If there’s one electronic item that I absolutely love, it’s my printer. Printers can make many projects cheaper and a lot more convenient! I take advantage of printables all the time for both important utilizations and not-so-important utilizations, and today I wanted to make a list to give you ideas for how to use printables, too.
1. Greeting Cards
Greeting card printables are the epitome of convenience. If you print off cards at home, you don’t have to run to the store only to find a card that kind of fits the occasion and the personality of the recipient!
You can find both paid and free greeting card printables online, or you can design your own in Photoshop. Some of my favorite printable greeting card freebies on the TPK website include:
- Vintage Typography Printable Father’s Day Card
- Watercolor Hot Air Balloon Birthday Card
- Hand-Lettered Printable Birthday Card
I try to send a letter to my little nieces (ages 3 and 5) at least once a month. To keep them entertained while their mom reads the words to them, I always print out a fun graphic for them to look at. Then, I write around the graphic.
So, where do I get my graphics? Mostly, if I draw or paint something that I like, I scan it for later use. For example, the henna cat pictured above is something that I created in 2014. The scan lives on my computer hard drive, and I print it out on occasion for use on letters, mail art, or cards. If you draw something you like, I encourage you to do the same! Make an electronic version and take advantage of it for all sorts of projects!
3. Mail Art
One of the points of creating mail art is to take things slow and get to enjoy the creative endeavor. However, sometimes you just want to send a beautiful envelope, and you don’t have the time to create an intricate illustration on it. In those instances, I decoupage a printable on some part of the envelope!
The key to decoupaging on mail art is to remember to securely glue down your graphic. Use a reliable glue stick (I like UHU), or brush glue on the back of the graphic. (If there’s a loose edge, the machines at the post office will at least partially rip the printable off of the envelope.)
4. Collage in a Bullet/Art Journal
You can use printables as an easy way to enhance a bullet journal or art/sketchbook journal! Try gluing a printable or two in a strategic spot to enhance the message of the page.
5. Wrapping Paper
If I have a small-ish gift to wrap, like a chocolate bar, I love using the envelope liner patterns from The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource! All of the patterns are hand-illustrated, so they make for amazing wrapping paper. I love how the spoon + fork pattern transforms this gift into a real treat!
6. Artwork for Home Display
If you were to come to my house, you’d spot printables all over the place! Mostly, I love to frame printable illustrations and display them in spots that benefit from a touch of artwork.
If you thoughtfully frame a printable, no one will ever know that it is — indeed — a printable. You can follow the steps in the How to Frame Artwork on the Cheap tutorial to make a professional-looking presentation!
7. Calligraphy Practice
Printables are amazing for practicing your calligraphy with! All of the TPK Learn Calligraphy worksheets are printables. If I’m not feeling “warmed up” to create some calligraphy for the day, I usually print off a page of drills and play with doing those for a few minutes. That always gears me up with a steady hand and good focus!
If you plan on printing calligraphy worksheets off, make sure you have 32# laserjet paper. Even though the paper was intended for laserjet printers, it works great with inkjets like mine!
Tips for the Best Printing at Home Results
I haven’t owned many printers, so I don’t feel qualified to tell you what’s best. It’s always good to read reviews before you decide which printer will work for you! I can say, however, that I own an HP OfficeJet 4650, and I’ve been very happy with it. Printers themselves are usually very cheap. What gets you is the ink! There are many generic inks available on websites like Amazon, but if you really want vivid, high-quality prints, you’ve got to use genuine inks. I used to use generic ink all the time in my Epson printer, and I’m convinced that doing so resulted in low printing quality and, eventually, the demise of the printer itself.
Paper also makes a difference. I love printing general, everyday items on 32# laserjet paper. For cards and artwork, I usually use 100# cardstock or printer-friendly watercolor paper. As far as paper goes, you really just have to experiment with what works for you and your printer. Some printers will balk at printing on heavier paper weights, while others handle it without any incident.
So — there you have it! Seven ways that you can use a printables to add a bit more color and creativity to life. Do you have any additional tips for using printables? Also, do you have a printer that you love (or don’t love)? I’d love to hear your input in the comments!
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy your weekend!