How to get the most out of your printables

Printables are great as you buy them from your couch and then print them at home. You can get the printed professionally but you can still get beautiful results from using your own printer. Here are some tips on how to get the best out of your printables.

Birthday tracker printable
Printables are designed to be both beautiful and practical.

You don't need a brand new printer to get good results. Ink jet printers often give the best quality but that isn't a necessity. If you are looking to get a new printer, then speak to an expert and look at reviews online. Ink tank options are now helping to reduce the cost of ink so there are many options to look in to.The most important part though is using the right settings.

Depending on what program you're printing from how the settings look will vary but the premise is the same. It it worth having a play with the settings on your printer and seeing what works best for that model and for what you're after.

Settings to think about are:

  • Paper sizing: printables often have a white border to allow printers that don't print borderless to not lose any image. If you have a printer that prints borderless then you could select an option of fit so the whole page is filled. Also ensure that the paper is set to the size you're printing on (most likely A4 or A5).
  • Borders: as above, depending on your printer you can print borderless or not. Make sure the sizing fits the option you choose.
  • Quality: for best quality and clarity I would recommend a photo printing option. If you want to save ink then there is an option for that as well.
  • Paper type: there are many different options to choose from. I'll go into more detail below but choose the paper type that matches what you're using.
Adobe Acrobat printing settings
Adobe Acrobat printing settings
Advanced printer settings
Advanced printer settings

Paper Type
If you've ever headed to the paper section in a stationary shop like Officeworks it can be overwhelming. GSM refers to the thickness of the paper. The higher the GSM the thicker the paper. I like to use a thick paper like a 200 plus GSM. It is a bit more hardy and feels nice. Gloss papers are shiny and bring out the colours best. Matte is smooth and without the gloss. Silk is a combination of both. Generally, matte and silk papers are easier to write on so your paper choice will depend on what the printable is.

Undated calendar printed professionally
Undated calendar printed professionally

Cutting your Printable
There are a few ways of cutting your printable. You can use scissors, a craft/stanley knife or a paper cutter. A paper cutter can be inexpensive and might be worth investing in if you're going to be doing a lot of cutting. When using a craft knife, a proper cutting board helps to make smooth cuts.

5 to an A4 page printable bookmarks
Bookmarks come 5 to an A4 page. They need to be cut before used.

If you do decide to get them printed professionally, then many of these decisions are made for you by the professional. All you would need to do is give them the file, and let them know the size and paper type you want.

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