Why isn’t everyone doing this? Seriously. Most people have access to a printer. Most people have access to a home. Everybody has a bottomless list of opportunities to send greetings cards! Printing your own greeting cards at home seems like the most obvious thing in the world but, as with all obvious things, there are pitfalls to be wary of.
Already some of you might be backing away – are you the type to send a greetings card, least of all a home-printed one? Of course you are! Who wants to miss out on some serious Brownie Points – not to mention the Feel Good Factor and the extra money in your pocket?
So, still reading? A quick word of warning: with an automated reminder and the capacity to print beautiful, home-made designs from the comfort of your own home you might find you soon start to look for more and more excuses to send cards.
Starting from today, you can bet your bottom dollar that as a loving friend and family member you can pretty swiftly draw up a list as long as your arm of the Greeting Cards you already want to dispatch: your Mum’s birthday, your partner’s birthday, your children’s birthdays, your anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day… you see how easy it is! We haven’t even started on Announcements, Post-Cards, Invitations….
The key to printing your own cards at home is just a little preparation. Anyone can have a fight with a printer and produce a disappointing smudge-fest, but to make something truly creative and original it’s worth putting in the time ahead of schedule. Imagine it’s like you’re preparing a special meal: you need to start with making sure you have all the right ingredients.
- First, sort your design. It’s a bit of an expense upfront but buying PhotoShop will add no end of benefits to your Home Card Printing Enterprise. We’ve already established that you’re going to be doing this a lot so an investment up front will really pay dividends as you tick each lucky card recipient off your list. A slightly cheaper option is Photoshop Elements, which will still give you a good degree of control over layout size, photo and text placement as well as colour management.
- Whilst you’re focusing on the set-up, take time to make sure your computer and your printer are speaking the same language. You don’t need Photoshop to do this – just nip over to your Printer Properties and Create a Custom Paper Size. In some models, this is known as User Defined dimensions but in either case you’ll find dimensions on a drop-down menu which will suit the cards you have in mind. Don’t forget to click Landscape or Portrait too!
- Next, take a sheet of card. Is it the right sort of card? Some inkjet printable card stock is not suitable for printing photos, least of all on both sides. You’ll need to have decided ahead of time whether you want to print on the inside as well as the outside of your card and then make sure you choose the right stock to suit. Whilst sourcing your card, don’t forget to pay equal attention to getting the right sized envelope.
- Now prepare your printer. A good cook relies on good kitchen implements and your cards will only be top notch if you keep your knives sharp, so to speak. If you’re not sure how, look up any one of the scores of online tutorials that will talk you through how to clean your feed rollers. When everything is pristine and ready, it’s time to load your card into the feed tray…. carefully! Most printers won’t be able to cope with consistently feeding a huge stack of card through the machine so consider standing by and feeding the card yourself or at least only running small batches of 5-10 sheets at a time. Think of yourself as a sous chef, helping the 5 Star Michelin printer at work as it sweats over the delicate alchemy of fine cuisine.
- When you’ve done everything you can to anticipate success, press print. There are always going to be errors so stay calm and trouble-shoot one at a time. To save on ink and frustration, it’s worth printing the inside of your card first as there will be probably be more smudgeable photos printed on the outside of your cards. When you do come to print the outside, make sure the photo comes out the printer first. This is the true mark of a professional, anticipating ‘head strikes’ in the printer which can lead to black smudges on the edge of thick media. You’re a pro already!
Assuming you are now geared up for success, it’s time to print off a Congratulations Card and mail it to yourself. Now you’ll know how good it feels to hear the swish of the letterbox and the flop of a genuine, personalised work of art landing on the doormat. You’re going to make a lot of people happy.
If you are looking for ink and toner supplies, do visit our one stop shop Clickinks!