Monday, July 1, 2013

making do (an instagram wall tutorial).

Our lease is up this summer on this little cottage I love so much, and under normal circumstances, I think we'd be renewing. (Leaks and maggots notwithstanding.) But while we're contemplating the purchase of The Bookshelf, we're also contemplating a move for our family. The store, I think I've mentioned, is 45 minutes north of Tallahassee, in the small, Southern town of Thomasville, Georgia, and we both think it's better for the business if we live and work with the community there. 

So on top of buying a business, we're also thinking of buying a home, which -- as so many of you know -- is incredibly stressful and time-consuming. (Think hours spent scrolling through Zillow.)

And because I am, admittedly, more often forward-thinking than present-thinking, I've had a hard time focusing on our current state of things. I haven't cleaned or kept up laundry like I should, and I've got pieces of artwork laying around that I haven't made the time to hang. I keep thinking about our future house instead of our current one, and you know what? 

I'm tired of it. 

Here is the truth of the matter: We are where we are. We're planning to go month-to-month with our lease, and we have yet to fall in love with a home in Thomasville. So, for now, we're staying put. This is still our home. The present is just as important as the future. 

Behold, then, our Instagram wall (inspired by Natalie of "Nat the Fat Rat" fame). And because it took me a while to figure out the best way to create this beautiful new masterpiece, I thought I'd share my tips. (You may have a quicker way; this is just what I happened to decide worked best.)

1 - This would be an incredibly easy project to complete if you had enough money to print your photos through a service like Printstagram. Instead, I chose to print my photos through CVS. The prints were much cheaper that way, and I could pick up my photos the same day.

2 - For this project, it's best to print your Instagram photos as 4" x 4" squares. (My Instagram photos start as 8.75" x 8.75" in Photoshop with a resolution of 72 dpi; I'm not sure if that's universal or not.) When I originally uploaded my photos to CVS, it blew up my images to fit into a 4" x 6" rectangle, and the photos would have been grainy and not high enough in resolution. 

3 - Download your Instagram photos. (I used Instaport.) This puts all your Instagram photos in one folder onto your hard drive. 

4 - Open each image in Photoshop or a comparable photo editor. Change your image size to 4" x 4" and 300 dpi. (As I said, the default for my photos was 8.75" x 8.75" at 75 dpi.) Next -- and this is most important -- change your canvas size to 6" x 4". This will add a white border onto each side of your square photo. 

5 - Upload your 6" x 4" photos into CVS or another photo printing service. You should have no difficulties with size or resolution now that you've edited them in advance. 

6 - Once your photos are printed, trim the white borders from your photos. Voila! You'll have 4" x 4" squares perfect for your Instagram wall. (I printed 144 photos at CVS for $18; 24 photos through Printstagram is $12.) The photos are glossy, which isn't my favorite, but otherwise, they turned out perfectly. You can also do this project with your own 4" x 6" images; just crop them to the 4" x 4" square. 

7 - I started off using Scotch poster tape to put my photos on the wall, and I'd recommend it for your own photo wall. I ran out about a third of the way through the project, though, and because I'm impetuous, I went ahead and used regular tape for the rest. I'm not sure it matters, but the poster tape stuck really well and didn't leave any air bubbles. 

8 - You could probably skip this step, but I measured my wall in advance to figure out how many squares would fit on my sized wall. You can be more haphazard with this than I was, but I liked the clean lines and even spacing. After measuring my first row, I eyeballed the rest without any difficulty. 

Fun! This project cost about $25 -- including tape -- and took me about 3 hours yesterday afternoon. (I spent the most time editing and uploading my photos.) I may have made this more complicated than necessary, but I couldn't figure out how to print my square Instagram photos through CVS without the photo service changing their size and resolution to a 4" x 6". I thought this was a fairly easy solution, and I'm really happy with the results.

I think I'd forgotten how much I love sprucing up our home and making it our own. This project was an easy way to get back into the DIY routine. (And CVS is advertising $.12 on their 4" x 6" photos this week, so consider this your invitation to create your own wall over the Fourth of July holiday!)


Kara Gehret said...

This is seriously SO amazing!! I sure hope you batch edited those 144 photos! Just an FYI, Walgreens now sells square prints! And they even have an app where you can pull directly from your isntagram photos. I have not tried it yet, but I have a friend who swears by it. Not sure if it's the same day turn around though :)

brie. said...

pinned it!

i think i'll make something like this for a little nook of the nursery i'm planning :)

Laura said...

I love this! you inspired me to print some of my favorite Instagrams and do something with them... I am using them to update my gallery wall in my living room! I love this wall you created. So fun and I'm sure that people who come over to your house will love looking at all those photos.

Bryan and Betsy said...

Hey, Annie! My husband really wants to do a picture grid as well, and was wondering which iPhone version you use?