Tips for Printing Graphics At Home

If you’ve visited me often, you know I love playing with pretty graphics.  I share free printables quite often on the blog and always on my email subscriber’s page.  Today let’s talk about how to print the free printables at home.  Do you ever print items at home and wonder why they just don’t look as vibrant or clear as other peoples you see online?  Here are my top tips for printing graphics at home plus a few printables available to download.

Hello Spring

Hello Spring

What kind of printer are you using? Most of us use inkjet printers in our homes.  Laser printers are better for printing documents, while inkjets tend to be better at printing photos. The next time you are shopping for a new printer read reviews for a printer’s graphic capabilities like Millo’s 10 Absolute Best Printers for Graphic Designers in 2022 They discuss printers in various price ranges.  Try a  Printer that Uses Pigment Inks I have used many brands of printers and like Epson Printers for graphics. Many of them (although not all) come with pigment inks, that are both waterproof and fade-proof. This makes it the perfect ink for crafting. Your ink won’t run or bleed, even when you apply something wet over top of it, like various types of glues,  Mod Podge, etc. You can even tea stain over it.

Photo Amazon

Don’t Use Copy Paper.  Many paper crafters print images on copy paper. Since copy paper is a thinner weight paper designed for use with text-based documents, it doesn’t give you sharp results for graphics.  It tends to absorb liquid ink and when used for printing graphics, it gives a heavily saturated, slightly wet look with less crisp images. I’ve found that the best paper to print on is matte photo paper. Coated papers are chemically treated to help the paper be a better printing substrate. It has a coating on it that seals the paper and restricts the ink being absorbed. The ink sits on top of the paper in a crisp defined dot. Matte photo paper will give your the most optimal print quality for images.  There are loads of brands to choose from, including ones that are specific to your brand of computer.

Photo Amazon

Try Heavier Papers.  Ink jet prints on regular weight (copy) paper may wrinkle or buckle when too much ink is applied to the paper.  If you don’t want to use photo paper, try printing on a heavier paper (like white matte 65lb. card stock).  This will produce a better quality print than by using regular printer/copy paper.  This is a great tip if you have a very colorful image and are using an ink jet printer.

Download Pink Gnome in Wreath 12″ x 12″

Change Your Printer Settings.  For the best quality, you want to select a setting on your printer that is made to give you the best quality. After clicking on the “print” button, a little screen will pop up. Instead of hitting the “ok” button, like you normally do, this time hit “Properties”.   Make sure you select “Best Photo” or whatever your screen offers, as the highest quality option. (Notice the reminder about using good quality paper.). Then hit the “ok” button.

Christmas Car Printables 

Preserve Your Print with a Sealer

Another trick to protect prints from fading is using a sealer. For example, try  Krylon’s Preserve It with a Matte finish.  Krylon also sells other clear acrylic coatings, options to make your print/paper acid-free, and options to make your print more waterproof.

Welcome Fall

Try Professional  Printing

Most home printing is with an ink jet printer, and the owners are completely satisfied.  However, some image transfer techniques may call for a laser print, which you can get at your local print shop.  You can also try a laser print if you do not have the best quality printer at home.  I often visit my print shop when I’m making multiple quality prints.  The prints are high quality and reasonably priced; you can also request to print on photo paper or card stock instead to further enhance your print. For a large piece of art for framing I use a professional printing company that I found online years ago.  Originally the name was Adorama, but the name was changed to Printique several years. They are my go-to printing for art. They have choices in paper and finishes all for a reasonable price. They also frequently have sales.  (This is not a sponsored post.)  They printed my vintage art below.

DIY Coastal Art By John Gould

What Is DPI?

DPI stands for “dots per inch”. That will tell you about the quality of the graphic. 300 DPI is the minimum quality for a good printable. If you like finding free printables to use for your projects, you may occasionally download an image that is less than 300 dots per inch (DPI). Please be aware that a 78 DPI which is standard for most blog images DOES NOT MAKE A GOOD PRINT! I even have concerns about the quality of 200 DPI. Don’t waste time and money trying to print a low quality graphic.

Strawberry Gnome in Wreath 12″ x 12″ Download

I hope these tips help you in producing the best prints possible.  Here’s to beautiful colors and designs!

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

16 thoughts to “Tips for Printing Graphics At Home”

  1. Thanks for the idea Carol. I didn’t realize the paper was so important and now I know why my papers are so wet through. I’m going to change my paper. Have a great day.

    Cruisin Paul

  2. These are all wonderful tips. I’m glad you shared about 300 dpi. That was a lesson I learned long ago when I was working and it makes all the difference in the world!

    1. when I was inexperienced, I got poor graphics for free and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t print them.

  3. I’ve just started doing printables and wasn’t aware of pigment inks. Good to know since they’re waterproof and won’t fade. I’ve got a themed party coming up next week for printables, won’t you join me? The current theme is handmade cards if you have any you’d like to linkup. I pinned this post.

  4. Thank you for these tips! I love printables, and I really appreciate the advice on making them really work for me!

    Thank you for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

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