. I do want to note that my cost was low because I had my stain and spray on hand already. If you have to purchase these things, you should add another $15 to the project total (still..$30 for a custom framed print isn't bad)! You will be able to reuse those items as well, you only need about 1/8 of a tiny jar of stain, and just a little spray adhesive.
All in all with this project, I have to say that I've been influenced...and I'm okay with it! This bedroom is coming along slowly, if you want to know how I did the geometric feature wall, you can find that here. I'd love to see your framed print if you try this!