Today, I’m going to show you how I made some large scale DIY cheap art for our dining room for super cheap. I’m talking less than $5 per print, guys! If you are wanting to decorate your home for not a lot of money (story of my life), then keep reading because once you learn this hack, you will be wanting to do it for every empty wall! When we remodeled our dining room area and I had a big blank wall that I didn’t know what to do with. I didn’t have a budget to buy something large enough to fit the space, but after researching making DIY art out of engineering prints, I came up with these black and white cactus prints and I just love how it turned out!
The first step in making some large art prints, is to find some free images online. I wanted to make sure I was abiding by copyright laws, so I turned to the website Unsplash where you can find free and beautiful images. I love plants, so I decided to search for some cactus photos. There are thousands of images to choose from, so it helps to have some sort of idea of what you want in mind before searching.
Think about your space and if you want vertical or horizontal images. Even if one that you really love is horizontal and you want it to be vertical, don’t worry, you may be able to fix that through editing later (which is what I did for the image I’m going to show you).
After you have chosen your image, you will need to edit it to make it black and white. I used Photoshop for the prints that you see in my dining room photos, but you can also use canva which is free for anyone to use. Upload your photo into Canva.
Then, change it to black and white using the editing tools. You can choose the “grayscale” option on the left. Since my photo was horizontal but I wanted it to be vertical, I just cropped it. You also want to change the size of the photo to fit the size of your frame. I made mine about 2 inches larger than the size of my frame just to make sure that it would fit properly once it was printed.
Next, it’s time to print your image. You will want to get a blueprint or engineering print. I printed mine at Staples and on their website, it is called blueprints. There are only a few sizes to choose from. You will want to choose the size that will fit your print, which will probably be much larger than you need. And you will want to choose black and white.
Just upload your photo and it will show a preview of what the image will look like once printed. Since my image was smaller than the actual blueprint, there is a large border. But that’s ok, I just trimmed it at home. Add it to the cart and see how cheap it is!? $3.59 for a huge poster size print!
The blueprints are not photo quality and they are printed on paper. They are more similar to a photocopy than a photography print. I actually love the the photocopy quality style for my cactus prints. It makes them more interesting and looks intentional. This might not be the case for all images, but I have had a few different images printed like this and I’ve always liked how they turned out!
Trim your prints, stick them in some frames and you are done! I found some very inexpensive yet good quality frames on major sale at Michaels. This entire triptych of prints (including the wooden frames) cost a total of less than $60 which is crazy cheap!
You could do this method with black and white family photos, like Chris Loves Julia did in this post on how to print cheap large-scale portraits. This is what initially inspired me to try blueprint photos for my dining room.
I love how simple and modern they look in our space.
And just in case you were wondering, here are the other sources of the things in our dining room:
Blue Tapestry (old from Target, but this one is similar)
Table and Wooden Chairs (original mid century pieces from my grandma)
Wall Color – Simply White by Benjamin Moore