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Photo blankets may not be the best way to show off your work when compared to a gallery-grade print on high-end photo paper. They can, however, be extremely fun. Imagine giving someone a gift of a 50” x 60” blanket with a huge picture of your own face on it. Of course, you could also go the more authentic route and put a photo of your family or a cherished pet on there. Regardless of the content, the best photo blankets can help keep you warm while showing off your favorite photos all at the same time.
- Best overall: MPIX
- Best custom: Shutterfly
- Best budget: Costco
- Best water-resistant: Walgreens Stadium Blanket
How we picked the best photo blankets
I have printed my photos in just about every possible medium over the past 20 years, and that includes several photo blankets with huge pictures of my own face on them as gag gifts. For this list, we relied on personal experience, editorial reviews, user feedback, and feature comparisons in order to choose the best options.
There aren’t a ton of places that make custom photo blankets out there, but these are your best options. We have chosen options that offer high-quality products for a reasonable price with a decent turn-around time.
The best photo blankets: Reviews & Recommendations
Unless you have very specific needs, all of these companies offer solid options that would make for great gifts. We’ve broken them down with some specific recommendations, but definitely check out all of the picks to see if one fits your particular need.
Best overall: MPIX
Why it made the cut: A reputable photo printing house offers a ton of different designs and options.
- Sizes: 30” x 40”, 50” x 60”, 60” x 80”
- Materials: Plush fleece
- Turn-around time: 2-3 days for production plus shipping
- Fast turn around
- High print quality
- Tons of template options
- Easy ordering process
- No material choices
- Sizes can be limited based on design
When it comes to custom blankets, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company with more options than MPIX. The company offers dozens of different templates with single and multiple photo designs. Some of the designs even eschew the photos overall and allow you to put a name or other text within decorative patterns.
All the blankets are printed on the same plush fleece material, so there’s no push to upgrade or worry that you got the wrong thing. MPIX offers the common blanket sizes mentioned above, but not every design is available in every option, which is one of the few less-than-optimal things about this company’s offerings.
MPIX is a well-regarded printing house, so the overall quality of the images tends to be higher than it would be with a drug store or value-oriented brand. Despite the high quality, pricing isn’t outrageous and lands near the middle of the pack.
Best custom: Shutterfly
Why it made the cut: Ample template options accompany a wide range of material and sizing options.
- Sizes: 30” x 40”, 50” x 60”, 60” x 80”
- Materials: Fleece, Plush fleece, and Sherpa
- Turn-around time: About a week
- Lots of templates available
- All size and material options fit every template
- High quality prints
- The company offers other matching products if you want pillows to go with your blanket
- Can get expensive
Shutterfly’s custom blanket offerings also include a very wide range of templates, some of which are part of special collections. For each design, you can order any of the three common sizes. You can also choose the material. It offers fleece, plush fleece, and sherpa options.
When you start picking large sizes and premium materials, the prices can get fairly high. But, Shutterfly offers high print quality and solid construction so these blankets should last for quite some time before breaking down.
These blankets are machine washable, so they’re easy to clean in case you drop a piece of chicken from your chicken parm sub on it. That’s the primary reason we typically have to wash blankets in my house.
Best budget: Costco
Why it made the cut: Their options are relatively limited, but simplified ordering experience makes it extremely accessible.
- Sizes: 50” x 60”, 60” x 80”
- Materials: Plush fleece
- Turn-around time: 7 days
- Quick turn around
- Large sizes available
- Limited templates
- Membership required
If you live near a Costco, you can order a photo blanket directly from your local store. Costco only offers two sizes in two designs. You can choose from a 50” x 60” throw or a 60” x 80” throw. In terms of designs, they accept one single large image or a collage of smaller images. If you want a more elaborate design, then you’re better off going somewhere else.
Costco makes up for those limited offerings with simplicity and speed. The company says it typically takes less than seven days to get your blanket. And even the bigger 60” x 80” blanket will only set you back $50 (as long as you’ve already paid for your membership). Plus, you can pick up a couple bags of Korean barbecue beef jerky while you’re there. That stuff is absurdly good.
Best water-resistant: Walgreens Stadium Blanket
Walgreens Stadium Blanket
Why it made the cut: Of all the big manufacturers we looked at, Walgreens is the only one to offer a water-resistant stadium blanket.
- Sizes: 50” x 60”
- Materials: Soft mink with a water-resistant under layer
- Turn-around time: 5-10 business days
- Water resistant
- You can also order the standard materials and sizes if you don’t need the weatherproof features
- Quick turn around
- Pick up in store
Peruse the Walgreens photo blanket offerings and you’ll find a lot of the common sizes and material options. Here, however, we’re emphasizing the stadium blanket. It’s a soft mink blanket with a layer of water-resistant material on the underside to keep moisture out. So, if you’re out at a game and it starts lightly raining, it could keep you dryer than the rest of the fans around you. That barrier layer also makes this a great option for picnics if you want to sit on your own face and eat a bucket of macaroni salad.
The blanket rolls up into a convenient shape and included clipped straps and carry handle make it easy to tote around. It’s machine washable and you can tumble dry it so it’s easy to clean if you have any tragic accidents with the aforementioned macaroni salad.
Things to consider when shopping for the best photo blanket
These are custom products and many places that sell them often outsource their production. As a result, you can expect to wait a week or more for your blanket to arrive. That’s not that long of a time in the grand scheme of things, but if you’re buying a photo blanket as a gift, make sure you get your order in early and allow for both production and shipping.
Some of the options with physical locations like Costco or Walgreens can sometimes deliver their products faster because they can ship directly to the store with other photo product orders. That’s not always the case, though.
Blankets aren’t exactly gallery-grade, so it’s important to manage expectations when it comes to photo quality. Companies typically offer fleece blankets, which have a generally fuzzy appearance. So, if you want your image to appear detailed in blanket form, it probably wouldn’t hurt to apply a bit of extra sharpening to the image in order to combat the fuzz.
Blankets don’t offer a huge dynamic range so don’t expect to be able to make out a lot of shadow detail or retain delicate highlights. Unless you have a specific creative vision, print something with a solid, even exposure that doesn’t skew too far to the light or dark.
Also, if it shows up and doesn’t look spectacular, try and keep in mind that it’s a blanket.
Most photo blankets are made of some kind of fleece. Some fleece is heavier than others, so you may see terms like “plush fleece” to indicate upgraded material. Some manufacturers also offer sherpa material, which is relatively flat on the picture side and lined with fluffy material on the other side.
Some companies offer woven options, which simulates a hand-stitched look. Those blankets typically make the image look even lower-resolution and reduce the color palette so they work best with simpler images.
Walgreens offers a stadium blanket that’s water-resistant, which is a cool and unique offering.
Most commonly, you’ll find blankets that come in baby (30” x 40”), throw (50” x 60”) and XL throw (60” x 80”) sizes. The smaller sizes are obviously usually cheaper. I personally think getting a really giant photo blanket is hilarious, so I recommend that even if it’s wildly impractical. You may want to get a blanket that actually fits your usage pattern, however.
Q: What resolution do you need for a photo blanket?
Even though photo blankets don’t require super-high DPI to make a quality print, they are very large. Every manufacturer is different, but you’ll want something relatively high-res to make the image look as good as it can. Most smartphones pump out 12-megapixel images and they should be just fine in terms of resolution. Most advanced cameras offer more than that, so you should be fine there, too, as long as you don’t crop severely.
Don’t expect to pull down a photo from Facebook or another social media site and print it onto a huge blanket, though. If you don’t have a high-res image, we recommend sticking with the smaller sizes.
Q: How do you make a collage blanket?
Sites like MPIX and Shutterfly offer tons of templates with multiple photos, so the easiest way is to just use one of those. If you want to do it yourself, you can always make a college to your exact liking in Photoshop, then export the image and print it as a single image. When you’re making your design, make sure you use the same aspect ratio of the blanket so it doesn’t get cut off or squished during printing.
Q: How much do blankets with pictures on them cost?
This depends on what size and material you choose. Small, basic blankets can cost $20 or even less depending on the company and whether or not you can find a sale. Large, premium blankets can go up over $100.
Q: How do you wash a Shutterfly blanket?
Like most of the photo blanket options, Shuttefly blankets are just fine in the washing machine. The company recommends you dry it on tumble dry low in order to keep it looking its best. The manufacturer will typically tell you how to take care of it regardless of where you order it from.
Final thoughts on the best photo blankets
MPIX’s glut of designs, high quality prints, and fast turnaround times give it the best award in our list of photo blankets. While the sizing can be a little wonky at times, it’s the best mix of price and quality. When you order, just make sure you upload a large enough image with a little extra image sharpening applied. Even the best photo blanket option won’t look very good if you don’t start with a good source image.