Engineered for Greatness

I’m blogging the crap outta this house.  Seriously.  I’m all over this place like fat on a pig. 

One of the most recent questions we have gotten is “when are you gonna start the nursery?!” to which I reply…”I have no idea!” 

As much as I would love to dive right in…that’s just not my style.  I simultaneously can’t wait…and can.  It’s exciting to think about all the possibilities, the themes, the crazy ideas and the cool looks that we could incorporate.  But on the other hand, this house is overwhelming to me and if I start too many projects without finishing…well…anything…it is enough to drive a to-do list crazy.

So one of my goals is that I will not start the little babies’ room till I get Will’s room in working order.  Recently I showed ya’ll what it looked like…   

I hated the way it looked unbalanced and unfinished.  So I decided to tackle the Pin-popular project of engineer prints that everyone and their frenemies have tackled.  I can’t remember where I first saw this…but basically if you punch in “$5 engineer print art” in Pinterest, there are four thousand different ways to do this.  First, you go to Staples (or any other home office store) and ask for their engineer print sizes.  I got the biggest one – it’s huge – and it cost $5 to print out your photo.  They can only print in black & white so I recommend making your photo b&w before you go…their version of b&w is not-so-cute. 

And then you go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and pick up a piece of insulation board.  It’s super lightweight and huge.  They are about $17 and in the section with the plywood and the insulation.  Oh and you can use one board to make two of the biggest prints…so that goes to show how big they are.   

First you trim your photo print.  Then you cut the board to size…it helps to use an Xacto knife.  Also – if you can’t get a perfect cut – just use a bit of rough sandpaper to even out the sides.  It makes a mess but it’s worth it. 

I decided to paint the edges…I figured the purple didn’t really go with Will’s room :)   So I mixed up a bit of orangey red craft paint and then did a couple coats with a craft brush.  It was super easy and fast. 

After it was all dry, I used a regular glue stick to apply the print in the board. 

And now it looks like this all hung and beautiful…

You may have noticed that I switched the toy chest and the dresser.  Maybe you didn’t notice.   It just fit better this way with the teepee in the room.  And since the toy chest is really more important than any other piece of furniture in the mind of the two year old, it was a nice way to give the kid more play room. 

One of my globes fell down.  Ooops.   I guess that is like Armegeddon?  We still haven’t hung it up.

I also switched up the art….FINALLY.  It only took me a year. 

I still have one more canvas to work on.  I’m brainstorming ideas to balance out everything.  And I wanna stencil the curtains.  Something simple and bold.  Statement curtains. 

One of my favorite new additions is the little hanging acrobatic bear that now lives on Will’s tent.  I got him for a buck at a little thrift store.  He’s so ugly he’s cute :)  

I also rearranged the books and the toys.  I love the addition of the basket and the scorpion.  It’s funny how little things makes a room more personalized.  Like the little stuffed zebra (the animal I associate with Will now) and the owl (the animal I associate with his newbornie self because of his old nursery). 

We also moved out the changing pad.  No…Will is not potty trained.  Not even close.  Not even crate trained.  He’s just really long…too long for his changing pad…he’s constantly hanging off the pad…either his head or his legs.  So we figured that it was way easier to just take the pad and put it in the stack of things we wanna use in the little babies nursery.

Also I got a new lamp.  $5 at the thrift store plus a Walmart shade.  And a new trashcan (it’s actually a woven plant holder from Michael’s but it works great for a trashcan).  It was $6 on clearance. 

The rest of the room is still the same.  I kinda want one of those cow hide rugs for in here…but I don’t think Will would appreciate it as much as I would. 

So that’s what I’ve been up to in Will’s room.  Call it nursery prep :)



  1. Jessica says

    I’ve been wanting to make one of these.
    Silly question…Do you take a hard copy of the picture to the store or a flash drive with the black and white image saved on it?


  2. says

    Totally off topic (pic looks GREAT, by the way) but what do you use to keep Will from going up/down your stairs? Do you use gates? Or something that looks fancier?

    • says

      haha…nothing. I tell him he has to stay upstairs. or stay downstairs. The other thing is, we have an alarm…so we can set it so that we can move freely upstairs but if he goes even a quarter of the way downstairs, then the big alarm goes off. He’s learned that he does not like the big alarm. So now he knows that he needs to stay on whatever floor we are on.
      xo – kb

  3. Melanie says

    Check out ZGallerie’s faux animal rug. Costs less than the real thing, could be friends with your zebra rug, you’ll have less guilt & it’s kid friendly. I love ours! I can see it being used in many different rooms for years to come.

  4. says

    I know this is from yesterday but I was wondering. How did you cut the board with such a clean edge? I’ve seen them done very poorly on other blogs but yours looks amazing! They also used exacto knives/box cutters… Did you have a special technique

    • says

      I used an Xacto knife and cut it straight as I could but it was definitely still jagged. I used some rough sand paper to smooth them out – it ‘shaved’ off that mess to make it definitely more perfect!
      xo – kb

  5. says

    That looks awesome! Great photo of your little guy too!

    Do you think that you will coordinate the two boys’ bedrooms? We are having our 2nd in January and the new baby will be across the hall from our 2 year old son. We are renovating our 2nd floor so we will have a blank slate to work with – just trying to figure out how to coordinate the two bedrooms without them being too matchy-matchy!

    • says

      Probably not. I definitely know what I like and what I don’t…plus, I am hoping that I can make the nursery gender-neutral because it will have to be the next babys room too!
      xo – kb

  6. Laura says

    For something that’s all over Pinterest, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of “engineer prints”. It looks really great and what a great price. After I read your post yesterday I immediately dragged my kids outside for picture time and Staples will have my print ready in 2 hours!! Yay! I also added a quote on the photograph and a date, so we’ll all remember exactly how little they were when I took this. You can see it here if you’d like:

  7. Heather says

    Hey Katie. Did you refinish that dresser? We are refinishing one for our baby’s room, but struggling. So I thought I would ask since you most likely have some good advice!

  8. Lauren says

    how come you used a glue stick and not spray adhesive for your print? I have a poster I’m getting ready to hang and was wondering the pros and cons? I don’t want adhesive bleeding through! Did the glue stick hold it well? My poster is 5’x3′, so I need it to hold on strong!

    Will’s looks great!

    • says

      I used a glue stick because the spray adhesive tends to be a little wet and the paper was really thin. I didn’t want his face to be all bleedy and smeared…especially since the closest Staples is like a thirty minute drive. And the glue stick held it really well…I applied it very liberally and used books to hold it down that first night.
      xo – kb

    • says

      I used a glue stick – regular ole Elmers purple that turns white when it dries. I rubbed that all over the board and then laid the paper print down on top and smoothed it out :)
      xo – kb

  9. says

    Hi Katie, I wanted to come by and say hi personally after “meeting” you at the Frog Tape call. I love, love, love this idea. It’s the perfect way to hang a big photo without the weight. Totally falls into the “why didn’t I think of that” category:)

    • says

      Hi Carol! It’s so nice to meet you too! And are you so excited about the Frog Tape thing? Because I am in a weird giddy exhausting kinda way :)
      xo – kb

  10. Laura says

    Hi Katie! Love your blog! And, LOVE this project!! Quick question – do you think this would work for Instagram photos?

    • says

      hmmm…I don’t know because they are low res. You could always try for a collage (making the photos smaller would help with low res) and try it. If anything you’ll be out five bucks.
      xo – kb

  11. Cari says

    I so want to do this on the wall coming up our stairs but I’m terrified I will screw it up….anywho I came back to check comments to see if there were any extra tips and I just wanted to say how awesome it is that you answer as many questions as you can from your followers even if the question has been asked a million times!

  12. Genevieve Adams says

    Did you make the tent yourself? If so, do you have instructions for that? Thanks! Photo looks great considering the costs savings.

  13. Kristen says

    Hey there, love your blog!!! where did you find the toy cabinet/shelf unit in Will’s room? It looks perfect for the playroom we are trying to organize in the basement….thanks for your help!

  14. says

    I love this room!!! I found you through the Petersik’s blog and you guys are all just too stinkin’ cute! I love your blog, and you girl are funny, funny, funny! Not your looks, just your sense of humor! Can you say mucus plug???
    Seriously, I love reading your blog. Your family is precious.
    P.S. My best friend lives in Alpharetta, I’d love to meet you one day!
    I’m your mom’s age, but hey, I love friends of all ages.

  15. Kristin S says

    Am I the only one on the internet who totally failed at this engineered print thing?! I used insulation board, but it was more like Styrofoam. As soon as I cut it, those little white beads were everywhere and then I was chasing my 14 month old who thought those beads were the most delicious snack…

    Did that happen to you? Did the sandpaper really help? I’ve abandoned ship on this project :(

    • says

      Yes the edges were really rough for me too…flaky almost. And the sand paper was the trick. Make sure it’s a really rough grit!
      xo – kb

  16. Tisha says

    So I know this is an old post so I hope you get this message (maybe you can just email me back at tisha.klingensmith AT yahoo DOT com)
    What is that stuff on the wall behind his crib?? I love it! Where did you find it and how do I do that!?? Thank you!

  17. says

    So I just ordered a print through Staples because of this and it was $1.81!! Wahhooo!
    Just curious, the glue stick glue is still sticking??? Just trying to figure out what to do to attach mine to a canvas I already have! Thanks for the great idea!

    • says

      Mine is still sticking. The brackets on the back didn’t work out that well…but the print adhered to the insulation board great!
      xo- kb

      • says

        Thanks!! I tried this last night and unfortunately the glue stick was a fail on my canvas! I didn’t think about how it’s not solid throughout! Tried Mod-Podge for paper and it worked, although my print was already ripped! Good thing I can afford to get another for $1.81! I will be revisiting this tonight! Thanks again!

  18. Cindy says

    Hi Katie-

    I know this is an old post, but maybe you are still answering questions?

    I was wondering if all the writing on the foam board showed through the very thin paper that is common on an engineering print. Thanks!

  19. Mary says

    Just got the insulation board- same as yours. There’s a thin plastic film covering it. Do you peel it off or leave it on? Thanks!

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