DIY – Super-Sized Photo Wall Art

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You have seen the really big photos to decorate a room on television home decorating shows, right? Super-sized family photos bring a special coziness to any room. Big impact and it looks pretty expensive to make a photograph that size. But it is cheap technique or at least if you can avoid using normal high grade photographic paper & ink. Staples and Office Depot print your photos as an Engineering Print (Black & White or Color) for MUCH less. For this post I selected the smallest size engineering print, which is a whopping 18 x 24 inch paper size and it was less than $2.00 each. If you have a store in your town you can pick it up to avoid shipping costs. I cover the best part of the DIY, How to make the wooden hanger frame – first…it is SIMPLE.  Scroll to the bottom of the post to follow the Staples.com Step-by-Step Engineering Print directions. You can start getting your supplies and do the paint or stain while you wait for the print to be made. This DIY makes an affordable gift, Hint: Father’s Day, think like a tv home decor “celebrity,” go HUGE, 30 x 48″ (B&W engineering print, $7.29!)

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Here’s how to make the Wooden Photo Hanger…

Supplies: Check out what you have already around the house before hitting the stores.

White Poster Board Paper (optional) – I purchased mine at a Dollar Store for 50 cents. If you are doing a huge size print, skip this part. The prints are so cheap it can be changed out often. I even have seen these prints used outdoors on patio walls to decorate for summer and for parties.

Photo Mount Spray (optional)- Use to adhere photo print to poster board.  Tip: lightly spray adhesive onto the poster board not to the photo paper. You may use rubber cement, or double-sided tape instead. *Adhere the photo print to the poster board then trim the poster board to the size of your print. 

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Photo: Bottom wood assembly. Screw & washer tightened with a nut.

Wood & Engineering Print Photo– you will need 4 wood lengths per photo. Add 1/2-inch to the width of the photo image for your final wood cut length, cut 4 pieces of wood that length. I used wood that was 1.5″ x 1/4″ x the 16″ photo image width +1/2″ =16 1/2″ wood length. Because my photo image was smaller than the paper it was printed on, I trimmed off the blank white margins from the sides only, leaving the top blank white margins on so the wood covers it.  **That is something to remember when you choose or crop your original photo, the paper will be sandwiched between the wood at top & bottom so don’t squeeze the image at top or bottom, you don’t want to cover the head with the wood hanger. (See bottom of post for How to order engineering print photo.)

Hardware – I used for Top wood assembly: 2 (1-inch wide, 1/4″ hole) Washers, 2 (1/4″-20 x 1-inch long) Screws, tightened with 2 (1/4″-20) Wing Nuts  – and for Bottom wood assembly: 2 ( 5/8-inch wide, 1/4″ hole) Washers, 2 (1/4″-20 x 1-inch long) Screws with 2 (1/4″) Nuts. To make the hanging apparatus I used: 2 (17/32-inch) screw eyes, 1 (16-inch) necklace chain – or you can use twine, ribbon or wire (I bought my necklace chain for $4. at craft store, I cut to size) -attach chain to screw eyes, using 2 jump rings (optional, I had them in my jewelry stuff.) 1 label holder, (Michael’s craft store, $1.99/pkg of 4) *The antique brass finish of the label holder is what determined the metal finish of the hardware. I spray painted the wing nuts, washers etc either antique brass tone or black.

Paint & Stain – Paint for hardware (optional), Wood Stain (I use leftover Classic Gray Miniwax Stain) or Paint is used for the wood finish. I am going to later soft wax the wood to enhance it. I use Annie Sloan clear soft wax.

Tools – Drill, (for the screw holes in wood), ruler, scissors, screw driver, and pencil, hole punch or exacto knife to make hole in mounted photo for screw to pass through.

Optional: Computer & print for making “Pismo”as photo description inserted into label holder.

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Method:

Cut your engineering photo print (explained above in Wood & EP Photo). Mount the photo on poster board as described above in supplies and trim edges. The wood pieces will all be cut 1/2″ longer than the width of the photo. Top & bottom of photo will be hidden between the wood, so lay a piece of the wood over the areas to see if you need to trim photo or not. Be sure to match up any edges that curve or are ornate. Mark where you want to drill for hardware.  Don’t over think this part. I marked each wood set as #1 & #2 and drew an arrow pointing UP on the inside of each piece of wood so after I drilled I knew how they fit together. For drilling match your drill bit to the screw size (1/4″). Mark one piece of wood for holes and drill it (I used stop and go power shots so the drill did not break through the backside suddenly and split the wood) then take the other wood mate and lay them together like they will be used (put drilled one on top), and firmly hold them in place, insert drill bit through the already drilled hole and do a few quick power shots to make an indentation in the bottom wood. Remove the top wood and finish the hole using short power shots again. Put the two pieces together again and repeat with the second hole, make sure the first holes you just drilled stays lined up. Repeat this on the other set of wood. When totally done drilling, you will have two sets of 2-piece wood brackets. Tip: the washer will cover any extra drilling mistakes : )

Okay, you are in the home stretch. Lay out the photo print, place the front-side drilled wood at the top of the photo, make sure wood is straight & centered to the photo and mark the 2 holes onto the print. Punch holes in the mounted photo, and repeat process using for bottom bracket at the bottom of the photo.

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**I found it easier to first screw in the 2 tiny screw eyes (for attaching chain) to the top wood before I assemble the wood brackets. To do that, make a lead hole or an indentation so it screws in straight (I used a tiny nail driven a bit into the wood and removed)  Also, if you want to add a label holder (for a photo description) now is a good time to do it is before the bottom wood pieces are assembled with photo. Mark the center of the bottom front wood and eyeball label position. Mark the screw holes (or if you are lucky, some label holders have faux screws and you can just glue it on). I used a tiny nail again to make lead holes for my screws. Now you can finally assemble the wood sets at the top & bottom of the photo using your choices of screws/nuts/washers. Be creative, there is no one way to do it!

Assemble the wood, and photo using the hardware screws, washers and nuts. Refer to my photos for ideas on combinations of fastener assembly. I taped the photo in place using masking tape on the inside wood strip before attaching the front wood strip. It kept the photo from moving around. Use the straight edge of the wood to place photo straight and centered.label-holder

(Before cutting chain to length) Attach chain to one side using a jump ring or directly to the Screw Eye. Small needle nose pliers will stretch apart and re-close the metal ring easily. My chain is 16 inches long, but you may want to test out that length before cutting it…bigger photos will take longer chains.

eyelet-&-chain

Closeup of the screw eye, jump ring and chain. The top hardware fastener: washer, wing nut, and a screw that is brought through the back (I painted the end for accent. Note, this shows the front piece of wood, before the back piece was fastened to sandwich the photo.

Hang it and check that everything is straight by measuring the distance from the top wood holder to the bottom wood holder on the right, center and left side. Make adjustments. And Enjoy!

Step-by-Step Engineering Print:

My original photo was a REAL SMALL old photo print, because it was so small, I knew when I scanned it I would need to up the dpi to 600. Then when I enlarged it, I would change it to 300 pixels and crop it to be the nearest size to fit proportionally on 18 x 24 inches (the paper size). It worked out to be an image size of 16 x 22″. I did that resizing in Photoshop Elements. I used Elements to Convert to B&W and I also brightened the photo. I  should have brightened it a bit more so the dark (sunburns!) under the eyes would be less. Oh well.

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The gray shows letter size paper, so my original photo was 2.5″ x 3.3″ – tiny to end up so big. It was important to scan at 600 dpi, when going from tiny to huge.

After you have your picture ready to upload, Open Staples.com, or OfficeDepot.com website, or a similar store in your local who makes Enginering Prints.

Here is a Visual Step-by-Step…

At some point you will be asked to Log In, so you may as well Register at the beginning, ugh not another password to remember.

Click Copy/Print, then select Engineering Print

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Highlight Engineering

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Select size at bottom of description, see prices of each size.

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Engineering Print B&W. You may have to re-log into this section

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Begin button

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Upload photo, check these areas

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last screen before paying

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Here’s your receipt. It may be picked up or shipped. Pickup usually can be done within an hour here, not sure about your store.

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Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside, whew this was long! I wish I could explain things in less than 1,706 words! I promise it is Simple… By the way, I bought my wood at Lowe’s and they cut it for me to length. That made my job so much faster. I used two 7-foot boards cut down into ten 16.5-inch pieces. I have extra wood to make 1 (and a half) more pictures.

new Kathy sig w wc & big mug 159x50

5 thoughts on “DIY – Super-Sized Photo Wall Art

  1. This is a great project. Time to check pics and do a trial one. Black and white pictures sometimes are actually more interesting than color. Very clever.

  2. Phil, I just checked out some local, non-ship stores. The (Willow/Herndon) Office Depot/Max does blueprints. I’m using them to do two more, different shots and going BIGGER even.

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