Rescue Your Photos: Fun and Inexpensive Poster Art

This is a guest post by Samantha Sand. Samantha is a frequent commenter at Frugal Mama, and she publishes a great blog about using technology to save time and money called Let’s Get Digital. She also runs her own business, Samantha Sand Solutions, where she helps small businesses get on the Web and grow their business online.

I’m happy to feature her idea — right before the craziness that is Black Friday — for a gift that is valuable yet barely costs anything.

Your Photos on Canvas

Your Photos on Canvas

I have thousands of digital photos on my computer. You probably do, too. Look, there’s baby Brian on the beach for the first time…what a great shot! Remember that trip to Europe…? Sure I do, when I look at these dreamy photos from the Irish countryside. Some memories just bring a smile to my face every time. I’d love to enjoy them on my wall, but these days I’m into scale. As in BIG.

Scale is Expensive

There’s no shortage of websites that will convert your cherished photos to canvas, at varying sizes. For a 20 x 30 inch poster size print from Canvas Pop, you’ll pay anywhere from $129 to $204, depending on options like the thickness of the canvas. For just a basic rolled up print, with no frame, you’ll pay $99. Then add tax and $14 shipping. (They’ll throw in free shipping if you spend over $150, but note that the popular 20 x 30 poster on 1.5 inch canvas is priced at $149.) And that’s just one print. Expensive!

Print Your Own Poster-Sized Photos

If you love scale as much as I do, you will love Block Posters. Visit this free site to upload your favorite photo. Block Posters takes just a few seconds to convert the image into a perfectly sliced-up PDF file, which you can download and print on your own home printer. You don’t even have to sign up or create a password. So easy and free!

Block Posters

Block Posters

Getting the Poster on Your Wall

Once you’ve printed the pages, you’ll need to cut off the white border around each image. Many printers don’t print edge to edge, and Block Posters decided leaving in a white border was safest. You could use scissors, but I recommend using a paper trimmer. You’ll get straighter cuts, and finish them faster.

Trim the Borders

Trim the Borders

Next, it’s puzzle time. Assemble your poster by piecing it together and gluing it to your chosen surface. I bought poster frames at IKEA for $9.99 each, so I glued my photo to the cardboard backing that came with the frame. Glue both the entire surface and the back of each photo for extra hold.

Glue the Pieces Together

Glue the Pieces Together

I used “Easy Tack” from my local craft supply store. It really was repositionable — when I wasn’t happy with the original placement, I could gently peel the photo paper off the cardboard and try again.

Repositionable Adhesive Spray

Repositionable Adhesive Spray

When you’re done, trim off any excess paper, and frame! You will see some seams, but don’t fret. On the wall they look great.

Finished Poster

Finished Poster

Finished Poster

Finished Poster

Smiles for Every Room

I had the most fun deciding where to place all my new posters. Now I smile every time I walk into the kids’ playroom.

Avery's Poster in the Playroom

Avery's Poster in the Playroom

Brian's Poster in the Playroom

Brian's Poster in the Playroom

Other Options

The bright colors of these frames are great for a child’s room, but if you don’t live near an IKEA or you’d like something more subdued, mount the poster to a 20 x 30 inch foam board. $2.99 at the local Michael’s.

Brian in the Gardens of Oslo

Brian in the Gardens of Oslo

Totaling It Up

After an initial investment of $7.99 for the spray adhesive, I only had to purchase my desired mounts (poster frames and foam boards). I already owned this Fiskars paper trimmer (available at Amazon for $8.95). As for the paper and ink, these costs are harder to estimate, but let’s say 50 cents for each piece of high quality photo paper and 30 cents in ink. At eight pieces of paper per poster, that totals just $16.39 for each framed poster. Spend even less by using the foam board; total cost $9.39.

The Bottom Line

Rescue cherished family photos from your computer with an easy and fun print project from Block Posters. Compared to $143 for the least expensive, comparably sized canvas poster at Canvas Pop (other vendors priced similarly), this DIY alternative offers both big-time scale for your walls and big-time savings for your wallet. Now that’s something to smile about!

Samantha SandSamantha Sand is a mother, writer, technology consultant and founder of Sand Solutions and Let’s Get Digital. She loves finding ways to make digital life easier, and sharing her ideas with others.

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14 comments

  • Pete Morrell January 5, 2012, 10:49 am

    Thanks for showing this step by step and the spray adhesive you chose. I attempted this with another brand of spray that was smaller and more expensive and was not movable. Results were not as professional as yours. Was able to use Cardstock instead of photo paper as it is thicker and there was no bleed through or wrinkles. Almost like laying floor tile because of the thickness. I did do a practice with a one sheet photo first before attempting a larger one. Only tip I would suggest is start with a corner first to help with allignment. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Samantha @ Let's Get Digital December 3, 2011, 11:08 pm

    Hi everyone – if you give Block Posters a try, I’d love to see your results! Please share a quick photo of your project on my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/LGDigital. I hope you can find time and get to enjoy some fun personalized posters on your walls as much as I do!
    Samantha @ Let’s Get Digital´s last post ..The Wonderful World of Paperless and Other Unicorns

    Reply
  • laura December 2, 2011, 12:29 pm

    What great ideas! The idea of turning family photos into art reminded me of an article I saw that was also about “affordable art” — maybe not as cute as family photos, though! Emerging artists are now selling their pieces on the internet for non-gallery prices. Finally, art I can afford! A few of the site names are curio.com, 20×200.com, socurio.com and artspace.com. The whole article is at http://lat.ms/nepjyK.

    Reply
  • Adele November 22, 2011, 10:43 pm

    Such a thrifty & crafty idea! Great gift idea for the grandparents. Now I have a new project for the holiday weekend and I can avoid the madness of Black friday

    Reply
    • Amy November 23, 2011, 2:53 pm

      Hi Adele,

      Yes, the madness is definitely to be avoided. And what a great excuse — glad you like it too!

      Take care,
      Amy

      Reply
  • Jen @ Jen Spends November 22, 2011, 9:33 pm

    This is fantastic! I had never heard of that Block Posters website, nor would I have thought of slicing an image up into sections. I’ve always wanted to try photo canvases, but they are way too expensive for my budget. I have so many great photos just sitting on my computer. Can’t wait to try this!

    Reply
    • Amy November 23, 2011, 2:53 pm

      Hi Jen,

      I totally hear you about having so many great photos, just sitting there in the dark. I’m glad that it looks like a fun doable project to you!

      Take care,
      Amy

      Reply
  • Samantha @ Let's Get Digital November 22, 2011, 4:36 pm

    I’m super excited to share this fun poster project with Frugal Mama readers! Thank you Amy! My posters are still bringing smiles and getting a lot of attention from visitors. It’s my favorite “rescue your photos” tip. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
    Samantha @ Let’s Get Digital´s last post ..Don’t Even Think of Going Paperless Without This

    Reply
    • Amy November 23, 2011, 2:52 pm

      Hi Samantha,

      Yay, I’m so glad you are happy to be here — I’m so happy to feature the work of such a conscientious blogger and businesswoman.

      Happy Turkey Day,
      Amy

      Reply
  • thefrugallery November 22, 2011, 4:09 pm

    What a great idea! I’m imagining they would look great in black & white as well. The best part is, wall art like this really starts conversations. A lot more than store-bought canvases or prints. Thanks for sharing!
    thefrugallery´s last post ..Get Ready for Small Business Saturday

    Reply
    • Amy November 23, 2011, 2:50 pm

      Hey there! I agree that black and white would look great. Good point. And you are so right about starting conversations. And of course, kids love seeing their own image!

      Reply

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