Decorating with Pictures using Engineer Prints with East Coast Creative

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Hey Everyone! We’re Monica and Jess from East Coast Creative Blog and The LiveWell Network’s DIY show “Knock It Off” and we’re so excited to be a part of Kristen’s Decorating with Pictures series! If you don’t know us, we’re best friends that are lucky enough to blog and work together! We’re kind of like an old married couple that finishes each other’s sentences, and yet we’re both really different too. We love that our blog and show can share two different styles and personalities all at once. We’re passionate about what we do and we’re committed to keeping things real and not pretending to be perfect or have it all figured out!

EC2 header


Our blog and our TV show really focus on DIY projects that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, so that’s why today we’re sharing one of our very favorite things ever… Engineer Prints. If you haven’t tried this yet, let me tell you- you’re missing out! Almost like the fact that I hadn’t tried Chipoltle until 6 months ago- I mean WHAT was I thinking?? I was missing out on some of the world’s best fast food ever! So, yeah if you haven’t tried engineer prints, now’s the time!


Decorating with pictures

You might be wondering WHAT IS an engineer print? Let me tell you my friend… At Staples or Kinkos (or most print/copy centers) they offer engineer prints. They’re intended for blueprints and large plans, but there’s no need to stop there. They can also print pictures!! They print in black and white only and they print on regular weight paper, but here’s the best part… you can get a 4 foot by 3 foot print for under $7.00!! Awesome right?!?

Staples Engineer Prints

Since we love engineer prints, we’ve done a LOT of projects with them! Here are some ideas for ya!

Kid Friendly Gallery Wall

I have 4 kids and they’re constantly playing football or making forts in my family room, so I was tired of broken picture frames. Using engineer prints for my gallery wall made this space completely kid-friendly and it’s been almost 12 months with no breaks!!

Gallery Wall Ideas

We used a combination of free printable vintage cameras just trimmed out in washi tape and one large family picture with a smaller frame used as an overlay. Check out the post for all the details!


One of our most popular projects of all time is our

Huge Framed Photo for under $20

Main Pic[5]

For this project, we used an engineer print and a piece of plywood to create our own version of an organic bloom type frame. Jess has this huge piece as the focal point in her foyer. It makes such a BIG impact for under $20! Check out our tutorial to make your own!


Engineer prints work great inside the house, but I tried my hand and taking them outside as well with my

Garage Makeover with Engineer Print Artwork

My garage was a HOT mess, so one weekend, while my husband was away I decided to surprise him with a garage makeover. I did a lot of DIY projects that were purely functional, but I also wanted to add some fun, since we enter our house through the garage. A photo of my kids’ feet was the perfect art for my “mudroom”

Mudroom Elements[3]

Using a thrifted frame and an engineer print I created a big statement piece again for under $7!

Check out all the details about my garage mudroom makeover & art here.

Engineer Print Artwork[5]

Here are a few more projects you can check out on our blog! Told you we loved them and use them all the time!

Faux Canvases using Engineer Prints


Wedding Picture Gallery Wall

104 beauty shot gallery-edited

Have we convinced you yet? We hope so! We think that displaying pictures of family is so important and can add a lot of personality to a room. Engineer prints are a great way to make a huge impact, on a budget.

We’d love for you to come visit us sometimes at East Coast Creative and if you’re a DIY lover, be sure to check out our TV show, “Knock It Off

KIO LOGO 300dpi

Kristen, thanks so much for hosting such a great collaboration! We’ve loved stopping by today!

Monica & Jess


Thank you Monica & Jess! I LOVE engineer prints and love Chipotle, too! Your home tour is fabulous, and I simply love your creative style!  I made an engineer print recently, and Staples is pretty far away, so I called Office Max and Office Depot. My Office Max location would have charged much more, but Office Depot was about the same price as you mentioned!

If you’ve missed any of the posts from the Decorating with Pictures Series, check them out HERE or click on the image below. Every day in February is packed with 2 inspiring posts, each with a giveaway from a fabulous brand! (The previous post, I’m giving away my Say NO to Auto beginner camera Workshop on video AND my books!)  Follow along in the series!

Decorating with Pictures Ideas


I’m so excited about our giveaway today. I have stalked followed Becky Higgins for over 15 years.  She is a scrapbook queen, and contributed to a magazine, Creating Keepsakes, that I used to subscribe to.  I have always been passionate about preserving memories, even before I had a family of my own. If you haven’t heard of her Project Life system, where have you been? Project Life provides an ultra-simple solution that helps us get those pictures into albums without draining our time, energy, and wallets. The idea is simple: Photos + memorabilia + journaling together in an album – everything slips into pockets. No requirement to cut or glue or embellish a thing. And yet – the results are stunning. Project Life is back-to-basics scrapbooking at its finest.

We are giving away one Project Life Core kit which includes: an Album, core kit, and Big Pack of Photo Pocket Pages, hooray!

project life

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Join The Discussion



  1. Diana says:

    Love these prints, makes such a big statement at such a small price! 🙂 Great tips.

  2. Wow, SO cool, and what a great price! I’ve got just the spaces for photos this large in our new house. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Girls, I love this post! I think one of the first posts I ever read of yours was Jess’s family picture. SO cute. I love the price of the prints, too! I like using the Kinko’s near me – and yep – $7! 🙂 Love you girls!

  4. Love the cute feet picture in the garage, and all the other fun ways to use engineer prints. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Cari says:

    What a fabulous idea- I’ve never even heard of this before. And I love the mudroom/locker area!

  6. Such great ideas! I love using engineering prints. We went to Prague last summer and went to an ossuary where we took tons of photos. I blew up the creepiest ones for Halloween and hung them in the dining room. The kids loved it! And it was the cheapest and coolest Halloween decor ever.

  7. Michele says:

    I love love love this printing option! I especially love what you’ve done to the garage too, LOL!

  8. I keep hearing so much about these and need to go get some! Great ideas and a perfect way to fill a large wall space, or maybe use it on the back of bookshelves too!

  9. Geri says:

    Do you have more great arielcts like this one?

  10. Arry says:

    Thniikng like that shows an expert’s touch

  11. Now I’m like, well duh! Truly thankful for your help.

  12. Steph says:

    This is a great post. Just be careful with the blowing up of your design. Some shops use laser printers for blueprints and printing files with contrast can damage the machines. And not all Staples stores have the same machine, so just because one location did it for you doesn’t mean they all will. Make sure to ask first and understand they’re not trying to be mean or upsell you. It’s very bad for some machines.

  13. I’m really into it, thanks for this great stuff!

  14. Decorating with Pictures using Engineer Prints with East Coast Creative this is very helpfull for something learning new in thire life . thaks for sharing the article

  15. Elisabeth B says:

    As someone that works at one of the centers mentioned above for printing the engineering prints, please be aware that this is not accurate. It’s a lovely idea but the truth is that engineering prints are completely different than a poster. And while they can print posters, the pricing starts at about 19.99 per poster. Please be aware of this as the center will have to charge you for a poster price. If not, you got lucky!

  16. Bill says:

    Office Depot policy is to NOT print black and white photographs as blueprints or engineering prints.
    If you order a 24 by 36 black and white picture on regular paper you will be charged $19.99 just as if you had ordered a full color poster print.

  17. iKingsSGC says:

    Wrong. As an employee at on of these print shops listed, this is an absolute nope. Engineering prints are engineering prints EXPLICETLY for blueprints and FINE LINE drawings….photos are posters….you CANNOT get pictures printed for engineering costs. Every store in my district gets people coming in because of blog posts like this and we decline them every time. You’re not going to get a high quality print that requires tons of ink for the cost of a blueprint, it’s just an absolute no. It would cost the store more to print then they would recoup at engineering prices. If print centers have done this for you
    In the past, that’s the fault of that print center employee and if it is a repeated thing it would be cause for disciplinary actions towards the offending employee. As far as my print center goes, You can either pay the price of the actual product your receiving, pay the difference at pickup if you ordered online, or your order will be cancelled.

  18. Topher says:

    Found your blogpost on a discussion site. I’m a supervisor at a big-box retail store and I gotta say your post is really landing some people in hot water. I’ve had customers come in and suggest I do what you’re suggesting in this article to which I simply have to decline. First of all, it’s against store policy as it circumvents a premium service we offer. Second, that is simply not the point of engineer prints.

    Those kinds of prints are simply lines on a page. The bare minimum. The reason we charge so little is because the average amount of ink used is so little. In fact, by doing things like this, it brings the bottom line up and we would be forced to charge more. Another thing is that these kinds of prints are not made with photo quality in mind and that is out of our control. We print it on our thinnest weight paper (20 or 24 pound depending on the print shop) which does not saturate ink well. This leaves the image quality to be lower with possibility for bleed, added contrast, paper warping, tearing, and at worst, printer damage. My large format printer is an inkjet so this could vary if a print center uses a laser, but that’s not too common. The kind of paper we use can only take so much ink on it. If it tears up inside the machine (which has happened) them the machine could go down until a technician can come fix it. That usually means no large format prints for ANY customer. On top of all this, engineer prints are supposed to be fast to print because they are just lines. Maybe 10 minutes at most print them is all it should take. Any full photos where the inkhead has to take more time cost us up to 30 minutes depending on the size and the speed of our printer.

    I’m not saying it’s necessarily your blog that’s causing all this but I’ve head plenty of customers come in and the last one mentioned your blog. Lo and behold, I happen to also see it was posted on a message board of print shop employees from different stores and business and we all agree that this is very negative towards our jobs. A (now former) co-worker of mine was recently fired some weeks back because a customer suggested what you said and when she stuck to our store policy, a decision I supported, our district manager gave the order to terminate her after a customer gave us negative feedback. She lost her job for simply doing her job. Said customer also linked to this blog which, like I mentioned, I would coincidentally find again on a message board. Please rethink you are suggesting people do because a very polite college girl from South Carolina double majoring in law and music performance lost her job over something totally petty and cheap.

  19. anonymous says:

    every copy and print employee you’ve ever met hates you

  20. Harold Gray says:

    Just stopping by to add something that may or may not be of value.

    I’m a supervisor at one of the print shops you mentioned in your article and experience many customers walk in with the same intention you have. I wouldn’t as much call it gaming the system because most of these customers just didn’t know any better until we tell/show them.

    The paper weight we print engineering prints on is bond weight paper, which is very light. Light as regular copy paper. As of about a year ago, most stores of my company have switched from toner based printers to inkjet printers for engineering prints.

    If you can imagine getting a piece of light paper wet, it gets wrinkled and tears. When it tears the paper literally rips into small pieces which causes damage to the printheads when they inevitably get stuck. This is what happens inside our printers when we print high percentage coverage photos like what you seem to be suggesting your readers do.

    For every successful 24×36 we sell you, there is a great chance a few others got ruined because we didn’t want to give you a poor product. This is a lot of paper and a lot of ink wasted.

    Please ask your readers to check with their printing company before placing their orders online because a lot of us truly take pride in our work, and hate to turn away customers.

  21. Rick says:

    I’m sorry, but I prefer a job and a paycheck at the end of every week.

    I am a production lead at my Staples store. I straight up deny doing orders like this. For the amount of ink that is used for the miniscule cost, it is NOT profitable for me to produce full photos on plain paper/bond.

    Not to mention the amount of ink on such cheap paper can really make the paper soggy, and even jam the printer, which costs my store money to have someone come out to fix.

    Don’t forget the poor quality. Expect noticeable wrinkles and high fragility. You wouldn’t print ink intensive stuff with your home printer on crappy paper. You’d run out of ink so fast. Same case with us at Staples. It kills our black, gray, and matte black cartridges.

    When you order online or through the store, there’s a reason you can only order posters/pictures on better paper. We are to use that paper only for engineering/architectural prints, not photos. Kindly stop annoying your local Staples or Kinkos with this, and understand we have goals to meet and budgets to meet. 70% of a Staples store’s business comes from printing. If this gets done enough, you will be effectively killing your Staples.


  1. […] super excited to be sharing our love of Engineer Prints over on Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke today for her “Decorating with Pictures” series. If you know us and have been reading […]