Dorm decorating trend: rasterbating

rasterbateMillions of college students are moving into temporary living spaces with stark white walls and many rental and dorm housing agreements have clauses that prohibit damaging the walls with holes or paint. What's a stylish renter to do to ease this decorating frustration? Rasterbate!

You read correctly. Rasterbating is a great way to decorate temporary living spaces in a cheap and personalized way. In short, rasterbating converts any digital image into millions of tiny dots which can can be expanded to any size, printed out, and then pieced together like a puzzle on a surface of your choice. This tool combined with your bloated university printing allowance is a free and sophisticated way to decorate your space.

Joel Booker, 22, is a computer science major at Fox Valley Technical College and has decorated with rasterbated images for a many years. "Primarily, I rasterbate comical images, pictures I find humorous," Booker said. He first learned about rasterbating from website forums such as and

He decorated his freshman dorm room with a rasterbated image of a lumberjack fighting a great white shark. "It was quite a conversation piece," he said. "People always asked how it was done and I told them you can use this simple program."

Booker's favorite rasterbating experience was with his four college roommates. They lived in a rental house near campus and they realized that they had a huge white wall in the kitchen that needed some decoration. "As poor college students we used [rasterbating] as a free way to decorate," Booker said.

The roommates decided on a cartoon of a caveman hitting a dinosaur. "We all laughed when we saw the picture and all agreed it was awesome," said Booker. They then decided to make the image six feet wide by eight feet tall and printed it out, for free, in the university computer lab. It took the five roommates two hours to piece it together and then another two hours to color it with markers. "It really brought us together," said Booker. "We laughed for hours. Everyone that came in and saw it for the first time thought it was a coolest piece of art that we had."

rasterbateEric Piggott, 23, is a student at Lake Michigan College who uses rasterbated images to showcase his interests on the walls of his campus apartment. "I had nothing on any of my walls." says Piggot, "So, naturally, because I am into cars [and photography], I used one of my own images of my own car." Piggott edited the shadowing of the photo to make the black and white rasterbation more dramatic.

As you become more comfortable with rasterbating, the technique can be applied in other ways. Booker recently used the rasterbator to make an over-sized image of a large technical plan at work. "Our [office] plotter is broken, so it was a great asset to know how to make unnecessarily large pictures [with the rasterbator]," he said.

Savvy home decorators have even gone as far as to create custom raterbations for their ceilings and floors. Booker recalls seeing a bathroom floor that had been covered with a tiled rasterbated image and then clear coated to make it water proof. Online forums are filled with pictures of rasterbated appliances and doors.

Convinced of the power of rasterbation and want to jump into the ranks of those spending afternoons rasterbating away? To rasterbate, first chose an image. Common images include nature-scapes, movie stills, and moody portraits. Then upload your image into a rasterbator. You can either download a free rasterbating program or use an online rasterbator. The rasterbator then turns the image into millions of tiny dots. Choose how large you want the image to be and the rasterbator creates a printable PDF file which you print out and piece together like a puzzle.

On thing to remember is that the the larger you make the image the longer it will take to print. "If you [print] at school, do it at a low traffic time so you don't bog down the printers," says Booker.

Let your creativity flow with this free tool and your access to high-quality university printers that allow you to print for free or a minimal cost. As an added bonus, you can make your friends blush and giggle by saying you spent the afternoon rasterbating.
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