We have a general page of printing recommendations that you should check out, but having printed 10+ charts myself within the last couple months I wanted to add some additional lessons that I learned.
Perusing the web, I found a suggestion to print family trees using Staples Engineering Prints--currently, they print 18" x 24", 24" x 36" (as well as two even bigger sizes) for $2.99 and $5.89 respectively in color and $1.79 and $3.59 in black and white. Pretty much a steal of a deal in the printing world, so we thought we'd investigate.
Our first attempt was highly successful. We printed a 24" x 36" color chart as well as an 18" x 24" color chart.
Note: Our blog editor, unfortunately, optimizes pictures automatically and reduces the quality. In these images, the charts look blurry, but in real life they are CRISP!
Unfortunately, our experience was a little skewed to the positive as the girl helping us didn't know how to work the engineering print machine in color, and so printed for us on poster paper instead. The colors were gorgeous and true and the paper felt sufficiently heavy and framed well. Had we been charged the full amount for the poster print, however, we would have paid $14.99 and $29.99 for the 18" x 24" and 24" x 36" respectively which is a far cry from $2.99 and $5.89, but also not the most expensive printing option out there. Our local print show where we've printed before charges $36.00 for a 24" x 36" print, and the quality was slightly better on very close inspection, but essentially the same. So the verdict on Staples poster printing? From our one experience:
In an effort to have the actual engineering prints experience, we tried again, and this time we were successful... or not depending on how you look at it.
The color printing itself turned out great--the colors were still true and the resolution was great. The only downside was that the bond paper the prints are printed on was quite thin (about the same weight as regular printer paper), so whenever you handled it, it left little visible marks. These marks aren't really visible in the larger prints we did (16" x 20" through 12" x 12"), most likely because the glass we were using in nicer frames flattened it out, but the little one (8" x 10") we have in a cheaper frame you can still see little finger divets on the paper... so not great.
For a price comparison for the price conscious, when we asked for a quote for a 16" x 20", 11" x 14", 12" x 12" and 8" x 10" on poster paper it was going to be $45, and instead we formatted all four of those charts to fit on one 24" x 36" document that we printed as an engineering print and cut out ourselves and it was $5.89... so hard to beat.
Here are those four charts puzzle-pieced onto a 24" x 36" sheet.
IF YOU TRY THIS AT HOME, PLEASE NOTE: Many image editing programs will actually reduce the resolution automatically, so make sure whatever you're using DOES NOT do this... or the quality will be terrible. We used Sketch, and it works great.
And there you have it--our review of Staples printing for family tree printing! Have your own experience? Tell us in the comments!
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