Summer vacays are often the only time everyone is together (or the only time you get to escape, as the case may be), so it’s prime pickings for photo ops -- cute kids, great family moments, faaaabulous romantic moments, landscapes that would make Monet jealous.
It used to be nearly impossible for us “average” folk to get any sort of quality large format print -- certainly nothing much beyond an 11 x 14. And forget anything printed on any medium other than regular photo paper. Those things were relegated to the mysterious world of the “professionals.” Pay no attention to the photographer behind the curtain!
Now, though, there are many more options available for your vacation photos -- some of which you can do yourself for (almost) free, right from your own printer. Here are a few unexpected and unique ways to display vacation photos that I found online:
Many photo printing services are now offering a wrapped canvas application. Minus the texture, it works just like a painting. The photo is printed on canvas cloth and then stretched over a wooden frame. This is a really cool option if you have a great landscape photo that you want to display. One of the best services around is Canvas Pop, which claims to be able to enlarge any photo without noticeable loss of quality. Other photo services are also offering a canvas option, like Shutterfly and Mpix.
2. Wall Clings
Perhaps more appealing to the kids in your life, online service Mpix offers custom wall clings made out of your own photos -- and without that stupid Fathead commercial jingle! The possibilities are endless here, from decorating a play room to creating a mini cling set for car travel.
You heard me. Wallpaper. And not on your smartphone. On your home's walls, out of your own photos. Now, admittedly, you would have to curate your photo collection very carefully with this option (no one wants to look at a 10’ x 15’ image of Rex the Pug blowing snot bubbles). But with a really beautiful landscape, botanical, or other striking graphic image from your vacay, the wallpaper option would help you create an absolutely unique feature wall.
That’s R, guys. Rasterbator. Though when you see what the site allows you to do, you may be induced to sub that other letter. Basically, you upload any picture you like and the site breaks it down into many pieces, almost like pixels. It spits out a multi-page PDF that you print at home (on whatever paper you like) and then assemble into the final, huge image. This is one of the best ways to create a huge poster image for almost no money (once you get past ink, that is). Once you get your prints, you can put them together seamlessly or opt for something a little more pop art, and frame them individually, hanging them with small spaces in between each. For you Mac users out there, try the PosteRazor, as Rasterbator only works with PCs.
Another great option for kids -- or for an interesting display on your mantel. Statuette cutouts from Mpix are cost-effective enough that if you want to do multiples or change them out with each vacation, you can do so without breaking the bank. They are only available up to 8 x 10 in most places that I found, but as a grouping that size would be more than perfect. Or go smaller, and create little vacation vignettes for a dollhouse!
6. Window Films
If you want to get really futuristic (and spendy) with your photos, you can always opt for Lintec’s window films. While these are currently geared toward business applications, there is no reason the films couldn’t be used in the home -- provided you have the inclination and the budget. And hey, you’ll be blocking harmful UV rays in the process! Who doesn't love a multi-functional product?