Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Printables Basics 4 - Printing Tips

Continuing my Printables Basics series, sharing advice and tutorials on using printables; in this post I will be sharing a few tips on printing.

Your printable designs can be printed at home or if you don't have your own printer you can take files to a professional printers. Having designs professionally printed is also ideal if your printer can’t handle the type of print you would like to make, such as large poster prints or printing on very thick card.
Home printers can produce very good results and are very affordable option – you don’t need a top of the range model for great prints! I have used an HP PSC2355 and Epson Stylus SX425W, both producing excellent prints. As general advice for best results from any printer, I recommend using your printer’s highest quality setting and a good quality paper or card. Printing at home also allows you more freedom for experimentation - you can try using different papers to see what you like best from your own printer.

Paper Types
You can print on ordinary copy paper, however, this is quite thin (usually about 80gsm) and I think that something a little heavier looks and feels much nicer. For scrapbooking papers I use 120gsm paper. If you are planning to print for use in scrapbooks, which you want to keep for a long time, remember to check that your paper is acid and lignin free.
For items like gift boxes, bunting, cupcake toppers or cards you will want to use a thicker paper or card which is sturdier and will keep its shape better; I use 240gsm card. You will need to check what thickness of card your printer will handle – some will struggle to take thicker card, depending on how paper / card is fed into your printer.

Ink Type
For home printers you have a choice of laser and inkjet. Personally, I have only used inkjet, however laser printers do have some benefits. Laser printers are generally faster and better if you are printing high volumes (particularly text based documents). Another benefit of laser printers over inkjet is that they print with toner which can be used with heat foiling (inkjet inks will not work for this). This technique has become very popular, producing stunning results and is something I would love to try with my designs!
Inkjet printers are generally better for printing the colours of images and photos. The type of ink inkjet printers can vary too – some use dye based ink and some is pigment based. This is something you will want to be aware of particularly if you intend to use wet mediums on your print outs (such as colouring digital stamps with watercolours or using glitter glue). Pigment inks should be ok with this, however, dye based inks are water based and can bleed with wet. You can read more details about this in my Dye vs. Pigment Ink post.

Crop Marks and Bleed
If you have downloaded something like one of my colour in card designs (subscribe to my newsletter to try one for free!) you might wonder what the little black lines in the corners are for. These are crop marks – simply guide lines used by designers/ printers to show where a design should be trimmed. The card in the picture below is on a sheet measuring 8.5 x 11 inches and if you trim using the crop marks as guides you should end up with a card A6 in size.
Designs like this, with crop marks, also have ‘bleed’ (highlighted in blue in the image). This is where the edge of the design extends beyond the trimmed size of the finished print. It means you won’t get a white line appearing around the edge of the trimmed print – particularly important if the colour / design goes to the edge of the print which is more noticeable on some of my invitation designs.

Professional Printing
If you plan to take printables which you have purchased from my Etsy shop to a professional printers please contact me so that I can provide you with a PDF release letter, as you may be asked to provide proof that you have permission to print my designs.
I do also offer a print service for my wedding stationery designs and invitations – visit my Etsy shop for more details on this.

More in the Printables Basics series:
What are printables? 6 reasons to love them!
Downloading Digital Items and Extracting ZIP Files
File Types and Software to use with Printables
Printing and resizing scrapbook papers

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