What Are You Waiting For? Inspiration & Tips for Making Large Engineering Prints

What Are You Waiting For? Inspiration & Tips for Making Large Engineering Prints

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Carrie McBride
Sep 4, 2014
(Image credit: Smitten Studio)

You saw it. You loved it. You pinned it. You haven't done it yet. You lazy bones. What are you waiting for? More inspiration? More tips? Okay, okay, here you go...here are some of the best and most beautiful ways we've seen engineering prints used in the home along with information and tips to help you make your own.

What are engineering prints anyway? They are large black and white prints created on plotter printers traditionally used for engineering and architectural work.

Pro: Big art for little money
Con: Lower visual and paper quality than traditional photographic prints. Their appearance is akin to a large photocopy.

Engineering prints are also known as: engineer prints, blueprints, oversize prints, and architectural prints.

(Image credit: Smitten Studio)

Sarah of Smitten Studio combined two images to create this striking image worth printing on a grand scale. (Note to self: improve Photoshop skills.)

(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

Text added to these profile photos designates sides of the bed (and creates an endless staring contest) for this couple on A Beautiful Mess.

(Image credit: Oh My Little Dears)

Oh My Little Dears Amanda took a series of photos of her daughters and turned them into a photo booth-style collage which the girls decided to hang in their bedroom.

Catherine of Design Editor took a photo of a beloved old camera on a white background and had it printed. Like old cameras, too? You're in luck - you can download this picture or one of her Brownie on her blog.

(Image credit: Yellow Brick Home)

Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home scanned these images from an old book to grace their living room wall.

Where can you have engineering prints made?
Many printers offer this service usually for less than $10/print (sometimes as low as $3 or $4). Most will warn you that engineering prints are not suitable for photographs. As long as you understand that the paper will be thin and the image not crystal clear - proceed!

(Image credit: The Band Wife)

Laura, aka The Band Wife, took the idea to new heights (and widths) with this snow leopard wall mural made from three engineering prints.

(Image credit: Two Ellie)

For her son's sixth birthday party Paula of Two Ellie chose a photo from each year of her son's life to enlarge. She hung them around the house with washi tape.

(Image credit: Mox & Fodder)

Kathryn and Joey of Mox & Fodder took a photo of a mundane object (actually, a collector's item at this point!) and enlarged it on their wall. Check out their home to see a few more ways they've used engineering prints.

Tips for making engineering prints look their best:

1. Start with a high resolution image. Since the "look" of these prints is imperfect, images that aren't super hi-res will work, but if you have it, the higher resolution the better.

2. Convert your image to black and white before you have it printed so you can get a better sense of how it will look. (If you are an image editor newbie, try PicMonkey and follow these instructions for making your image black and white).

3. Tweak the contrast and brightness to get closest to the look you want.

4. Size your image to the same dimensions as the size you plan to have it printed. Some places may charge you to re-size the image if you don't.

(Image credit: Chris Loves Julia)

Chris and Julia of Chris Loves Julia hung this sweet photo in their reading room of their daughter embracing their dog.

(Image credit: Almost Makes Perfect)

No room for a real Christmas tree? Molly of Almost Makes Perfect printed out a photo of one, hung it from a wooden dowel and even decorated it with ornaments.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

Faith of The Kitchn hosted a Mother's Day brunch for her mother and grandmother. Her sentimental party decorations included these old family photos printed as engineering prints. She walks you through the process here.

(Image credit: Design*Sponge)

Here, a childhood action figure toy and a porcelain figurine were photographed and printed to adorn the walls in Michael and Mandy Pellegrin's home shown on Design*Sponge.

(Image credit: I Am Momma Hear Me Roar)

As part of her son's superhero bedroom Cheri of I Am Momma Hear Me Roar created this custom "newspaper" poster about her son. She walks through the details here.

(Image credit: I Am Momma Hear Me Roar)

Possibly outdoing herself, Cheri of I Am Momma Hear Me Roar (also above) photographed some of her son's favorite toys to create these large prints which she mounted (with spray adhesive) to MDF boards.

(Image credit: Radical Possibility)

Zandi of Radical Possibility used gold thumbtacks to create a border around her engineering print.

(Image credit: Turnstone)

Teri at Turnstone created this print for the office and offers the photo file as well as a some others as downloads.

(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

Elsie of A Beautiful Mess styled this print with black paper triangles taped to the wall as a frame. Try cutting contact paper to achieve a similar affect with more staying power.

(Image credit: Project Palermo)

Marti of Project Palermo created a triptych of engineer prints with wooden dowels and binder clips to hang above her bed.

How the heck do I hang them?

You'll see plenty of ideas above ranging from the super casual washi tape to traditional frames. Depending on the content of your image, you may want to trim it to the size of a frame you already own or something affordable from a thrift shop or IKEA. Other ideas include using spray adhesive to mount them to foam board, MDF or plywood, using poster putty or Command poster strips.

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