Whether you have a landscape art picture or a photo of your kid that you want as a poster print, getting engineer prints printed is easy! In today’s post, you’ll hear about how to use Staples Engineering Prints for large scale artwork in your home.
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Staples Engineering Prints from $2 to $8
I’ve used Staples poster printing a few different times, so today, I thought I’d share about my experience.
Years ago, I had seen so many people using the engineering prints as poster prints and photo prints that I decided to try it.
Before I jump in on how to print your pictures at Staples, let’s talk for a second about picture quality. I will try not to get on my high horse here… As a prior childrens’ photographer, I hated when clients/families/friends used crappy printing methods. The image gets distorted with both color and quality. There are some things that are fine when buying “off brand,” but pictures are not one of them. There are good printers out there that don’t cost a whole lot more than Walmart, Walgreens, etc. but produce better-looking, longer-lasting prints. For nice photo prints at a good price, I recommend Nations Photo Lab. I used them when I was printing square photos for my gallery wall when I cut my own picture mats.
All that said, sometimes a cheap print is appropriate or creates a unique/interesting look. When Greyson was younger, I used the Staples Blueprint printing method on this photo. Let me explain more…
The Staples Engineering Prints are black and white. For Greyson’s room, I thought a black and white, extra large print would be a nice change to all the crazy, primary colors. I also thought his room could pull off a fun, grainy poster print of him without looking too cheap. Because, come on people, these “photos” are cheap.
All I’m saying is, before you decide to print a whole bunch of poster prints, you should think about the quality difference between an actual photo printing lab and the engineer prints. You may decide that the engineer prints are perfect for your project and, if so, yay!
Ok, let’s get started with what you need to do if you decide to go with the poster printing.
What You Need To Do To Print Engineer Prints
Decide on your frame so you can determine print size.
I started with this extremely ugly picture (but hey, it was free to me)!
The frame size wasn’t an exact match to the engineer print sizing (even though there are a few different engineer print sizes to pick from). My frame size was 31 x 42.
Decide What Size Poster Print Works Best For Your Frame
Staples Blueprints vary by price from $2-$8 based on the printing size.
Currently they offer the following sizes for engineer prints:
- 18″ x 24″
- 24″ x 36″
- 36″ x 48″
For my frame, the largest Staples Blueprint size was 36 x 48. This worked the best but still wasn’t a perfect size match. To make this work, I sized the image in Photoshop to 31 x 42 and then extended the canvas to 36 x 48. From here, I had two options for getting the photo printed.
How To Print At Staples
You can either send your file digitally to Staples using their online platform or you can go to a store and drop your file off using a USB drive.
From using Staples in the past, I know it’s easier to stop by the store. Their online system is bit hard to navigate, so if you have time to just drop by the store, that’s what I’d recommend.
When the image printed at Staples, it printed with a large gray mat (the canvas extension) around it. When I got home, I just cut the gray mat off and I had a print that was perfect for my frame.
Quality of the Engineer Prints
Overall, I think the engineering prints are pretty great quality for the price! Here’s a close-up of the original photo that I had printed, so you can look at the grain of the paper.
You can see the grain in the face and some of the flat black parts. This is not grain from the camera, it’s grain from the print quality.
I switched on my 60mm macro lens to show you even further what it really looks like.
Overall Review of Staples Poster Printing
The price is amazing for this size of print. For the right photo, I think printing as an engineer print is a great way to go.
Greyson has grown out of having his fireman poster print up, so I recently did the whole engineer print again with a space ship.
I could have trimmed the print just a bit better, as you can see, there’s a bit of a ripple on the right side. Oops!
If you are looking for more ideas for your walls we recently used wood-look poster frames in our hallway for a travel gallery wall. I could easily see the engineer prints in those wood frames. Also, I came across this Easy DIY Picture Frame tutorial and think it would be a great fit for poster prints as well.
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These are some great tips. I have been thinking about getting some engineering prints myself for a cheap project and I think the grain might be a good thing in that case. Let’s see.
Regardless I love how the photo looks. So cute!
Can’t wait to see what you do!
I’m glad you took the time to let people know that this isn’t just a go to print option when you’re looking for a way to print you photos at a larger scale. I think in this instance the graininess looks great, the picture already had that old school quality with the textures of the building. It’s a great addition to his room.
Thanks Charlotte! I was worried about how it would come across.
Did you have a problem printing a photo as an engineer print at Staples. I’ve read a lot of people running into problems that Staples won’t print photos anymore. I’m just curious since you went more recently how your experience was.
No, not at all. I even asked the associate about that because I read on another blog that they wouldn’t print theirs. It must be store-to-store, but I think if you called the 1-800 customer service line, then you could order it and pick it up at the store. My store said that they would rather have the business from Pinterest than no business. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Thank you! Yes it does help. I’m going to do 2 large prints for my friend’s bridal shower and then she can reuse at her wedding. I cant wait till they’re done!
Glad to help! Good luck.
Yes I did. Said they won’t do it again.
Where are the storage boxes from? They look great!
Thank you! If you search: Light Brown Modular Wood StacKing Storage Box with Door at Home Depot, you’ll see them!
Or, I just added direct links under the first photo. Thanks!
2 Staples closest to us are refusing to do this now.
This literally happened overnight as I had just picked up prints the day before I placed an order.
A friend of mine had been getting it done over the past few years
Office Max will charge same $ as poster prints even if done on blueprint paper.
Oh no!!!! That’s so annoying. I’m sorry!
From a former staples copy and print employee:
No, you cant get these done anymore. A few years ago sites like Pinterest started the rumors that people could get cheap poster sized prints by having them done as “Engineering” prints. At first stores ( including ours) were fine with it. Back about 3-5 years ago stores used wide format laser printers for running actual blueprints.
However since these machines were designed ONLY for blueprints or things that would have less than 30% total coverage. But the extra toner that would be used to print things like photos began causing damage to the printers themselves. Our printer at our store began to have large areas where toner would no longer print.
Because in part of this, all US retail locations discontinued use of the large laser printers about a year ago, switching to large ink jet printers for all wide format printing. These machines will not only give you a splotchy ink-soaked mess if you try to run photos on thin blueprint paper, but because there is so little clearance between the printheads in the machines and the paper itself if a jam happens due to the soaked paper, it can damage the printhead.
So no, the ‘Pinterest specials’ as we called them are no longer available. Corporate was very clear about these orders when we switched printer types If you try to go to the website to order them, there is now bright red text warning people not to order pictures on blueprint orders, store staff will not accept these orders. They aren’t being mean, or lazy, or ‘trying to annoy you’. It just isn’t worth losing a job over.
Interesting! I have had conversations (now I’m trying to think when – I think late last year?) about the black to white ratio in the ‘blueprint’ at our store. Good to know though that most stores are going to be a no go going forward.
Thank you! I downloaded that years ago off some NASA sight for free images. I don’t have the link but if you google it, I’m sure you can find it.
I would like to let everyone know, that a photo for a blueprint is not accepted at some of the staples stores i.e Springfield, MO. They told me that the photo is saturated with too much ink. It will ruin the print heads in their wide format printer. 12×18 poster is 9.99, 18×24 is 14.99, and a 24×36 is 24.99. Have a great day!
Sorry, I meant 29.99 for a 24×36
I did hear about certain photos not being accepted any longer. That is SUCH A BUMMER. Thanks for sharing.
I uploaded many prints to have done for my daughter ‘s graduation party. I had done this for my older 2 kids and it looked amazing. We had so many people comment on them. I uploaded all of the images and paid for it. I was excited to see how they would turn out. My husband went to pick them up and Staples said they couldn’t do this anymore. My daughter’s party is in 3 weeks. I am so upset. I am not sure what to do? If there is a chance that another Staples would do it, that would be amazing!
Unfortunately, I’ve heard that recently a few times. Did you try Kinkos? Not sure if they allow those or not.