Thursday, August 18, 2016

$5 DIY "Canvas" Prints

Our living room is kind of a funny shape. It's long but not a rectangle; the stairs/closet take away a chunk of room by our angled entryway, and the bay window cuts out a corner of the room on the other side. It's just plain awkward, with a tiny wall by the kitchen and a loooooooong wall at the front of the house. Our television lives on the tiny wall, but what to do with the long one?

I wanted a trio of big family pictures! I also, as always, didn't want to spend a lot of money on them. I mean, we're renting this house,  which means a couple of things. One, whatever decor goes up here is temporary. Two, we're saving for a house down payment. Two compelling reasons to be frugal even if that wasn't already in my nature.

I have to say I'm pleased as punch with the results! I wasn't going to bother blogging about it, but both Elin and Mom asked for the link I roughly used and oh no! It's temporarily down or expired or something. So I guess I'll get to share after all.

I think there are a lot of tutorials for this floating around on the internet, though. The idea is to print high quality photos as an "engineering print" at Staples. Fact: the nearest Staples to me is 20 minutes away. It looks like you can also print these at Office Depot, but as their website was more troublesome, I went with Staples.

Another fact: I don't have very many high-quality images. Look, phones are so convenient for taking photos, alright? So... I just used my phone images and crossed my fingers that they would look respectable. Overall, I was pleased with the results! It's definitely not HD, but the pictures are pretty crisp and not pixelated. I started with just one print to judge the result. Better to lose out on $4 than $12 if you're not satisfied, right?

So online (or in the store, if you're so inclined), I created a Staples account and clicked on "Engineering and Oversized Prints." I chose B&W prints, ignoring the giant warning that these prints aren't suitable for photos. I chose the 24" x 36" size, which is the middle option. I love it, because this makes the print just the right size to go over a standard foam poster board. No need to buy foam board from Home Depot and cut it to size, though that is certainly an option if you wanted the larger 36" x 48" print. So after downloading my image, selecting the size, clicking the "Fit Content to Paper" box, and setting the orientation, I was all set to order my print. Before tax, this costs $3.59. Love it. One trip to staples and Dollar Tree later, I had my print and a $1 foam board.

Now, for the application. The blog that is regrettably down recommended a spray adhesive for best results. I didn't want to go alllllll the way across the street to home depot to search out her magic spray, so I had my modge podge and brush in hand, ready to make the most of what materials I already had.

But I was a little depressed. After all, I've used modge podge before. I know that it's so tricky to make the adhesion perfect, with no bubbling or wrinkling. So I didn't. I actually just folded my print around the board like a crisp Christmas present and carefully taped the edges to the back of the board with packing tape. I know this is a ghetto admission, but then again, we are using cheap prints on poster board, right? And you know what? I love it. The pictures are slick and smooth, taut against the foam board. I really don't miss the textured look. I used the wonderful Command adhesive strips to velcro my art into place, and voila! For $15, my big empty wall is filled with the faces of people I love.

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