Home Printer Q & A

printing from home part ii besotted blog

We received a lot of emails wanting more questions answered on the home printing front, we thought it’d be easier to answer them here than individually. If you have more questions let us know and we’ll try to add the answers to this post. Below are some of the most asked questions on home printing:

What home printer can I print heavier cardstock with?

This is not an easy one to answer, most home printers are not made to handle heavier than 120# cardstock. I have had the most success with printers that load paper/cardstock upright in the back, you can feed the cardstock through. When I had my very first Etsy stationery company, I would painstakingly do this one card at a time, it was torture!  Another printer that has a completely different finish (uses wax for the inks) and supposedly can take heavier stock is the Xerox Phaser. The finish is very unique and not for everyone, I liked it even though I prefer a matte finish, it’s definitely worth getting a sample print from the company. I worked with a small invite company that loved hers and used heavier stocks through her Phaser. For extra heavy stock I would suggest paper mounting, but that would be a topic for another post!

What printer can I use to print on fabric?

Again, I would suggest a printer that is loaded upright in the back. There’s so many ways to do this but Karen from the Graphics Fairy has an excellent tutorial!

Even with my screen calibrated my prints come out different, how can I fix this?

If you calibrated and set up the color profiles and still no luck–test print, test print, test print (in smaller versions of your original)! Michelle had addressed this briefly here. When I was trying to match colors for my stationery company I would print various boxes of the color in different tones to see how my printer would print and choose the one closest to my vision (which may have looked completely different on screen). Yes, printing at home has it’s pros (control) but some of the cons can make you pull your hair out (no control).

I want to print on shipping tags or other things that aren’t a standard paper size, how can I do that?

When I want to print on something that is not a typical size I will use artist tape (it doesn’t rip your paper when you remove it) to tape down my item that I intend to print onto a standard letter size paper and then run it through. The BEST tutorial on this is by Catherine of Design Editor and you can find it here, it’s a printing game changer!

Want to print on more atypical items? Here’s a small list:

Print on paper napkins

Print on ribbon

//RESOURCES//

Back loading printers-inexpensive, moderate, expensive (pro)

Xerox Phaser solid ink printer

Artist tape

 

HOME PRINTERS | OUR FAVES

home printer favorites via besotted blog

Printing at home or in your studio has one clear advantage over using a service: control. If you are unhappy with a print, you can make adjustments and reprint it on the spot. Familiarity with your equipment is helpful too. For instance, I know these Epsons print a bit darker than my monitor so I prepare for it in Photoshop by creating a duplicate layer & screening it at 25% opacity. This makes the image too light on screen, but it prints perfectly.

My Epson Artisan 800 is a dinosaur – maybe 6 years old, and even with a broken paper tray, it still prints, and scans like a champ (I don’t make many copies, and never use the fax feature). I have prints from when this printer was new that look as good as the day they were made (the inks are fade resistant up to 98 years!). Super thick card stock doesn’t really work, but I’ve had good luck with heavyweight matte papers. It’s possible this has been corrected in the newer version of this printer, but I can’t speak to that from direct experience. Epson recently replaced the Artisan series with the Expression series, which come in at the same bargain price I paid for my Artisan 6 years ago ($130.00).

Home printer review besotted blog ii

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000, made it’s way into my studio when it became apparent that photography was going to eclipse my love for graphic design by roughly a mile and a half. It feels like such a treat to print the 13” x 19” size. My images with black backgrounds (printed on smooth matte paper), remind me of velvet (but not in an Elvis on black velvet sort of way). Tristan wanted to know where I had them printed, and was floored when I told her I printed them myself! The archival inks are fade resistant up to 118 years for color, and 300 years for black, just be sure to use archival paper to secure those results. For peace of mind, I always add another layer of protection with a couple of coats of Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to keep prints looking new for as long as possible.

For any new home printer purchase, you’ll want to check your monitor calibration. I won’t get into detail, since it’s one of those things where cost and time investment can vary widely depending on your needs. I did find this friendly tutorial for calibrating a mac that some of you may find helpful. The other thing you’ll want to be aware of is the ICC color profile information for your printer. ICC color profiles will help Photoshop and your new printer speak the same color language. Here is a video from Epson explaining which settings to use in the Photoshop print area for the R3000. Tip: Make mini test prints to conserve ink and paper: full size is for when you get all of the workflow kinks worked out!

If you have a home printer that you use for photos and love, let us know! I’ve had Epson printers for so long, I’m not very familiar with the other options.

//Resources //

The Finer : Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Priced around $750.00 but right now there’s a $200 mail-in rebate & free shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

The Find : Epson Expression Premium XP-820 ($129.99)

Screen Calibration Equipment:

ColorMunki (this is the entry level version) Spyder4elite

Photoshop + Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle now only $9.99 a month!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

VICINITY STUDIO | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

THE BEST SOFT COVER PHOTO BOOKS | ARTIFACT UPRISING

photo book review via besottedblog ii

How many photos do you have on your computer or phone? What’s that? Too many to count? For me it was so many that I couldn’t even take another photo with my Iphone without deleting, the problem for me is I don’t want to delete any photos of my girl, not even the blurry ones so there’s that. I am going to be completely honest here, I tried several photo book companies and found something wrong with them all (I guess I’m the Goldilocks of photo book printing). The first time I tried Artifact Uprising I was not happy (insert a collective gasp from the blogosphere). I ordered the 8.5″ x 8.5″ book, the photos I used were from a professional photographer, I chose a layout with nice amounts of white space and I thought I was golden–I wasn’t.  The pros on that first run were that the process was pretty easy, the order came super fast and the packaging and presentation were so tight. When I pulled out my album and flipped through it, my heart sank, the paper seemed thin (I could see through to the other pages), the printing had a sheen to it and it felt like my colors had shifted, I was disappointed, Artifact Uprising had rave reviews from many individuals that I admire and consider to have good taste, I was flummoxed, could the impeccable branding be what people were excited about that they didn’t care about the end product? Maybe it was my choice of layout? Whatever it was, it wasn’t working. I asked around everyone loved them. Maybe it was just me…

A few months later I received an email from Artifact Uprising about their new app that would allow me to design my photo book on my phone (that’s crazy talk!), since my time is limited and my camera roll perpetually full I decided to give it another try but this time I chose the popular 5.5″ x 5.5″ size. Artifact Uprising did not disappoint this time, I LOVE my little 5.5″ x 5.5″ book. The print quality was excellent my colors stayed true, the paper stock seemed thicker, it was a winner! Printing a photo book from your phone could not have been easier and the end product is surprisingly elegant for the effort + price. I am planning to order a slew more ala Jennie Prince! I wanted to show a close-up of the cover so you could see the slight textured detail, it’s a nice touch. The logo on the back is very subtle (another huge plus in my book all the other photo books I ordered had ginormous logos). My book has many double-sided pages and the printing is clear on every page without show through. The best part beside the ease of creating the book is the price, under $20! Another perfect idea for holiday!I don’t know what to chalk up the bad first copy I got to, but the 5.5″ x 5.5″ has more than made up for it, for this Goldilocks, I finally got it ‘just right’.

photobook review iii besotted blog

Let us know if you have any questions, we will go into home printers tomorrow perfect for both photo printing and perhaps some of your newly acquired lettering skills?

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Welcome to Print Week // Printing Gift Cards

printing resources via besotted blog

Welcome to print week! As promised, we are going to give you some ideas on how to get those photos (or lettering, now that you know how to digitize), off of your computer and into your hands. We’ll try to keep it easy and approachable, and we hope you’ll chime in if you have any questions. Keep an eye out for some diy gift ideas along the way, since the holidays are now approaching at lightning speed!

I always like to have a few small gift cards on hand, in case a gift-worthy occasion pops up unexpectedly, or simply to save me from spending way too much time picking out cards, since I have to look at every single card in a shop before choosing one. In fact, I bet most people would like to have a few gift cards handy, so why not consider turning your favorite Instagram photos into gift cards then package a few up to give as gifts themselves? That photo of your sweet pup, adorable kiddo, or the nature scene that made you pull the car over, is much more personal than a card of someone else’s design, and there’s likely a story behind it so it’s already more interesting.

Instagram photos to gift tags via besotted blog photo by michelle p

These gift cards were ordered through the Print Studio app by Social Print Studio. It’s well-integrated with Instagram and a piece of cake to use. Just download the app, select a product (gift cards are called tiny cards), choose the photos you’d like to print (and how many of each), then place your order. That’s it! My cards arrived in just over a week, but they can take a bit longer than that so make sure to plan ahead if you’d like to use them for holiday.

Tiny cards via besotted blog

As for quality, the card stock is much sturdier than I expected, the kraft envelopes were a pleasant surprise, and the blacks printed beautifully. My lighter photos with pale backgrounds arrived with some grain, but I don’t mind it for such petite cards. Tristan likes that there’s only a small heart logo on the back of the cards instead of tons of text and clutter.

Including tax, the cards ring in at just under $1.00 each. Not bad for a custom printed product on decent card stock. So take a peek at your Instagram stream, could a few of those photos dress up your next thoughtful gift? If you end up printing some let us know, we’d love to see!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

VICINITY STUDIO | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

All Hallow’s Eve:: Cozy Edition

hallows eve cozy edition

There are two very talented women I know that do Halloween like no other, that would be Ms. Stirling and Mrs. Limestone. Me on the other hand, well I have pretty much ignored the great Hallow’s Eve for a couple decades now.  I don’t do scary well, except for a certain zombie show that I am inexplicably addicted to. This year we are doing Halloween lite because there is nothing cuter than a baby in a bear costume; my little with her chocolate ringlets and growl (yes, a growl!) has just about given me a toothache from the sweetness. I know there are tons of ideas for a spooky evening, but Michelle and I decided to find some Hallow’s Eve inspiration for those that prefer cozy to scary.

You will need a mask to enjoy our little soiree, we think this Perfecting Mask is  a bit indulgent but so is the evening, no? Since we are going there, we might as well bring Gwyneth into the mix, her Goop Pumpkin soup recipe looks divine (note, pumpkin is amazing for you, high in vitamin C, fiber, low cal. For us urban dwellers a fireplace is not the norm, this Hearth candle might make up for the absence of one. It wouldn’t be Halloween without some treats, the Fika NYC chocolate skulls look pretty delish. For those that aren’t indulging in zombie shows (I don’t blame you, I am terrified the entire time I watch it), It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is more my usual speed. What about you? Big plans? Dressing up? I’m not this year but I think next year we’ll make it a family affair. I’m currently trying to stay away from the giant jack-o-lantern filled with bad (but oh, so good) candy that is downstairs calling my name…

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