How To: Create Your Own Instagram Display

After many, many, many people asked for an insta-wall tutorial, I finally got my act together … and had Kamel write something up. Ahh teamwork! You’ll want to bookmark this page for future framing projects! And thank you Kamel for writing up this awesome tutorial. <3

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Before starting out, I would highly recommend picking out frames, or your preferred display method. This will save you lots of angst later on. So head on over to your favorite frame shop (we like Aaron Brothers, especially during their legendary penny sales) and buy up as many frames as you would like for your display. Selecting the frames or how to show your prints is pretty much up to you, but for the purposes of this tutorial let’s go with a square shape, mat-less easy frame. When I say easy, I mean the kind that doesn’t have those nasty fingernail killing metal tabs that are my absolute worst nightmare. Once you find your frames, decide on how many prints you’ll want to put up, and buy them all. Trust me, it gets harder to come back later only to find your frame is sold out, discontinued, or worse slightly changed so it no longer fits in with the rest.

Okay on to the printing!

1. Instagram can save relatively high res images, enough to print rather large. However, on their website, you’re only shown a “web friendly” size. So when you pick your favorite shots, you’ll need to locate the locally saved versions from your mobile device. (Note: In order for instagram to save local, high res images, you need to enable this in the app’s settings > Save Original Photos.)

2. If you hadn’t selected that, no worries, you can still get semi-decent sizes from gramfeed.com. Just log in, find the photo you want, click on it and pick download. Or if you rather do this in bulk, go to instaport.me. Photos downloaded like this should print okay up to 8×8 with some visible pixelation. But then again, these are low-fi’ed instagrams for crying out loud, so don’t stress over sharpness too much. =)

3. Now that you have all your images on your computer, head on over to your favorite print shop to get prints made. We like using Costco due to their amazing low prices on high quality prints. Plus you can set up your order online, and pick it up at the store about an hour or so later. Easy Peasy. During times when we don’t want to go to costco, we go with mpix.com, which also has pretty great prices and super high quality. ProTip: hit up retailmenot.com first to see if there are any coupons for mpix.com, they usually have some posted.)

4. During online printing, make sure to select the size that will fit in your frames, or with your previously chosen display method. We like going with 8×8, but you can do any other size. Costco offers 8×8 or 12×12, though from experience, we’ve found it really hard finding square frames larger than 8×8. Mpix.com is a little crazier since you can do 4×4, 5×5, 8×8, 10×10, 12×12 or if you’re feeling NUTS 20×20! But again, frames maybe hard to come by.

5. Once you’ve selected your size, and prior to finalizing your order, make sure to locate and untick the “apply auto corrections” that usually gets added by default. This option is cool if you’re printing images straight out of the camera with no editing whatsoever, but with instagram photos, you’ve already treated the images, so applying auto correct, might make the printing machine freak out and try it’s hardest to “fix” the filter that was applied. This results in images that don’t look the way they did on your mobile device.

6. Pay the man, and wait patiently for the prints to be done.

7. Pick up your prints, or receive them from the mail courier and have a look.

8. Don’t be shocked if they look darker in real life. This is normal. Remember, when you look at photos on your device, you’re pretty much staring at a box of bright light. For prints, you’re looking at light reflecting off the paper, so the image will vary slightly depending on the quality and temperature of the light sources around you. But, you’ll get used to it after a few glances. (Note: if the photo really is too dark, don’t be afraid to brighten it up a tad using your favorite image editor, export/save it at it’s highest setting to avoid compression degradation, and print again. It is worth the extra money for something being displayed on your wall.)

9. This is an optional step. Place the prints on the ground and arrange them in a way you think works best. This is usually how Lauren curates our wall art every time we move. This last time she switched out the instagrams while still on the wall, but the idea is the same. This is a personal choice, so I won’t give any “tips” – just do what looks good to you and screw the haters.

10. Put those suckers in their frames, or whatever display method you chose (thumbtacks, foam board, clips, magnets, etc…) and set up your work of art. Stand back, and TADA! Enjoy your insta-wall. =)

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Let me know if you have any questions about creating the grid system on your wall, or anything else in the comments, and I’ll try my best to help you out.

8 thoughts on “How To: Create Your Own Instagram Display”

  1. I had it on my to-do list to call Lauren and ask about this method this week! I want to do one in my dining room and wasn’t sure about printing from Insta, etc. Thanks for sharing! Now, if you could teach me how to generally hang frames in an orderly fashion without putting 5 million holes in my wall, that’d be awesome! 😉

  2. Thanks for posting this! Do you have any tips about getting the grid perfect and even, the way yours is? Do you guys use a laser level or have a giant wall-template-print-out-thing or some other method?

  3. Hanging the perfect grid is easy! But it’s also hard. haha The trick is math and lots of pre-planning.

    You’ll need the following: A Pencil, Paper, Measuring tape, Laser Level (or a level long enough to cover the area), A calculator, Nails, Hammer and a buddy to help you.

    1. On a piece of paper, draw out the layout you want. For this tutorial, let’s assume its a 4×4 square grid.

    2. Measure each frame’s width and height and add the amount of space you want in between each frame. Add up all the lengths, and the heights just to get an idea of how big the final piece will be on the wall. Make any tweaks here to adjust the final size.

    3. (optional if perfectionist) Locate where the nail will be when hanging up the frame and measure the space from the nail hole to the edge of the frame on the top, side and bottom. This will help you lay the whole thing out later on.

    4. Lay at least 3 frames on the floor, face down and measure the distance you chose. Then measure from nail holder to nail holder going across and measure going below. This will tell you how far apart to put each nail on the wall.

    5. On your sheet of paper, write down all of these measurements and lay out where each nail will go. In this case you’ll end up with 16 points.

    6. Take your measuring tape, laser level and pencil and start marking the wall with 16 dots or “x”es as determined by your measurements.

    7. Take a step back and make sure it looks solid. It should look even and like a square.

    8. Put all 16 nails in and then hang up the frames!

    9. Be amazed at the results! =)

    This was super hard to describe, hope that was clear, haha. I should do a video. But if anyone needs more details, ping me via gchat/email.

    1. We actually BOUGHT OUT the entire stock of an Aaron Brothers of those thin frames during the penny sale. They are really cheap too even not no sale. I like them way better than the wooden framed ones we started with.

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