Get Oversized B&W Prints On the Cheap at Staples

If you’re looking for a thrifty way to have gigantic (monochrome) prints made of your photographs, look no further than your local Staples. Monica and Jess of East Coast Creative write,

Have you heard about the engineer prints from Staples? Oh.My.Goodness. They have completely changed our life for the better. Just wait, you’ll feel the same way. Take your favorite picture into Staples and ask for an oversized print (they come in multiple sizes, but the largest is 3’ by 4’. They’ll make a copy right there for you, and the best part… it costs less than $5 for a print! You’re only able to get the picture in black and white, but who cares?! It’s 5 bucks! The tricky thing is that the picture is printed on very thin paper, so you have to be careful not to bend or mark it.

They’ve written up a tutorial on how you can make a giant DIY frame for these massive prints.

Shaped Frame Family Photo [East Coast Creative]

Image credits: Photographs by Monica and Jess of East Coast Creative

  • wickerprints

    So, I actually went to the Staples website via the included link.  It specifically says that the engineering prints are not for photo images.  I suppose the customer could just ask for it anyway.

    What I would be more concerned about is the resultant image quality and longevity.  Even if it is only $5, I wouldn’t want to pay for something that looked like a crappy blown-up xerox copy.

  • NJ

    I have some and they are great quality, not photo paper quality and keep in mind the end-use. We had some done of my mother to use for others to sign at a memorial service. From there it could be mounted etc… but if you’re looking for a high end product on photo archival paper, this isn’t it. 

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    If we’re looking at the same place, the phrase is “not suitable”.  Seems to me like it would just be a quality thing, but for grainy B&W, I don’t think it would be an issue.  For fine art, probably not the best choice.

  • Jeremy

    This is standard engineering bond paper (20#, same as copy paper) that has been used to develop architectural drawings since… well, a long time. The machines that run these copies are toner based machines that have resolutions of 300×300 dpi (sometimes 150×150, depending on default settings) and are optimized for line art. As a result the areas of difficulty are mostly gradients.

    If your image can be viewed up close by scrutinizing eyes, don’t do this. If, however, it’s for personal use or cannot be viewed closely, this is a good deal.

  • RichardLAnderson
  • Guest

    I had my business cards done there, and by done there I mean sent out to somewhere else only to have them come back completely incorrect.  Three attempts later and they still cannot print properly, I even went to a competitor, printed the same image without any adjustments to show them at least what it should be similar to  and they couldn’t even get close.

    The management don’t give a shit and I was out good money, lesson learned.

    Final rant notes: I’m calibrated, the competitor is calibrated, they’re quite obviously not.

    Also I had to fix their monitor for them in store since the screen resolution was stretched inwards (square format) and made everything look like it was in a house of mirrors.

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  • Mansgame

     I’m guessing line art uses much much less ink so if they saw people are abusing it by printing photos that suck up all their ink, they’ll put an end to it very quickly. 

  • Kimberly S. Patterson

    so you have to be careful not to bend or mark it.

  • rtfe

    do you work for office depot??

  • Andrew Williams

    I have seen some of these that are surprisingly good. Obviously, it all depends on the quality and size of the original image file. I am too lazy to do the math, but I suspect that any image shot below about 10MB will deliver lower resolution at this print size than this printer is capable of delivering. Otherwise, the quality should be about the same as a 20 year old laser printer.

    I design fire alarm systems for a living and use Staples every week or so to print floorplans and other technical documentation for permit submittals. CAD drawings like those are really what the technology was designed for. The machines Staples uses are first rate. They are far faster and better than the ink jet version we have at the office. The first one I ever used (circa 1990) actually used PENS! 

  • Tzctplus -

    Oh the nasty stench of snobbery, its whiff so often gracing these pages, like if the person with the idea was blind, stupid, or both….

  • Achianese

    I remember watching the machines with pens and just being amazed how that worked!  

  • Massoud A

    I went to a Staples in DC to try this out.  The B&W machine wasn’t working properly so the lady working there was nice enough to print my photo out in color for the B&W rate  of $5 (originally $42)!

  • g_uest

    “On the cheap” is what everyone should make note of. Simple and cheap large prints. Like Tzctplus said, bit of snobbery going on here 0_o

  • Eastcoastcreativeblog

    Thanks for the feature! Just to answer a few questions, we actually brought the image file and the printed directly from the jpeg.  The quality is actually amazing up close. The one in my home is hung lower than Jess’, so the quality had to be good. No one wants a pixelated family! Just make sure the file you’re starting with is good quality and you’ll be good to go! 
    Monica (East Coast Creative Blog)  

    **Also, we did have the rights to the picture and the photographer was thrilled with what we did.  Just tossing that out there bc we’ve gotten some crazy comments about that! **

  • NoseKill Productions

    Just curious if anyone knows, are these prints printed from a laser printer? I was thinking of getting an 18×24 print and transferring this to piece of wood for a kind of unique look. But in order to do this, you have to use photo’s printed on a laser printer, as the Ink Jet Ink doesn’t play nice with the gel medium. Thanks in advance!

  • Jeremy Madore

    Yes, these are printed with toner which is fused to the paper – the same technology as an office laser printer.

  • Pam J

    I have to weigh in here…I am a Visual Arts director at a church – I had 10 of these printed for a set design I did for Father’s Day. I wanted several images of dads mounted on foam and hung at different levels in our (huge) auditorium – I found some generic dad images on Google and had them enlarged and printed at Staples. OMG. They were amazing. One of them was even a photo taken with an iPhone – granted they were seen from a distance, but for $64 I got 10 humungous prints that people are still talking about! I am getting ready to order some more for a mural/gallery install – any ideas on how to set the ink so it doesn’t smear while I adhere it to the wall?
    Pam Johnson
    Lake City Community Church
    Coeur d’Alene, ID

  • Tom

    Plotters are not ancient history yet in the CAD world. For fields in which the final output is a vinyl stencil, it’s better to have a proofing device that can duplicate the actions of the cutter head. But printers have taken over in CAD fields where the final output is only used for visual reference, where the mechanical action of plotters is unnecessary.

  • Lana Tveit

    Did anyone else have a problem ordering these, I tried to and the canceled by order stating the paper was to thin and it was not suitable

  • lady lib

    yea because i always scoff at the blind. wtf. use a different anaology you ableist turd.

  • Shane G

    We just tried this out OUR staples, and the quality was not good enough. Besides faint stripe you see every inch or so which would NOT have been a problem given the graet price, the whole center section of the portrait was dark, while the edge sections were light. The contranst line looked teribble running right down the center of our baby’s face. So i think its kind of luck of the draw… depending on how well the particular printer is working.

  • LilMoby

    I’m guessing that the ink is inexpensive and they are not losing money on these.

  • LilMoby

    Which Staples is yours? I want to choose a different one!

  • Chelce

    I work in the Copy and Print center at Staples. We don’t do this because it damages the machines. Its not meant to process big pictures like this, and we’ve been told by the printer mechanic that this can ruin a machine overtime, which makes our business and architect customers less than happy with us when they actually need blueprints and what not.

  • Matt

    If you’re looking for a really poor quality print this is fine. Our plotters aren’t meant for photos, they’re meant for engineering prints, so don’t expect anything great. The pictures will probably be streaky and inconsistent.

  • bob cooley

    Has anyone seen the quality on these? worth it?