Try This: Color Engineer Prints!

Print oversized engineer prints in COLOR! (click through for more)     So, as far as inexpensive wall decor goes, this is a game changer. I just about fell off my chair when I saw that you can print those giant engineer prints from Staples in color now! Whoa. I have used the black and white engineer print option for so many things from party decor to large Photo Booth prints, so I'm pretty ecstatic to be able to have a color option as well.

Now, I do have to mention that there are a few caveats to this amazing news. First, not all Staples have the machine to do this yet (I had to call around to find one near me), and second, you can't print a full color photo. By that I mean that they will only let you print a photo that has 30% of the image in color. Once I heard that restriction, I had to switch gears a bit and choose a photo that had a lot of white space around the colored image (like this adorable downloadable pineapple print from our good buddy Sarah Rhodesβ€”love her!!). They didn't bat an eye when I gave them the file to print, so I have a feeling that rule isn't always strictly enforced (and I've seen a few of other people's prints that had the whole page in color). Anyway, try a full color image first if you want since you may get lucky. Just be prepared to have that restriction thrown at you. So have a backup image just in case.

Print oversized engineer prints in COLOR! (click through for more)      I like to use Photoshop first to size up my photos to the final printed size to make the image as clear as I can (use the best resolution and largest size photo you can for best results). To get the best quality engineer print, open the picture in Photoshop and go to "Image" and then "Image Size". Your photo will probably be at 72 dpi, but we are going to slowly increase the resolution to 300 dpi so you'll get a clearer print when you print it much bigger. Change your image resolution by slow increments of 10% at a time. So if you start at 72 dpi, you'll want to change it to 79, click "OK," then change to 87, click "OK," then 95, click "OK," then 104, etc., until you reach 300 dpi. Once you have the correct photo resolution, you can resize the dimensions of the photo to its final size (most blueprints will print up to 36" wide, so that's what I sized mine to) in 10% increments as needed. Save the photo on a flash drive and take it to Staples to have it printed. 

If you don't have a photo editing program like Photoshop where you can resize the photo, you can still have it printed at whatever size you want at the store, it just may be a little more pixelated than if you resize it first.

Print oversized engineer prints in COLOR! (click through for more)Print oversized engineer prints in COLOR! (click through for more)Print oversized engineer prints in COLOR! (click through for more)ErMerGerd, so cute! I like keeping summery prints and plants in the house all year round because it makes the winter months seem a little more hopeful. The crazy thing is that this 35×35" print was still under $10β€”HOLLA! You can bet there will be a few more of these color prints in my near future. Hope you find a use for it too! xo. Laura

Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Curious as to why you need to increase the dpi in increments of 10. Can’t you just jump from 72 to 300? I know it takes a few minutes to do that, but it seems like it would take a lot longer to resize by 10 dpi dozens of times.

    Thanks in advance for the info!

  • Did you make that frame? If so what did you use to mount the picture on as well as the frame? THANKS!

  • Such perfect timing on this! I’ve just moved and have been looking for something bright and fun for my bedroom wall! Can’t wait to check out all the options!

  • So helpful, this looks gorgeous – now i just need to get my butt into a beautiful new home so I can decorate it till my hearts content! Thanks guys for the constant inspiration xx

  • Checked our Canadian Staples and no mention of “engineer prints”… bummer because this looked like a fun thing to try out. Happy New Year. πŸ™‚

  • Please, please, please! Pink is my FAVORITE color! What is the name of this pink wall paint??πŸ‘πŸΌ

  • I just tried it both ways and the resolution is no different if you step it up slowly or just jump once.

  • Hi Laura, love this idea. What exactly is an engineered color print? Is it different from any other blown-up picture?

  • I also would love to know the wall color. I am looking for a great blush pink for my daughters room.

  • LOVE this so much! We’ve been in our “new” house a year and I still haven’t hung art in most of the rooms yet…a little DIY project like this is just the thing to get me moving!

  • I love this! I had no idea Staples was doing color engineering prints, but it’s a total game-changer! I made a few B&W engineering prints for my apartment, and it was such a low cost way of printing my photos at a large scale (I’m a photographer/designer).

    Just a pro tip – you can’t “invent” pixels – as you mention in this post. If it’s a low resolution image, it’s a low resolution image. If you’re working with a 72 dpi image that started out at 11″, you can’t blow it up to 24″ x 36″, don’t expect it to be a clear image. It will be pixelated. For the purpose of engineering prints this look might be ok (as the blueprints can have a sort of not-so-crisp feel anyways), and you can probably get away with printing at 150dpi. However, if you start with a HUGE image (like the size of a wall) that is at 72 dpi, and work with the right ratios, you can end up with a true 300dpi image.

    Also, I don’t know why you would have to resize in increments. I’ve been using Photoshop as part of my job for 10+ years and have never heard of this… Can you explain?

    Not trying to hate on the project btw (I really love it), that pineapple print is THE CUTEST!! Just offering some insight in terms of best practices for printing/getting the results you hoped for. Wouldn’t want someone to work hard (and pay for) creating a print, and end up with a less than beautiful mess!

    Cheers – and happy new year!

  • I took a graphic design class and not once were we ever taught to do it slowly. Just at once because it’ll take a few seconds for it to process either way. I’m also a photographer and work in Photoshop and go from 72 to 300, without increments, and my photos still print with excellent quality.

  • That is amazing – I had no idea they would let you print color engineer prints now! The pineapple is a great choice. If they restrict the amount that can be color, it would be fun to do a black and white bolder abstract that has just one area of color in it. Thanks for this info!

  • This is great! Can you tell me where you got that table/buffet/cubby? It’s so cute and would look perfect in my entry way!

  • i just did this for my new place, and i LOVE it! i had it made up about a month ago, and i still get SO happy each and every time i see it- especially knowing how inexpensive it was!

  • yes, please tell us about the frame! I want to do this, but won’t allow myself to have yet another thing that needs framing! πŸ˜‰

  • It’s a frame that Josh made for me last year! Just wood cut at 45 degree angles and metal brackets hold the intersections together on the back πŸ™‚

    Laura

  • Ha ha! Obviously different people have different preferred ways to do this, but this was the method that I was taught. The thinking behind it is that it is easier for it to do the small increments more cleanly than all at once, but if you like the results from doing one bug jump, then save yourself some time!

    Laura πŸ™‚

  • It’s a frame that Josh made for me last year! Just wood cut at 45 degree angles and metal brackets hold the intersections together on the back. The photo is mounted onto foam core and then tacked onto the back of the frame with small nails πŸ™‚

    Laura

  • It is different because the quality of the photo isn’t quite as clear as it would be with a photo printer and the paper is very thin instead of printed on cardstock or photo paper. It’s designed for printing blueprints but they will do photos as well πŸ™‚

    Laura

  • Good tips! I was taught to resize photos that way with the idea that it can handle the jump better in smaller increments, but if you get good results with one big jump, then that’s cool too!

    Laura πŸ™‚

  • Dear Laura,

    I once tried in Germany, where I live, to get engineering prints of photos printed. I didn’t find a copy shop doing so.
    I just looked on the Staples US website and there it also says “Not suitable for photo images.”

    Do the people at Staples print your photos without discussion nevertheless?
    I have to find a way to make someone print a photo for me as an engineering print!

    Thanks and Happy New Year!
    Maja

  • This is such a cool idea. I also like doing this with smaller frames, cutting the picture into sections and hanging the small pieces together. We love sharing ideas like this with our hosts on our blog, we may give this a quick mention if you don’t mind!

    -Jessica

  • I’m a copy center supervisor and the reason we don’t let you print full color images is simply because the paper is too thin for full ink saturation. It just immediately wrinkles. It’s it actually not even designed for photos at all, but actual engineer prints and floor plans that just have color lines. (But for full color the heavier paper poster prints aren’t that expensive either and they can come on thicker photo papers! but nothing beats $4 prints, I know)

  • Thanks for this latest update. I am really excited after reading this, will definitely get this done for decorating my house.Also loved your wall color.

  • can you just sell my a copy of that pineapple and that would make my life easier.
    please and thank you – bye

  • [email protected]

    This is super cute! I am thinking about printing a couple, and I am wondering how thick the paper is that they use? I’d like to hang the prints using wooden pant hangers/clips, but is the paper too thin that it will just roll up if I don’t attach it to the wall at the bottom? Thanks!