If you’re new to hybrid scrapbooking, you’re probably wondering how to print good quality scrapbook supplies with your own printer at home. Although it’s not exactly rocket science, you might end up with dull or different colors than you see in your monitor when you’re just starting with hybrid scrapbooking.
In this week’s article I’ll be sharing my tips on this topic so that you can start documenting your memories with good quality supplies. Let’s get started!
1. Print with the right material
It might be obvious but if you don’t use a photo quality paper, your prints won’t be good either. Every printer has different performance on different type of papers. The paper you’re printing on at a copy center might not create a good result with your home printer.
Buy a branded photo paper, either glossy or matte depending on your preference. My go to photo papers for home printing are HP glossy paper and Epson Matte Presentation paper. But while purchasing paper, you should definitely check what paper weights your printer supports. You can usually find this information in your printer’s user manuals.
When it comes to printer, choose a printer that makes use of ink tanks. Cartridges and ink tanks are two different things and they will cost you differently as well. Cartridge printers are usually cheaper but when you out of cartridge, replacing it becomes costly.
On the other hand, printers with ink tanks are a bit pricey but once you fill the ink tanks they usually go about a year or more depending on how often you use it. And refilling ink tanks is a lot cheaper than buying cartridges. The printer I use is Epson L130 (Edit: I replaced this printer with Epson L3070 a few months later after I wrote this article due to printhead damage. That’s the thing with Epson printers. If you don’t use it at least once a week, especially if the weather is hot, ink dries in the printhead and causes damage). It came with four bottle of inks (CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) and I was able to use those inks for more than a year.
Also consider which paper size you’ll print when you decide to invest on a printer. Do yo want to print 12×12 inch paper or do you want to use heavy papers like a card stock? For example, my printer can only print as big as A4 paper and it can’t print any paper heavier than 200gr. Which is okay for me but if you have different preferences, think about those before you invest.
3. Print with the right settings
Having good paper + printer is a good start but not enough to have great results. When you hit print button, your printer will print the design with the default settings. And that’s not enough for archive quality supplies.
When you print with default settings you’ll realize that the colors are not as rich as you see them on the monitor or maybe even that’s not the same color at all! Let’s address those issues, shall we?
Considering you’re a digital or hybrid scrapbooker, there is a good chance you have access to Photoshop or Illustrator. And printing right from those software is my go to.
If you’re using Photoshop, before hitting the print button go ahead and covert your document to CMYK. To do this go to Image > Mode > CMYK. This will give you accurate colors on the print.
If you’re printing from Illustrator, unless you change the default document settings, your document already in CMYK mode. So there is no need for changing the color mode. To check the color mode in Illustrator, go to File > Document Color Mode
Once you’re on the right color mode, go to File > Print. And before we take a look at Photoshop/Illustrator print settings there is another important thing we should do: choosing printer settings! Go ahead and choose your printer from the “Printer” box. And then click on “Print Settings” button in Photoshop or “Setup” button on Illustrator.
In this window we’ll be choosing;
- the paper size we’re printing,
- paper type (whether it’s glossy, matte, photocopy paper etc.),
- and most importantly, the print quality which I set to high. For glossy paper you’ll see there is even higher options. Choose the highest option for your paper type.
An important thing about this dialogue box is that for each print document this box will reset to default. So make sure for every page you’re printing make the necessary changes here. Then click okay to continue.
On to software print settings! For Photoshop, I’ll let printer to manage the colors and it’ll be normal printing.
When you scroll down in this menu, you’ll see the position and size controls. I’ll choose position setting as “Center”, unchecked the option of “Scale to fit media” and hit print button.
In Illustrator, you’ll see that Illustrator have a paper size which you should set to your paper size again. From scaling, choose “Do not scale”. You can access to print settings in Illustrator from the “Setup” button.
From the left hand menu go to “Advanced” section and make sure “High resolution” is selected. Before hit print you may save the Illustrator settings as a preset by clicking the icon next to “Print Preset”. But be aware that it won’t save the printer setup. Now hit print.
Note: Be patient
Because we choose the high quality print, it’ll take a while to print. Be patient untill your printer is done printing. Once it’s done, let the paper sit and let the ink dry for a while.
Don’t start cutting the paper right away. Especially if you’re using a trimmer, you’ll smear the ink before it has a chance to dry completely. This is especially important for matte papers. It’ll take one minute or so for a matte paper to dry.
And if you see some wrinkles on the matte paper, don’t worry. It’ll flatten out once it’s dry.
3. Maintenance is the key
Like any electronic device, your printer also needs some care now and then. If you didn’t use your printer for a long time, before you print on the good paper, try testing your print on a photocopy paper.
If the print result is bad, do some maintenance work. Run a nozzle check. What this does is that it prints a lined pattern to show you if there is any issue with the printing process.
To access the printer utilities follow this path from Photoshop or Illustrator;
Photoshop File > Print > Print Settings > Utility
Illustrator File > Print > Setup > Choose your device > Preferences > Utility
Both the colored and black lines should be complete. If you see empty spaces, broken lines, try cleaning the head and then re-print the nozzle check.
After head cleaning you might need to wait for 12-24 hours before you see any improvement in the print quality. Don’t clean the head several times since this will eventually damage the print head and it will fill up the ink pads.
After waiting for 12-24 hours, print another nozzle check. Then repeat head cleaning if necessary.
Once all of your lines are crisp and complete, print the actual designs.
And that’s all for printing good scrapbook supplies at home!
If you want to dive more into printing at home, I recommend you to read “Viewing digital scrapbook files at actual print size in Photoshop & Illustrator” article next so that you see the exact size of what you’re printing. Hence, avoid printing multiple times!
Once you have a chance to read the article, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below.
What’s your printing process look like and what paper/printer combination you use to print digital scrapbook designs.