How to Make a Poster Sized (high Quality) Tiled Image for Under $5!

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Introduction: How to Make a Poster Sized (high Quality) Tiled Image for Under $5!

Have you ever wanted to get a poster of your favorite photo printed? I have. But I'm broke. Then I realized that you can make a very good looking poster sized image using a bunch of 4 x 6 photos.  

Step 1: Materials

-16  4 x 6 photos (from cvs, walgreens, etc...)
- Foam poster board (I used 22 x 28)
-Computer paper
-Straight edge 
-Ruler
-Pencil
-Elmer's spray adhesive glue

Step 2: Open Your Image in Photoshop

Increasing the contrast of your picture can sometimes help the final blown up image look nicer. 

Step 3: Divide Your Picture Into 16 (or However Many You Want) Sections

Create a new layer and name it: grid

Use the pencil and ruler tool to divide your picture into equal sections. When using the pencil tool, you can hold down the shift key to make your lines straight. It is very important to make sure each section is exactly the same size; otherwise the image can be distorted.

Step 4: Make 16 Layers

Use the rectangular marquee tool to outline the box in the upper left hand corner of your picture. Right click inside the selected area and choose: layer via copy. This will make that section its own layer. Now do this same thing for the remaining 15 sections. It makes things easier to label each layer numerically 1-16, layer 1 being the upper left hand corner.

Step 5: Create a 4 X 6 Blank Document

After you create your blank 4 x 6 document, go back to your picture that is now divided into 16 equal sections. Click window, arrange, tile. Now you can see both files. With layer 1 selected, use the arrow tool in the upper left hand corner to drag layer 1 to the new blank document. Click edit, free transform (Ctrl + T) and scale the image so it fits perfectly in the document. Now save that image. 

Do this process for the remaining 15 sections. 

Step 6: Time to Print Them!

Now you should have each section saved as its own 4 x 6 picture. To make sure everything turned out okay, you can print each picture  from your printer. Since I had never done this before, I cut each picture out and taped them all together to see how it looked.

Step 7: Let's See How It Looks

The picture turned out much better than expected, especially since I used my low quality printer. All of the pictures match up perfectly which is exactly what I was hoping for. 

Step 8: Get Better Quality Pictures

Now that you know your picture has been aligned correctly, go and get them printed at your local CVS or Walgreen's. The pictures will look much better. 4 x 6 prints from walgreen's are very cheap, but you can sometimes find ways to get them for free. For example, I know that if you make an account at cvsphoto.com you get something like 50 free prints. 

Step 9: Mount Them on Your Foam Poster Board (or Whatever You Feel Like Mounting Them On)

This is the only part I spend money on. I got a 28 x 22inch black foam poster board from Walgreen's for $4. I liked how the photos looked with a black background, but you can mount them however you like. You'll need to make some measurements to make sure your photo is centered on the foam board. 

Here's how I did my measurements. I decided I wanted a .125inch gap between each picture, so I needed to figure out what the dimensions of the whole photo would be. 

Since there are 3 gaps between the 4 photos, you just need to multiply .125 by 3, and add 24 (remember 4 x 6 pictues, so 6 inches times 4 pictures) to get the total length of 24.375 inches.

Do the same thing to get the height except after you multiply .125 by 3, add 16 to get 16.375. 

The dimensions of the poster board are 28 x 22, so to find what the border dimensions will be, just subtract 24.375 from 28, and subtract 16.375 from 22. The dimensions of the border from the edge of the board will be 1.8125 x 2.8125 inches. Wooohooo done with math!

Before i glued the photos on the poster board, I drew the border lightly in pencil using a ruler and yard stick as a straight edge. This allowed me to easily align the photos on the outside. The pencil erased easily off the board. 

My measurements kept the image pretty straight, but not perfect since I glued all of the photos by hand. If you have any other ideas on how to align the photos, feel free to try them and share.

Step 10: You're Done!

Congratulations! you're done. This project makes a great gift for parents, friends, or anyone else you care about. Your subject can be anything from a close-up of a family member or pet to a landscape of the ocean.

I am submitting this to the Holiday Gifts Contest, so if you liked this instructable your vote would be much appreciated!


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    37 Comments

    Great 'ible!

    I want to mention that if you take your photos to a drugstore or instant shop, you should tell them to turn the color-correction off on their machine. Many of the instant-develop machines hit your photo with an auto-contrast, and each of the photos will come out differently, which will cause a weird look when assembled.

    As for spacing, a drafting table with guide would be key to getting good lines. If you don't have one, maybe you could use tile spacers?
    -Olaf

    Thanks! You're right. One time I was doing something similar to this with a color photo, and the auto color from walgreens ruined it. Those are good ideas for alignment.

    I just wanted to say that I did this and it was amazing ! BUT I find photoshop very hard to use and even with your fantastic instructions I couldn't makenitbwork even after about an hour of trying. So I decided to find a new way and i did ! Took about 3 mins to do, imagesplitter.net is amazing ! Just add rows or collums to get a proportional size of a 4x6 photo, so simple and much easier and less time consuming !

    Super poster!

    I do not have photoshop. But I use one of the specialized programs (link).

    When you have a lot of pages to assemble, an aid is to make a print of the entire image (even in B&W) on regular paper. Mark lines to match the way the big print is chopped up, and then letter the individual squares with a row-column numbering scheme. As you print the final copies, keep track of the order in which you print them and write the row-column number on the back. This should guarantee getting the final prints in the proper order.

    A gimmick, if the wall isn't solid and the image can handle it, might be to make a print with a "hole" in the image that surrounds the anomaly in the wall. An example might be a light switch that breaks up the "smooth" wall.

    The slice tool can save you a lot of time dividing the image. Here is the basics behind it:

    http://www.mediacollege.com/adobe/photoshop/tool/slice.html

    to divide the image... i would make a 4x6 document... and i would paste it onto your image... then id duplicate it a few times...

    select the layers and use the align tools to make sure its all accurate... then all you have to do is hold ctrl and click on each of the 4x6 layers and hey presto you have selections and all :)

    ok after reading over my post i understand this sounds like a lot of trouble... but thats what id do... because i absolutely hate measuring and re measuring things only to find out in the end ive got the measurements wrong xP

    THIS IS AN AWESOMAZING POSTER! Perfect for empty wall spaces or just a taste for something different and not too mainstream. Thorough instructions and great attention to detail; beautiful finished product. Well done! :D

    ahhh... i love this as a gift idea.....
    its something thatdoesnt cost a lot of money... but isnt cheap and thoughtless....
    thanks for sharing!!