November 9, 2012

Large Custom Art Prints Tutorial (Part Two)

A few weeks ago I shared some super easy do-it-yourself art prints that are currently living beside our television. Since that time, several readers have come forward asking for more details. So, here I am to spill the beans!

The original post had some basic details about how to go through this process. I’ll be honest here. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people actually read what I write, and maybe even want to do these things themselves. So bare with me if my past posts are a bit light and lack the detail that they should. I promise to get better at this. You have my virtual word.

Buying Frames:

Alrighty. The first step I would recommend, before even thinking about designing anything, is to buy your frames. As I mentioned, we picked up two of Ikea’s Ribba frames. The reason for this? Measurements lie. You can look specifically on Ikea’s website and the measurements read 19 3/4″ W x 27 1/3″ H. Which we trusted, and ordered the prints accordingly. So, you can imagine our disappointment when they arrived and didn’t fit in the frames. And not just a “barely didn’t fit“. I’m talking we had to shave off nearly an inch on both the height and width. Basically, it’s better to be safe and measure the frame yourself, than having to risk cutting down the print and possibly ruining it.

Designing the Artwork:

I’m going to walk you through what I did, but this is obviously artwork and the more custom the better. So make it your own and don’t be afraid to veer off from what I’ve done. There’s no better place to break the rules than here. I used Photoshop Elements to layout our prints, but I’m sure there are plenty of other programs that could’ve been used just as easily. This is just the program I prefer to work with. Also, I am in no shape or form a Photoshop expert. There are probably other ways (and better ways) to go about this. This is just what I found to be the easiest for me.

I began by opening up a new blank file. You’ll want to insert your frame dimension here. I used 18.75″W x 26.5″H (removing 1″ from each side to fit the frame). 300 resolution is best for printing, anything higher is unnecessary.

This tutorial is so easy. I can not stress that enough. You literally use a total of three tools. Three, people.

Move tool, type tool, and color.

To begin inserting dates I selected the type tool, chose a font family (we used 28 Days Later, free download), selected the font size (300 pt in this case), and finally the color (the dark gray is #565555 and the mustard yellow is #e3ca5b). The numbers are all individual. For instance, in the last line 03 is a set, 12 is a set, and another 12 set. The only exception to this is the 11 (third row down) where I had to split the numbers from each other to match the spacing of the others.

There’s probably some fancy grid layout that I don’t know about and would make my life so much easier, but here’s how I went about centering all the dates to one another. The Align Tool. You simply select all the dates you wish to line up (hold the shift key to select multiples). For example, select 07, 04, 11, 02, and 03 to align them vertically.  Once the dates are selected, chose the Align tool at the top of the toolbar, and the “horizontal centers” from the drop down menu. Voila, aligned. As for spacing the the numbers out, again probably a better way to do this, but I just eye’d everything. You’ll just want to make sure that the spacing to edge of the canvas is the same all around for a cohesive look.

Once you have a design that you’re happy with, you’ll want to save it as jpeg to your desktop.

Print Those Beauties:

Now you’re ready to print! As I touched on in the earlier post, I used FedEx Office, costing us around $50 for the two. We didn’t do a whole lot of comparison shopping, only ybecause we’ve worked with them before and had great results. I’m sure there are several other companies for printing, and possibly even a less expensive alternative.

You’ll want to go to the FedEx Office website to begin and select the “start online order” button.

Which will bring you to this screen, where you can “set up a document”.

After selecting the “upload from your computer” option, a pop-up will allow you to select the jpeg document that you’ve saved to your desktop. Open it.

FedEx will then upload your document, which may take a few minutes depending on the file size. Once it’s completely uploaded you’ll get a little purple warning saying “this is not standard type file”. Select the “review options” button.

A pop-up box will then give you a few file type options. Select the second option, “make a large print”.

Then you’ll be taken back to the loading screen where you’ll want to select “set print options” and then the “print and posters” option.

Another pop-up will appear giving you options to customize the paper. Change the selection from “posters/print packages” to “custom prints & posters”. For this print specifically, you’ll want the portrait orientation option and the custom size of 25.5″H and 18.75″ W. Under “Paper Stock” I chose heavyweight paper with no sheen, but that’s just a personal preference. I also chose not to have lamination or mounting. Again, up to you.

After selecting to continue you’ll be taken to review your options where you can either chose to checkout or add more items to the order. And although I rarely choose this option, I love that the checkout gives you the choice to pick-up the order at a FedEx location. Save some shipping mulah. Just a heads up, once you’ve filled out the shipping and billing information, FedEx usually gives you a call to confirm all the information. Being fairly new at all this, I really appreciate this step because I’m always afraid I’ve messed something up filling out so much information online. It’s like my FedEx mom checking my homework before I turn it at class the next day. Thanks ma!

* And despite how much this is starting to sound like I’m on the FedEx team, we are not paid or perked for anything said here. Just our honest opinions sharing what we love. 

Now just okay the phone call and you can call this artwork Dunzo. And yes, I realize that this post has become incredibly long, but I wanted to make sure to cover all the details. No matter how simple they may be. Hope this cleared up any questions you guys may have had from the original post! If I’ve left anything out, feel free to ask away in the comment section. Also, any photoshop experts out there that have any extra tips or advice, PLEASE do tell!


11 thoughts on “Large Custom Art Prints Tutorial (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: DIY Custom Art Prints | Cape 27

  2. Jes Dirrim

    I have heard good things about GIMP. It is a free software download that basically functions exactly like Photoshop. (I have photoshop for work so that is what I use). Just if someone is looking for a free version of a good software. =)

  3. Sandy

    Hey, just so you know, I have had great luck printing posters through Winkflash. They are on really nice thick paper, come really quickly, and sound like they are much cheaper. Just thought I would let you know!

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks Sandy!

      Always open for suggestions, especially cheaper ones haha! I’ll have to look into them.


  4. Pingback: Best In Show

  5. Pingback: It’s a Gift Guide! | af

  6. Lauren

    Thanks for the tutorial! I just created my first art print. But it’s going to be much smaller, not poster size. Where do people print those types of printables?? Thanks.

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      If it’s small enough I’d just print it from home on thicker/ card stock paper. Otherwise, places like Walgreens, Costco, even Walmart have photo options for somewhat larger prints. Good luck 🙂


  7. Sarah

    Okay so I guess I need the even-more-detailed-version. I liked the font, 28 days, that you used. After you download it how do you access it/use it? Thanks!

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Every computer is different, but if you do a simple google search for “how to download font on so and so computer” that should help you out!



Leave a Reply