Print 'BIG' (Multipage Method)
Every once in a while you need a big, I mean BIG poster size print. But I only have a 'regular' 8-1/2 x 11 inch printer you say?! What can I do?
One approach I have used successfully is the multipage method. You take the image you want to print BIG and print it over multiple pages and then 'stick' those pages down onto a backing such as poster board or foam core. It takes a bit of work but gives pretty good results. I have even used this method to print a 6 x 8 foot mega-sized poster.
Also described is a handy sheet holder to make applying spray adhesive so much easier!
Tools / Materials:
- Paper Cutter. It helps to have a paper cutter - something other than scissors (Although if you have a steady hand and patience you can just use scissors.)
- Spray Adhesive
- Gloves - To protect yourself from the spray adhesive.
- Paint Stir Stick or a Section of Yardstick
- Wide Masking Tape
- Fine-point Gray Marker
- Backing sheet of Poster Board, Foam Core or other material as large as your finished print.
Step 1: Select Your Image
In this example we are going to print a Giant Sloth - sounds like something out of a horror flick.
Well, a big print of a Sloth.
If you are going to print something big you need to have a lot of detail in your original image. Pick the highest resolution image you can find. If you are taking the photo that you want to print big, use the highest resolution (largest file size) setting your camera has.
You will be dividing your image up onto multiple sheets so you need as much resolution as you can get. Otherwise your printed images get 'pixely' and lose detail. Many search engines have a setting that lets you find only high resolution images.
Step 2: Print Your Image
You will need to print your image onto multiple sheets of paper. This is usually adjusted under the Page Set Up menu or in the Print menu. Depending on your operating system and/or the application you are using to print your pages from you just might have to dig a bit to find the setting.
For Microsoft Windows Paint you can easily modify the "Fit to" section of the "Page Set Up" menu to print onto multiple pages.
Print them out and get ready to trim them!
Step 3: Trim Your Photos
The printed pages will have margins on them. You don't want margins because you want the separate pages to blend seamlessly together to make one BIG image.
However, you don't have to trim off every margin. You only need to trim off the margins that are on edges that will join adjacent sheets. See the 6-sheet illustration. At the most you will only need to trim two margins; usually the top and left (depending on the order you lay down the sheets).
Take your paper cutter and trim the appropriate margins off! It helps to lay out all the sheets to see how they will overlap and to make sure you are cutting off the correct margins.
Step 4: Build a Sheet Holder
You are going to apply spray adhesive to the backs of those sheets but first you will want to build a handy dandy Sheet Holder.
This Sheet Holder makes applying spray adhesive so much easier! I always had issues with getting spray adhesive onto the printed side of the sheet when I laid the sheet down to spray them. The first page sprayed did OK, but somehow the subsequent pages would get out of alignment and get set down into the overspray. It would be a mess. The Sheet Holder stick avoids this problem!
Take a paint stir stick or section of a yard stick and wrap masking tape over it with the sticky side out. This gives a tacky 'wand' that you can touch to the sheet and pick it up and hold the sheet while you apply spray adhesive.
No setting the sheet down into overspray - No setting the sheet down at all!
Step 5: Apply Spray Adhesive
Use the Sheet Holder stick to hold your sheets while you apply spray adhesive all over the back sides of your prints.
[Note to self: Put on gloves before spraying. Spray outside where it does not matter where the overspray lands.]
Step 6: Apply Your Prints to Your Backing Material
Carefully apply your sheets with adhesive on them onto the backing sheet you are going to use. Don't rush it as it's best to get them in the right position the first time! After placing each one, smooth them down and make sure they are stuck in place. If you are not applying the first row up against the edge of the backing material, take a yard stick and draw a straight line to line the sheets up to. It helps to keep everything straight!
Errors accumulate with each subsequent row you place down so try your best to get the images aligned perfectly.
Step 7: Hide Those Seams
Apply age-defying serum to reduce those fine lines... Oh - I mean get a fine-point gray pen and mark over the seams.
The cut edge of the paper is visible and gives a little white line where the images meet. You can get multiple color markers and match the color on each part of the image, but that was too much trouble for me. A neutral gray works pretty good to mute the white stripe and is much easier.
Step 8: Success!
With a little luck and a steady hand you have a BIG print!
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