Introductory: Display Shelves: Creating Backgrounds for Your Collection Shelves

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Alucard77, Mar 27, 2012.

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  1. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

    Dec 3, 2010
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    Hi All,

    Whenever I post my collection, I get asked the question of how I did it, I put together a tutorial in the past, and I figured I would put it here for others to follow as well. It is easy to do so hope you guys enjoy. Also, if you find some great backgrounds that we can use, please post them for the rest of us.

    The Panels I got from this link: Nemesis panels/Teletran

    (Also, check out our full tutorial of the Ark Playset with Teletran 1 here: ~SQ7)

    The Ark (Thanks to OptimusTimeLord): (Right click, save image)

    So this is what my shelves look like:




    Autobots Roll Out:


    Attack Megaton!


    For those interested, this is how all this shelving unit looks now:

    Hopefully yours will look the same if you try this:

    Step 1: Do you have a shelf backing?
    If yes, go to step 2.
    Materials needed:
    1- Staples large piece of poster board: $8.99
    2- Nails: $.99
    3- Hammer
    4- Measuring tape
    5- Razor blade knife
    6- Straight edge long ruler (

    - Measure your cabinet on the outside edge. Make sure to measure the outside edge.
    - Put measurements to poster board, and trace shape of the cabinet.
    - If the whole cabinet is not big enough, you may want to split it us into 2 panels.
    - Once the lines are drawn, use the large straight edge ruler and line up the line you drew with your straight edge ruler.
    - hold the ruler down firmly and cut across to cut the poster board with a new blade in you Razor blade knife. The sharper the blade is, the better.
    - Once you have it in use the nails to nail in the poster board to the cabinet.

    Step 2: Choose your source material, measuring and printing:
    Materials you need:
    1- Measuring Tape
    2- Any editing program (Microsoft paint will work, but it is a pain in the ass.)

    Measure, measure and more measure:
    - Begin by measuring the back of your shelf.
    - Measure the either the right or left shelf wall. They should be the same size and if they are not then you have a funky shelf.
    - Measure the flooring of the shelf.
    - Write down all of the measurements.
    - My shelf in this case had these measurements, so I will use this in my example:
    Floor 11x30
    Back of shelf 13x30
    Right and left walls 13x11
    - Now that you have your measurements, open up Paint or whatever you are using.
    - Let's assume you are using the Nemesis panels. Look at the pixel size of them (in this case 3400 x 2200).
    - The 3400 x 2200 is made perfectly for a 17x11 shelf. This is assuming that you are using 200dpi for every inch you are printing out. So 17 x 200 dpi = 3400. 11 x 200 dpi = 2200. I hope that make sense.
    - Now, the most important and annoying part is knowing what the printer you are using will print. I go to Costco to do my prints. This link will show you all the sizes you can print at Costco:
    Printing photo enlargements at Costco Photo Center | PHOTSY
    - Look at all the sizes and decide what size works best for your wall. So in my case I can:
    Use 11x14 to print my side pieces.
    Use 30x20 to print my floor and back pieces
    - Now we know the sizes we want to print, now let’s decide a couple of more things:

    Resizing image: Do you want to keep close to the source material?
    Sometimes the source material won't fit just right. The Panels created here are created for Alternators which are slightly bigger in size then classics. So, what I wanted to do is actually shrink my image to shrink the spacing between lines.
    - For the side walls, what I actually did is take 4 panels for the wall and merged them together in paint by pasting them one next to another and on top of each other. This left me with an image that was 6800 x 4400.
    - I then shrunk the image by 50%, which left me back at 3400x2200. The difference was, the line spacing was halved as before. This gave me what I needed, but you can also stay with the larger spacing if you want.
    - I then did the same for the back wall but used more panels.

    Deciding on the size to print:
    - So for my side walls, I have an image that is 3400x2200 (17x11) and the size of the wall is 13x11 (2600x2200). Costco allows me to print a 14x11 (2800x2200), which is perfect for what I want. All I need to do now is crop my image.
    - What I like to do, is crop my image to match my shelf exactly. It makes it easier to cut later. So I go back into my paint program and crop the image to 2600x2200 (13x11). If I would have resized the image, then the image might have been distorted, so I prefer cropping.
    - The second thing I do is resize the canvas to Costco’s printing size. So the canvas would be 2800x2200 (14x11).
    - So now I have an image that 2600x2200 (13x11), and a canvas that is 2800x2200 (14x11). What I do to make life easy, is fill in the empty part of the canvas in black so I know where to cut later. So in this case, I filled in the empty 200x2200 with black (1 x 11 strip at the bottom of the image)
    - Follow these same steps for the floor, the back and the other side wall until you have everything you need.

    Once you’re all done, go to Costco or whatever store you want and print these out. Costco has 1 hour printing. Make sure to do board-less printing. Also, I prefer to use Glossy.

    Step 3: Cutting and mounting your pictures.
    Materials you need:
    1- Straight edge ruler
    2- X-Acto or razor blade knife
    3- Double sided tape (I prefer the 3/4" width)

    Cutting your pictures:
    - If you followed the directions on top, this should be really easy. Your printed image will already be printed to the size you need. If you filled in the empty canvas with black, you have your cutting lines.
    - Hold down the straight edge ruler on the cutting line, making sure to cover just up to the black, you don't want to cut too much.
    - Use your razor blade and try to do one clean cut. It becomes a pain if you do 3 or 4 or cuts and doesn't lead to a nice straight line.
    - Do the same for your rear wall, the floor and the side walls.
    - Now that everything is cut, test fit it. Should fit like a glove.
    - If you still need to trim, still use your razor blade and flat edge ruler.

    Prepping images for mounting to your cabinet:
    - This is the easy part. Take the image you want and face it upside down.
    - Get the double sided tape.
    - Do one image at a time, don't do all 4 at once.
    - Use the double sided tape on the borders of the pictures. I get as close as possible to the borders.
    - For the smaller side walls, I put a plus in the middle of the picture with the double sided tape for more adhesion.
    - For the larger floor and wall, I put more pieces of tape. Use your own judgment on how much you want to use. The key for me is making sure you got those boarders done right.
    - I personally like to use long pieces of tape that fit the image. No real reason, but worked well so far.

    Mounting the image:
    - Line up the bottom of your image with the bottom of your shelf.
    - Make sure it is lying flat across the bottom and the whole piece is matched up correctly.
    - Starting at the bottom, push the image to the wall.
    - Work your way up.
    - If the image seems crocked, you can always peel back away, but you really shouldn't need to do this if the floor is matched up.

    And that's all there is. Hope this worked for you.

    If I recall correctly it was no more than like $24 a shelf to print, if that. I know with the tape and the foam board it cost me like $30 a shelf, and I recall the tape not being so cheap. So I think $24 is about right.

    Sure it can. Just pay attention to the "Resizing image: Do you want to keep close to the source material?" section.

    If you are using the nemesis panels you can do what I suggested as Animated/Prime actually scale well.

    If you are using any landscape like the Arc, it should be fine.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2012
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