Make Your Own Large Art for Only $9!

engineer print diy

make your own large art for only $9

make your own large art

We’ve been in our place for a year now and we just recently started to do some decorating. Partly because we just haven’t decided what we really want to do, partly because I was pregnant for most of the last year (that was completely distracting), and partly because the walls are big and tall. In the living room there is a railing/shelf thing that the previous owner installed so we’ve had little prints just kind of thrown up there and they looked cute for about a minute until they started to feel disorganized and clutter-y. Since my in-laws were coming out to visit the baby I decided it was the perfect time to spruce up the place, and finally make some decorating decisions.

Before we moved in I envisioned very large dark, moody, flowery, tall bush photographs on our main living room wall. If we had those types of bushes here in Denver I would go take some photographs of them, save my pennies to pay for nice color prints, convince my husband that very large photographs of flowers would look amazing (and not old-lady-like), and then that would be that – vision fulfilled!

Since we don’t have large flowering bushes here and since I didn’t want to spend a lot of money right now I went with my backup idea that I’ve got to admit, turned out pretty cool. I was able to give our living room a whole new look for only $27 – the cost of 3, 3×4 foot prints!

I created large engineer/draft prints of vintage stock photos, and each print only cost $9!

How to make your own very large art for only $9…

Get yourself some black and white photograph files. The larger the digital files the better. If the files aren’t large then they will look pixelated and extra dotty (low-resolution files might look cool too, if that’s the look you’re into). You can scan in old family photographs, convert new digital photograph files to black and white (or ask the copy center to just print them in black and white), or you can buy stock images (I got a whole bunch of stock images last year so I had these images on hand. Here are the links to the images I used from Shutterstock if you want to purchase the same ones: Woman Going For A Swim, Woman on Diving Board At Swimming Pool, and Ready To Fight.)

You can also get a ton of get imagery from sources online. All of these resources allow you to use the images for free:

Next, call up your local copy shop (I used FedEx/Kinko’s) and confirm that they make engineer/draft prints. Ask for their email address (this will save you a drive to the shop, and will save you gas. Since my husband and I share a car I’m always looking for ways to avoid extra trips.) Then, email the large files to the copy shop with instructions. Be sure to specify that you want black and white engineer prints. I made sure to tell them that I wanted the final prints to be as close to 3’x4′ as possible.

In 2 hours I was able to go to the shop and pick them up! The prints were so easy to make and they look great on the walls!

Some things I learned:

  • The paper is very thin. Imagine standard copy paper… well, it’s even thinner than that. If you want nice thick photograph paper then you probably won’t like how these turn out.
  • Color engineer prints are available but in my opinion, they are not worth the cost, at all. Color prints are significantly more expensive then the black and white ones. I made the mistake of getting a color engineer print made and while the black and white prints cost $9 the color print cost $80!
  • These images (especially if they are very large) look best viewed from afar.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a post about how to make the large art frames!

Is this a DIY you think you might try? Do you have any methods for creating large art that you like to use?


8 thoughts on “Make Your Own Large Art for Only $9!

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  1. Kristi

    First of all, I love your blog. We are paying off debt and you give me hope! Secondly, I had found a website that offered some scriptures in cool fonts and was thinking about framing some of them in my son’s room-this is a great idea with the photos as well in other rooms. Thanks and I look forward to the next post about framing!

  2. Natalie

    This is so awesome. I’m planning to do this soon. Great tutorial. Another resource for high res historical photographs is the Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genaeology digital photographs collection:

    You have to buy the digital files, but they’re pretty reasonable, and the money goes to support the library. Plus, if you’re into local Denver/western history, you can’t beat it!


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