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A Step By Step Guide For Printing Your Downloadable Art

woman using a home printer to print downloadable art

How To Turn Your Printables Into Stunning Wall Décor From Home

If you've found your way to this article from one of my printable PDF's, thank you for choosing one of my downloadable art prints.

Maybe you're still considering buying printable art but a bit unsure on what is needed & how to print it effectively.

Perhaps you've stumbled across this article because you're searching for some tips before hitting the "print" button.

Either way, you're in the right place & let me share some tips on how to print & get the most out of your printable art.

Tips, ideas & some friendly advice to get the most from your downloadable wall art & printables.

Downloading Your Printable File

download button on computer keyboard

Downloading your art print file is simple enough & most online stores will have some information included in their product listing.

Generally the file types are saved in a ZIP file.

Once the file has downloaded, just right click & choose "extract all".

Majority of art files will be in a PDF, jpegs or both & some graphic & text based art can also be in a PNG format.

Printing from the PDF is a simple case of opening the document, choosing which pages you want to produce & hit "print".

Jpeg files can be opened in any photo viewing software or application & printed out.

PNG ( portable network graphic ) files can be used for more graphic based & clipart style printables & the same process of opening the file in an image viewer to print the image applies.

Is Your Printer Up To The Job?

Not all printers are created equal, so you need to consider the type & quality of home printer you have.

There's 2 types of home printers, laser & inkjet.

Laser Printer

a home laser printer

These printers work like a photocopier by producing a laser beam to create images on a rotating drum.

The drum is coated with a photosensitive material that changes its electrical charge when exposed to light.

The laser beam scans the drum & creates a pattern of charged & uncharged areas that correspond to the image to be printed.

A toner cartridge contains fine powder that sticks to the charged areas on the drum.

The drum then transfers the toner to a sheet of paper that is fed through the printer.

A fuser unit heats up the paper & melts the toner onto it, creating a permanent print.

Inkjet Printers

a home inkjet printer

As the name suggests, these printers work by producing text & images on paper using tiny droplets of ink that are stored in replaceable cartridges .

The printer has a print head that moves back & forth across the paper, spraying ink according to the instructions from the computer.

The print head has hundreds of tiny nozzles that can create different colours by mixing different ink types.

Which Printer Delivers The Best Results?

Each printer has it's own strengths & weakness's, or advantages & disadvantages depending on the intended use & desired outcome.

Laser Printers

Being similar to photocopiers, laser printers are best for higher volume print runs & work out cheaper per page printed.

They do produce sharp images & text, but are generally better suited for graphics & documents.

Laser printers use heat & pressure to fuse toner onto the paper, so you'll need to avoid paper that is too thick, glossy or textured, otherwise you may end up with paper jams, poor print quality or damage to your printer.

Some types of paper stock that are suitable for laser printers are:

Matte paper: This is a smooth & non-glossy paper that can produce sharp & clear prints.

It's good for printing text documents, flyers, brochures & newsletters.

Matte paper generally ranges in thickness from 90 to 170 GSM.

Cardstock: This is a thick & sturdy paper that can be used for printing invitations, greeting cards, business cards & postcards.

Cardstock can range from 130 to 200 GSM, however as mentioned, not all laser printers can handle cardstock, so you'll need to check your printer specifications before using it.

Laser photo paper: This is a special type of paper that is coated with a glossy or satin finish that can enhance the colours & contrast of your photos & images.

Laser photo paper can range from 120 to 280 GSM but is more expensive & less common than inkjet photo paper, so you may have difficulty finding it.

Inkjet Printers

Laser printers can be great if you're producing other types of wall art such as quotation art, graphics & other printables.

But because you want to create beautiful & stunning wall art from photos & images, an inkjet printer is going to be the optimal choice.

All professional photographers that produce their own prints use inkjet printers.

Admittedly, they can be expensive & much larger than a standard home inkjet printer, but the home printer can still produce fantastic results.

Inkjet printers work by laying down tiny dots of ink instead of using a heat fusing method, this means quality photographic & other specialty papers can be used.

There's quite a wide variety of photographic paper available that produces different results, from textured & linen to archival papers, which I'll cover in the chapter on papers further on in this article.

Most inkjet printers can handle up to 300GSM card as well, so you're not just limited to paper stock.

You can experiment with various textured card stock to create your desired affect as well.

Laser printers can have issues with colour accuracy & contrast, whereas inkjet printers produce more vibrant & accurate colours.

The Verdict

If you're going to print your downloadable art from home, then a quality inkjet printer will be the best choice.

Printing at home will limit you to using standard paper sizes, usually A4 & larger printers can print to A3.

A3 inkjet printers can vary in price from an affordable $300 to $500 up to $1500 or so.

The type & quality of printer you use will depend on your personal needs.

The great thing about downloadable art is that it's so affordable.

Do you change your wall décor regularly? Do you purchase printable art often as you enjoy swapping out the décor on your walls & changing things up?

Then it can be worth the extra outlay for a top quality printer.

If you only buy downloadable art here & there & keep the prints for many years but still want high quality, then it may be worth considering using an actual printing service.

Print Settings For Optimal Quality

a man adjusting settings on his home printer

Printers will vary, but whether you have a laser or inkjet, the print settings are all fairly straight forward.

You just need to choose the appropriate paper size from the drop down menu to match the image ratio.

If you want, you can also choose to fit the image to the page or create a border.