Frugal Wall Art With Engineering Prints

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to blow up some photos for our walls.  I had ordered some poster-size enlargements a few years ago for our living room, and although we love how they look, they definitely weren’t cheap. 

This time around, I went looking for a way to get some personalized wall art without spending big bucks.  I discovered – thanks to Pinterest – that you can have “engineering prints" made from a picture, for just a few dollars.  They’re supposed to be for blue prints, but you can print whatever you like, as long as you’re ok with blue print quality.  That means that they can be huge (up to 3 feet by 4 feet), but they’re printed on thin paper and only in black and white.  They end up being a little bit more grainy than a photo-quality print would be, but I think the effect is actually pretty cool – they have a slightly soft quality to them.

Lots of office supply places will do these prints; I ended up going to Staples, because it was right next to the grocery store and very convenient.  I put the pictures on a flash drive and took it to the store.  About 10 minutes later, I walked out with my pictures.  I got mine printed in the 2 feet by 3 feet size, as I had frames for that.  The frame I had for our boys was a bit smaller than that, and I was planning to cut the picture down at home.  When the lady at Staples heard that, she offered to just change the print size to match my frame, and all I had to trim off was white space around the edge.  So if you have a frame that is smaller than the sizes they offer, you can ask them to alter your image to fit your frame.

I spent $3.59 on each of these pictures:



The frames are from – of course! – Goodwill.  I got them first, so that I would know what size to get the pictures printed.  They were exactly what I wanted: simple and understated, but large.  I got them on half-price day, and I think I paid about $5 each for them.  I left the original pictures in the frames (flipped backwards so that the images wouldn’t show through light places in the new prints) in order to provide rigidity for the new prints. 

I put these pictures where they won’t get any direct sunlight, as I’m sure that sunlight would fade them much faster than it fades photo-quality prints.  They’ve been on our walls for a few months now, and we love them.  Less than $9 each, including the frames, for huge copies of our photos – hard to beat that!  If and when they fade or we want to switch to newer photos down the line, we can print new pictures for just a few dollars, which is pretty awesome.

Have you tried engineering prints for your walls? 

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  1. Wendy - says

    I didn’t know they were called engineering prints, but we have gotten these inexpensive posters printed from Staples. My husband is a youth pastor and had some done of famous martyrs for his youth room. That was back in September, and they’re still in great shape – even though they were hung without frames.

  2. Kathryn says

    What a great idea! I had never heard of this. I am going to pin, blog and link back. Thanks for sharing this with us:)

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