How to Enlarge and Print Any Image

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These instructions will help you enlarge or reduce your reference image. You can then transfer the image onto your painting surface or just determine the correct placement of each element of your creation.

These step-by-step instructions are for Windows but they might work with other operating systems, too. You can use this method to enlarge or reduce a reference photo to make a template for your artwork.

Scan in the image into your computer or choose a copyright-free image that is already on your computer:

Colorful Horse Portrait 01

If you don’t want to use a lot of ink for the final printout, follow the instructions in the article “How to Create an Outline of an Image“.

If You Need to Crop Your Image, Do This:

Use Either Paint or

Now open the original image or the outline of the image in the free paint or free program. (If you don’t have either of these programs, search online for “free” and download/install it. But search your computer first for the free paint program.)

If you want to crop the image because you only need part of it, now is the time to do that.

Put the Image into a Word Program

Copy the image (or the outline of the image) into your clipboard using the Control-c keys at the same time. Or by right-clicking on the image and choosing Copy.

Open a Word document and paste (Control-v keys) the image into it.

Export it to a pdf file where the image can be enlarged using the pdf’s Poster feature.

Enlarging the Image

Open the pdf file:

Choose “File” and then choose “Print” but don’t print it yet.

See the print pop up box.

Choose the “Poster” button:

(Optional step) Check the “Cut Marks” box. This will put little crosses on the printed pages where they can be trimmed with a scissors:


Change the Tile Scale to a larger or smaller number – whatever number might give you the  printed size you want. If you click twice on the Cut Marks box, you will be shown how many pages will print when enlarging your image:


Choose Landscape or Portrait and Print. The result may print on more than one sheet of paper, depending on what Tile Scale number you chose.

Compare the size of the printout with the paint surface you want to create that image on. If it is too small or large, put in a different Tile Scale number until you produce the size you need.

Trim the sheets and tape them together to make one large page.

Transferring the Enlarged or Reduced Image to Your Painting Surface

Tape the top of the image to your painting surface (canvas, board, wall, etc.).

Using tracing paper, trace the image onto your painting surface. Alternately, you can cut around the main element of the image and trace around it on your painting surface.

If you get stuck on any of these steps, just contact me and I will help.

If you want to learn more skills that will help you in your creative endeavors, visit this page to learn the many benefits of joining the Skillful Artists Membership Group.

Creatively yours,