Make a Giant Photo Poster for Under $10

Staples will tell you, in all truth, that their Engineer Prints (starting at $1.79) are not suitable for photos. This is true. But when you throw that engineer print up on the wall, and stand back, you can hardly tell that the pixels are not tight and crisp. All you see is the drama of a black and white photograph, that perfectly captures that moment in time you want to preserve.

giant photo poster 2001

Staples can convert your photo into an Engineering Print in a matter of seconds, while you wait in the store. The widest print is 36 inches. But you can order one online as wide as 48 inches, and still get in-store pickup. The print can be as long as you want — infinity. Prices are cheap, and black and white are your only options — which is fine with me.

Email Staples your photo, or hand them a flash drive with your photo attached. Be sure to have your photo cropped and edited before you send it.

In my son’s room, there was a narrow, 27 inch side gap between his two windows. It needed something….So, I gave Staples this photo,

zach bday copy

and asked them to print it 25 inches wide, and six feet long. The entire price was less than $5.00, and it was done in less than 20 minutes.

Now, an Engineering Print is printed on cheap, flimsy paper… you get what you pay for. So, before you can hang your poster, you will need to mount it to something sturdy.

Enter Loew’s. Ask for a big sheet of Polystyrene  A sheet, 4 feet by 8 feet, sells for $6.98. It’s basically a big piece of Styrofoam. (Good luck getting it home! We had to cut it in half, ensuring that I still had 72 inches for the length, just to get it to fit into the car.) On your way out of the store, make sure you grab a can of spray adhesive.

Once you get everything home, you’ll need to work outside to spray the adhesive. Using an exact o knife, we cut the Styrofoam.  Use a black sharpie to cover the edges of the Styrofoam. (You can’t spray paint Styrofoam, by the way.) The black gives a nice finish to the edge.

Attaching the poster to the styrofoam can be tricky — but we figured out a foolproof system:


giant photo poster003

  1. Carefully lay your poster on top of the Styrofoam. Line up the edges, and use books to hold the bottom half of the poster in place.
  2. Roll down the top half of the poster, and begin spraying the Styrofoam with the spray adhesive  Once it is coated well, lift up the top half of the poster to lay it squarely onto the Styrofoam.
  3. GENTLY smooth out bubbles… but do not do a perfectionist. The poster is thin. Try to use a rolling pin – and not your hand.
  4. One the top half is done, repeat for the bottom half.

giant photo poster002

Next, we sprayed the entire poster with a coat of spray polyethylene to protect it and keep it safe.

The effect, is awesome!

giant photo poster l002


For a hanger — this is a very light piece of art — so we simply used picture hanging wire, to create a loop, and used duct tape to attach it to the back. Yes, you will have to wrap the wire around a few times to make sure the wire doesn’t slip out from under the duct tape — but you can figure it out.

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One comment to “Make a Giant Photo Poster for Under $10”
  1. LOVE THAT!! I have a couple pictures of the kids sledding from last week that would look AWESOME. And this actually seems like something I could do!!!

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