All the cool kids are doing it.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with all of the posts about blowing photos up with Staples’ Engineering Prints process. You can get black and white enlargements up to 3X4 for under $10. This process is meant for simple line drawings, like architectural plans, but some genius on the Internet tried it with photos, someone pinned it, and it took off from there. If you search for “Engineer Prints” on Pinterest, you’ll find hundreds of pins where people have tried it. Since moving into the new house, I haven’t been able to do a lot of decorating — mainly I’ve been focusing all of my creative energy on stocking the booth, which, luckily, has helped my sales pick up considerably. I have a dining room table and some shelving that needs painting, badly, at our own house, but I suppose I’ll get to that after the Barn Sale. But I have been hankering on getting some personal touches on the walls, so I thought it was a perfect time to experiment with this — when you’re spending under $10, there’s not that much to lose. Back in May, my extraordinarily talented friend Rob Sutton took some family pictures for us while he was in Fayetteville, performing in a musical — wait, what? Doesn’t EVERYBODY have the ability to sing like an angel AND take amazing photos? No? Huh. Guess it’s just the spectacular Rob.  I was so grateful to him for doing this, because we haven’t had professional photos taken since the babies were born. He snapped my favorite photo EVER of my husband and me.

Pardon the hair. I had just gotten a hair cut and the stylist apparently thought I was a 64-year-old Republican and proceeded to give me helmet hair. (No offense to any 64 year-old Republicans who might be reading. Your hair is beautifully stylish and of-the-moment, I’m sure.)

Though I love the photo, I felt a little bit weird about blowing up a picture of myself to almost life-size. Rob had done a crop of this shot that I loved as well.

After I turned the .jpg over to Staples (super easy time uploading it to their Website), it turned out like this:

I’ve got it over the mantle in the family room.

I LOVE it. Basically, everything I read on the Internet about the process was true — it’s very thin paper, the quality is very zerox-like, don’t expect a whole lot of details to come through. But I love the kind of dreamy, vintage feel about it.

This photo that he took of the kids is, I think, my favorite of all that he took:

That little look on Jack’s face (yikes, did he need a haircut) just kills me.

This one had a less successful translation.

I think because it was already black and white, it was already high contrast, so dark areas were even darker. I’m okay with it, though, because it looks vintage to me, which I love. This one is going in the dining room, above the buffet, where the crazy monkeys/pub painting was. Unfortunately, that was a novelty item that I tired of pretty quickly. I’ve got to figure out what to do with it, because it’s huge — you can see it peeking out from behind the enlarged photo, and the photo is 3 feet by 4 feet!

To mount them, I just followed the instructions from this blog. You can buy insulation foam boards at Home Depot or Lowe’s (mine was $10, and it was big enough to use for both photos). You’ll have to ask them to cut it before you leave the store, unless you have The World’s Most Ginormous Truck, in which case, I have some things I need to move, can you help out? Some of the blogs mentioned the spray adhesive reacting poorly with the foam, but I found one person who had experimented with a few different kind of spray adhesive and determined that Loctite worked best, so that’s what I got. I had no problems with bubbling or bleeding through.

I did both of these for under $30!

The possibilities for using this print method are endless. A few years ago, I posted this idea from an issue of my beloved Blueprint:

I’m thinking about digging up an old letter my granny wrote and seeing how it looks blown up. BUT. Here’s what I think: this won’t last long. Staples never meant for these copies to be used like this and it has to be super expensive to print these photos — they have to use a lot more ink than they would if they were blowing up a line print, as was intended. This can’t be profitable for them. I asked my buddy at Office Max, where I have my prints done, if they offer this kind of service and he said they do have Engineer Prints but they don’t allow photos for that price. So if you’ve had this pinned for a while, I would advise you that sooner, rather than later, is a good idea.

Linking up to The Nifty Thrifty on A Living Space. 


August 8, 2013 - 3:13 pm

Melissa I think I need to do this project! Your’s came out so cool!

August 8, 2013 - 5:32 pm

Shannon That looks SO, SO good! When is the barn sale?

August 8, 2013 - 7:15 pm

Shara Well, now, isn’t that wonderful?????? They are both great! I wonder if you lightened up the photo of the babies and then had it printed if it wouldn’t be so dark? I have some old letters that I would like blown up like that – but I don’t have anywhere to put them. Yours are wonderful!

August 8, 2013 - 11:38 pm

Into Vintage Wait a minute — all this time I’ve envisioned you as a brunette (did not get as far as age or political affiliation although if I had, a helmet-headed 64-y.o. Republican would have been pretty far down the list).

Barn sale? Really. Where have I been?!