Introduction: Print and Paint 'Puzzles'
These are really just a way of doing high quality, large format printing - when all you have is an 8.5 x 11 printer to work with.
The end result is a really fun process of matching up the individual fragments of the image, but since the pieces don't interlock it requires focus, patience, and craft to get a good end result.
I like to glue the image fragment down on a piece of birch plywood. The images are typically formatted to be 24"x24" and I cut the plywood to around 32"x48" , depending on the image. Point being I like to leave extra wood surface as the frame so that I can paint on the image and the wood to extend certain perspectives - which gives the image a more dynamic or compositional effect. This type of perspective can really have an impact in a room, plus its a really fun process to determine what parts of the image can be dissected or extended.
Hope you enjoy and it works out for you!
Step 1: Print and Layout Image Fragments
It is important to start with a high resolution image, something that can be blown up to the appropriate size without losing image quality.
I use InDesign, but I imagine there are other options for breaking down the image into printable sections. Within the print setup window I can break down the larger image into 8.5x11 sections, I like to set the images to overlap by atleast a 1/2", but more can be helpful for aligning the photos while glueing. Once you are ready to print, my only advice would be to use the highest print quality possible for your setup - the type of paper has a huge impact so consider purchasing a pack of nicer paper to experiment - I like to use off white paper with texture because the qualities of the image are more interesting and less predictable, but thats just me. If you are tricky, you can re-insert the printed pages into the printer in the exact same order and orientation - and simply run the print file twice. If you have a heavy enough paper this can drastically improve the image quality.
Since printing full bleed is a nightmare sometimes, you will likely have to trim the images of their borders before moving on.
Once you have all your fragments trimmed and ready, lay them out on the board. I like to measure and mark the 24"x24" square with pencil on the plywood so I have a reference, but also to find a corner for a starting point.
Step 2: Glue the Fragments Down
The glueing can be relatively tedious depending on how anal of a person you are. I have tried Gel Matte Medium for glueing and have not loved the results, but have actually had the best luck just using glue sticks. Experiment. But be careful with liquid glues like your generic Elmer's because you don't want to get glue on the front of the image, and you don't want to over-saturate the paper so you end up with wrinkles or air bubbles in the end. It works best to get the image in place and then lightly drag a flat edge [like a plastic ruler] across the image fragment to get out air bubbles and ensure a flat tight seal to the wood surface.
Step 3: Paint and Hang
Once everything is glued down you should have a square image in a larger square surface/frame. I think its fun to lay down some painter's tape and paint on the image and onto the wood surface. The goal here is to try and blend the image to surface - or to extend perspectives to give the final piece a dynamic/dramatic feel.