While we commission commercial printers to print the products we offer for sale,
we still use our in-house printers—both inkjet and laser—for crafting.
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Be assured that our opinions are based on our direct experience after purchasing the product. We have not been gifted any of the products reviewed.
To get the most out of your inkjet, it is important to employ the high quality settings when printing. We find that we achieve a professional looking print if we use matte photo paper printed at high quality. The diagrams below walk you through setting up a high quality print in Adobe Reader®, which must be used to print our files. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC® can be downloaded for free here.
Start the most current version of Adobe Reader® on your computer. Go to the File Menu and choose “Open.” Select the PDF file you would like to open from your desktop, or wherever you saved it. If you need to edit the text or scale the PDF, please refer to our Working with PDFs section.
When you are ready to print, go to the "File" menu and choose “Print.”
In top left corner of the Print Dialog box, select the printer you will be using from the drop down box next to “Print.”
Then push the “Properties” button.
The box that pops up next varies amongst the different printers but the concept is the same. Look for a dropdown box for “Media Type” or “Paper Options” or “Media Settings” etc. Select “matte photo paper” or “premium presentation paper matte,” or a variation listed in your dropdown box. We use this matte photo paper.
Then look for a dropdown box or button that allows you to choose “Print Quality” or “Quality Option.” Choose the highest selection. This may be “Best Photo” or “Max Quality” or simply “High.”
Close the box by selecting the “OK” button at the bottom.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INKJET AND LASER PRINTERS
The main difference between the inkjet and laser is the way color is applied to paper. Inkjet printers use liquid ink that is sprayed onto paper through tiny nozzles while laser printers use powdered toner that is fused to paper with heat. The application process makes laser prints more steadfast, while inkjet prints can be water soluble. Laser printers also boast much faster printing speeds.
Still, when printing in color our preference is an inkjet printer as colors are more vibrant and lines are crisper (if the appropriate settings are used), while laser prints tend to be more saturated. And the more color cartridges the inkjet printer contains, the more complex and beautiful the printed colors will be. Also, all of you pink lovers out there, be aware that pinks print much better on an inkjet; laser toner tends to make a muddy reddish pink.
There are so many inkjet printers on the market now with affordable prices—some computers are even sold with a free printer. When shopping read the reviews carefully and factor in the price of ink cartridges and also the availability of the cartridges. We have to order the cartridges we use online, which has halted our print production at times while we await delivery.
In the past we have used a Canon Pixma printer and were generally happy with the results. Heavy weight paper printed well on this model.
More recently we purchased an inexpensive all-in-one inkjet, and we were pleased with our prints when we used matte photo paper. Thicker paper stock proved tricky to load, however. We also have to clean the printer heads fairly often to ensure the colors were even on our prints. On the plus side, ink was readily available nearby at office supply stores, which is great because as mentioned above, we always seemed to run out of ink at the most inopportune time. Like, every time.
As we have expanded, we upgraded to an Epson SureColor. We love this printer! There are nine ink cartridges instead of the regular four, so the resultant colors are gloriously vivid. The ink longevity has made the added cost of this printer worthwhile for us. Truly our only complaint so far is that the ink has to be ordered online. Unless we are printing envelopes, we only use matte photo paper with this printer.
If you do not have a printer at home, you can use a print center to print the file for you. Please note that you will not be able to upload our files to a print center’s website; you need to physically carry the file into the print center on a thumb drive or email the file to the print center. The PDF is formatted to 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper (A4 for International shoppers) and cannot be changed.
Through your purchase, you do have the right to print our files for your own personal use. All of our files include a printing release, but we recommend that you bring in your receipt as well. Some print center employees refuse to print copyrighted material without reading the fine print. To save yourself a trip, bring the extra documentation!
SETTING UP A PRINT
Many inks used in inkjet printing are water soluble. This means that if your print comes into contact with water the ink will run—a very disheartening thought! At times simply using a certain type of paper, usually a photo paper, will add water resistance to your print. Printer manufacturers publish tables on their websites which detail degrees of resistance based on which photo paper and ink combination is used.
Another workaround is to coat a print with a fixative. We have used this Matte Finish spray on matte photo paper prints and have been pleased with the finished look and performance. It did make the print feel chalky but we didn’t find that it altered the printed color in any way. The matte finish also has the added benefit of reducing any gloss or glare. As a disclaimer, we have never tried the spray on any paper other than our usual matte photo paper. And we cannot speak to the permanence of the finish as our paper only served temporary uses.
LARGE FORMAT PRINTING
If you have a large format design in black and white, print it as an engineer print. These prints are intended for architectural and engineering blueprints (only they are no longer blue) and are inexpensive. We printed the sheet at left measuring 3 feet x 4 feet for under $10. At the print shop, make sure you specifically ask for an engineering print instead of just a black and white print.
Engineering prints are not high-quality prints, however. Solid black areas may print slightly distressed, for example, and black lines often are inconsistent. The imperfections should be embraced as part of the charm of this type of print.
The prints are great for backdrops, tablecloths, as well as coloring sheets.