saturday night blogging. (or, how to create a large canvas collage)

It’s pushing midnight. I’m at my mom’s. She’s out playing taxi for two husbands who need a ride home from The Music City Brewfest (names yet to be released).

Might as well blog, right?

Everytime I post a shot that shows my collage canvas in the background I get questions about it both in the comments section and via email. I’m so glad to hear so many of you like it! It was a super easy project and has brought so much joy to me in the two years since I created it. I plan to add another (and maybe another) in the coming years until I have an entire wall o’ Cobb family collage.

Over the top? Perhaps. Do I care? Nope.

I just spent more time than I care to admit searching back through blog archives for the first picture I posted of the collage. Can’t find it. So much for the search feature here on The Pigbear. I’ll try to revisit this post tomorrow to include an adequate picture of the collage. In the meantime, just scroll down to catch a glimpse of it in the background of the “ghostbusters” shots.

Here’s the basic rundown on how to create a canvas collage of YOUR family.

1. Decide on a size that will suit your space. Our is 36 in x 36 in. Yes, that’s three square feet of Cobb and I like it that way.

2. Open a photoshop document that corresponds to the finished size you’d like your piece to be. Use 300 for the dpi. So the document I created was 36 in x 36 in at 300 dpi. This is BIG. Be patient with your machine and resist the urge to throw a shoe at it when it slows down.

3. Now open 9 images that you’d like to use in your collage (if you want to make a 3 image x 3 image grid like mine…if not, open however many images your little heart desires). At this point I’d like to make a little plea: don’t forget that you are part of your family too. If you’re making a collage of your family then please include you. And do so unabashedly. There is an image of me wielding a camera (and rocking some pretty shnazzy glasses) right smack in the middle of our canvas. Not necessarily because I like myself that much but because I’m pretty sure my family does. They want to see me up there too.

4. Crop your images so that they are one third the height and width of your finished canvas height and width (and say a silent prayer of thanks for your third grade teacher who taught you how to divide). My images were each cropped to 12 in x 12 in at 300 dpi.

5. Now drag each of the images one at a time over to your large blank document (use the move tool to do this) and arrange them so that they are most pleasing to your eye.

6. Once all of the images are placed where you want them, you’re pretty much home free.

7. I use a lab for my canvas prints that is only available to professional photographers. If you are not in business for yourself then you’ll need to find a lab that will do this for you. My first recommendations would be to try www.canvasondemand.com and www.mpix.com. If you don’t see the size canvas you’d like listed on their website just call their customer service and ask. They will more than likely give you a custom quote and create a custom piece for you. While you have them on the phone ask if you need to resize your humongo file before sending it. My lab prefers that for large pieces I cut the file size in half. They’ll do the upsizing for me. This means that instead of sending a 36 in x 36 in file at 300 dpi I only send an 18 in x 18 in file at 300 dpi. Makes loads of difference in uploading.

8. Decide what kind of border you want and request it when you order. I like my canvases to be gallery wrapped (about two inches deep) and wrapped in a solid color – in this case black. Your lab should be able to do this for you easily on request.

9. Enjoy what you’ve created and bask in a feeling of artsy fartsy accomplishment!

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LaurenJuly 31, 2010 - 9:43 pm

Love it-thanks so very much for sharing!! Now I just need to get more decent pictures that I’m in…and I’ll be set.

chesleyJuly 31, 2010 - 9:52 pm

in nashville??!! would love to meet you when you’re here some time!!

MattieAugust 1, 2010 - 5:02 am

And, if you are really lazy there is this: http://www.thepicturewallcompany.com/

Which does ALL the work for you.

DebbieAugust 1, 2010 - 8:21 am

Weird Erin. And awesome… I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to find your original post of that canvas. Couldn’t find anything either. It was fun revisiting older posts though. :) I was mostly wondering about the size. From the moment you first shared it I knew that one day I would want to copy your brilliant idea when the day came for us to move into our own house. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re in escrow and though nothing is for certain, we are hopeful. And let me tell you, the day we first looked at this house there was a spot in the house that I instantly knew would be the wall for that collage. I can’t wait! Thank you so much for always being willing to share and help us out. You rock Erin!

ToniAugust 1, 2010 - 8:53 am

Thanks for the tutorial, Erin!! You are so awesome!! Ok, so being the stalker that I am, I found the original post of the Cobb Collage. It’s titled “A Little Piece of Happy.” Here’s the link http://erincobb.com/ThePigBear/?p=426
Can’t wait to get started!

JulipAugust 1, 2010 - 10:22 am

THANK YOU, while I have always admired that collage in the background, I’ve never commented. I will be creating one of these, AFTER I figure out how to make a nice black and white image….so far, my black and white have turned out pretty cruddy and lame! I think one of these every couple of years would be a great addition to any family home….truly lovely!

jennieAugust 1, 2010 - 1:06 pm

I found the orignal post! It was titled a little piece of happy. I really can’t wait to try this. We need some new wall art in our living room and this would be great. thanks for steps.

SamAugust 1, 2010 - 2:29 pm

Love this idea! Did you find the original yet? Try May 18, 2008:)

heidiAugust 1, 2010 - 2:40 pm

thanks for sharing!

ShonnaAugust 1, 2010 - 4:11 pm

You TOTALLY just made my day, and I’m not even kidding! :)

KimAugust 3, 2010 - 10:36 am

thanks so much! i am pumped!

KimAugust 3, 2010 - 10:45 am

crap, girls! i don’t have photoshop! anyone willing to put my nine images on their photoshop and send it back to me? anyone? give me your fee and it’s done!
i have 9 images ready to rock.

PennyAugust 4, 2010 - 10:30 am

Wonderful! Thank you.

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