Eventually, you'll want to plan out just where everything will go and set it up without finalizing the layout by doing it at will. This involves laying down the pictures on the cardboard exactly where you want them to be for the final project. It also involves cutting down pictures, creating borders if that's the way you go and taking care of any other modifications of the pictures, such as adding studs, beads or stars. Once you have everything laid out, you'll want to move each picture and border with it off the cardboard completely. You'll lay out the entire poster next to the cardboard so that it's easy for you to reach when you begin to glue down the pictures. You don't want to do this in a room where pets or babies might mess up the order, so, make sure you lay these out in a place that can't be disturbed by even walking around the room.
Use glue sticks, never water glue, to put the pictures on the cardboard. Glue will run, causing clumping and otherwise be messy. You don't want to ruin the cardboard, the pictures or any other art-related material you'll be using for the poster, so, glue sticks are the best bet to go. Make sure you apply a semi-thick layer to the back of each picture on all four sides and diagonally through the middle, this way it will be very secure on the cardboard.
Lay down the picture softly, use a piece of lined paper and place it on top of the picture, then press down in all four directions and diagonally to make sure all the glue takes to both picture and cardboard. Then, take off the lined paper and marvel at your first picture being properly placed. Repeat this until you are finished with all the pictures. Make sure you work from top to bottom, left to right if at all possible, to avoid having to smudge and otherwise scuff other pictures as you work with getting them all onto the cardboard.
When all the pictures are properly placed on the cardboard and glued down, if you want to make any other types of artistic changes, such as adding cardboard or stickers, then, by all means do so. If you are using some sort of theme, this would be the perfect time to add to it before the finished product is protected and unable to be worked on any more.
Once the photo poster is laid out, secured and generally finished, you'll want to work on protecting it from wear and tear. There are many made-for-home laminating kits out thee, and lamination is the best way to go, especially with a very thin lamination. If this is a big project, however, you might find taking it to a professional might be more worth your time. If this is the case, make sure to cover the entire poster during travel with a trash bag or other covering that will keep it safe completely for the trip.
For smaller posters, though, laminating at home will be the best bet. The goal is to laminate the entire poster, front and back, to ensure that wear and tear doesn't degrade the pictures of the hard work you've put into it. Thin layers are always best, as thicker layers of lamination might make the poster look unsavory and otherwise clouded from view when looked upon at close ranges. Make sure you follow the directions of the particular lamination system you use, and just take your time, being gentle for the whole time you're laminating.
Finally, you'll proudly display your photo poster in the room or place of your choice. Depending on how thick the poster is and how big it is, you can use run of the mill thumb-tacks to keep it in place. In some cases, you might want to use nails, or if you're fancy, you can attach a picture frame holder to it so as not to damage the poster itself, especially if you're planning to move it more than once or twice a year.
After making photo posters the first few times, you'll get the hang of creating a beautiful way to showcase your family and their photos to friends and your loved ones. You can play with sizes, styles and other factors, as well as get the rest of your family involved. You can make posters for gifts and for special occasions as well to commemorate certain events, such as a new baby, a marriage or a graduation. Posters can be used for any purpose and as long as the maker is having fun making them, it will show when you hang your work proudly for all to see.