learn the ins and outs of
You find many printables throughout our site. You can, for example, safe baking or cooking recipes to either print the instructions or to read them later on your device. Or you might print out one of our inspiring quotes and hang it in your office to keep you motivated for the week. We also share plenty of pretty printable labels and DIY gift boxes, which are perfect for any gift giving project. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of printing printables to give you everything you need to achieve perfect results. You’ll learn tips for:
- choosing between a home printer or print shop
- printing printables at home
- troubleshooting home printers
- printing printables at a copy shop
- choosing the right paper quality and format
- what cutting tools, adhesives and pencils are best
- how to open and display printables on different devices
This article goes in depth, and we have a lot to cover. Ready to print? Then let’s go!
01 Should I print at home or in a copy shop?
“Should I go to a professional print shop or am I better off printing at home?” There is no right or wrong answer to this question because both options have their pros and cons. The availability of either a home printer or a print shop, the quality of a home printer and the number of copies you need can all play a role in choosing whether you prefer to print at home or in a shop. If you only need a small number of printables, printing at home is the easiest and most comfortable solution, especially when you need a last minute print. If on the other hand, you need many copies, it can be more cost effective to visit a local print shop or use an online print service. Not only do they have a greater selection of paper, but their printers can also often produce better and more saturated results than home printers. Professional printers sometimes offer extras such as laminating.
02 Printing printables at home
If you have a colour printer, you can print the printables yourself. For best results, follow our tips for printing at home. Please keep in mind that we can only give general recommendations since every printer works a little differently. You may have to do a few test runs before the prints come out perfectly.
Read the printer’s user manual
You will find detailed information in the user manual for your printer. It’s worth checking what kind of paper is recommended and what setting you should enter to achieve high-quality results.
Before getting into full printing mode, make sure that enough ink is in the cartridges, so you don’t run out of ink when printing.
Choose the right paper quality and format
Paper quality: We recommend printing the printables in this eBook on heavyweight paper, such as cardstock or high-quality photo paper instead of regular text weight paper. You can also use self-adhesive paper for stickers, labels and bottle wrappers. Before buying paper, check what type of paper is recommended for your printer by the manufacturer.
Paper format: All printables in this eBook can be printed on DIN A4 (21.0 cm x 29.7 cm) or US letter size paper (8.5 in x 11 in). US letter size paper is common in the USA, Canada and Mexico while DIN A4 paper is used in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most other countries.
Choose the right settings
Most printers can print at different quality levels. For best results, adjust the print settings to print at maximum quality. You can access the settings in the print dialogue box. You can also select the type of paper you want to print on. Also, make sure to choose the correct orientation: portrait is for vertical printables, landscape for horizontal ones.
Tip: Some printers have a preset to automatically correct colours. Usually, it’s best to turn off this feature or do a test print with and without auto-correction to see which option displays the colours better.
Before printing large quantities, always do a test print of one page first to see if the quality of the print is fine. You may not get the print settings right on the first try, or you find that different settings create better results.
Print at 100%
If a printer thinks a printable is too large to fit on a page, it sometimes will try to shrink it, and the print comes out smaller. If an image or printable is small, the printer might blow it up, and the result looks blurry and pixilated. You can easily avoid this problem by always choosing the option to print at 100% to keep the true size when selecting the print settings in the print dialogue box. All our printables come in the correct size, so you don’t have to change anything.
Do the math
You only want to print the buntings once but need 12 cupcake wrappers? Not a problem! Most printers allow you to select a specific page and also let you decide how often this page is printed. Instead of printing all printables in one go, it’s better to figure out first how many copies of each page you need and then separately print the different pages. And take into account that sometimes two or more printables are on a single page. For example, if we want to print 12 cupcake wrapper, we have to print the respective page only six times because two wrappers are on each page.
03 Troubleshooting home printers
Sometimes you may run into troubles when printing printables at home, and usually these problems can be easily resolved. We listed some of the most common and what you can do to fix them.
My prints are black and white.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes a print can come out black-and-white instead of colour. This usually happens if we printed in black-and-white before and forgot to reset the printer’s settings or if we accidentally chose the option to print in black-and-white.
The colours of my prints look different than on screen.
There is a complicated technical answer to this question but in a nutshell: The way colour is shown on the screen of a computer or mobile device is completely different from the way colour is displayed in printing. Computer displays function in the RGB [= Red, Green and Blue] colour mode, while printers use the CMYK [= Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black] colour mode. The look of colours varies from screen to screen and from printer to printer which makes it almost impossible to say beforehand how a colour will look in print.
My prints look streaky, or the colour wasn’t applied evenly.
A streaky or uneven colour can indicate that not enough ink is in the cartridges. Make sure there’s enough ink in the cartridges and check if the printer needs to be cleaned. Many printers have the option to auto-clean themselves. We also recommend checking the printer’s user manual to find out what might be wrong and how to fix it.
Adobe offers more troubleshooting tips for printing PDF files.
04 Tips for printing printables at a copy shop
If you only need a small number of printables, printing at home is the easiest and most comfortable solution, especially when you need a last minute print. If, on the other hand, you need many copies, it can be more cost effective to visit a local copy shop. Copy shops not only offer a greater selection of paper, but their printers can also often produce better and more colour-saturated results than home printers. These colour also last longer, and professional printers sometimes offer extras such as laminating.
At times, print shops have to handle large quantities of orders and may not be able to make the time for last-minute jobs. Therefore, it’s advisable to visit the copy shop well ahead of the party. If you need a big volume of printables, it’s best to call the shop beforehand to make an appointment.
To avoid unwelcome surprises, calculate beforehand how many prints you need and ask how much printing will cost. The price per print will often be lower the more sheets are printed. Always specify how many copies of each printable you want.
Paper quality & format
Most professional print shops will know best what paper is suitable for your needs. You should always ask for heavyweight paper or card stock since it is sturdier and better suited for printables. All printables from Country Hill Cottage can be printed on DIN A4 (21.0 cm x 29.7 cm) or US letter size paper (8.5 in x 11 in).
Just as with printing at home, ask that the printables are printed at 100%.
Usually, professional printers have different printing options, and so it is a good idea to do a test print to see if the quality is good and the colours are displayed correctly.
Although copy shops offer a wide variety of different papers, you sometimes have to bring your own paper, especially if you want to print on self-adhesive paper or transparent paper. If you are unsure, call the print shop and let them advise you.
Some print shops offer laminating, which makes printables even sturdier and can prevent creases or smudging.
05 Useful tools for cutting and assembling printables
Now that you know all about printing printables, let’s have a look at a few tools that are useful when cutting and assembling prints. We go over different cutting tools and adhesives and talk about which pencils are best for writing on printables. You have different options when it comes to choosing the right tools, and you can pick the ones you like the most.
– Good-quality crafting scissors are ideal for cutting clean edges, and they work well with all printables.
– A Xacto knife or other scalpel-style cutter can be used as well. Use a ruler for straight edges and always work on a cutting mat to protect the work surface.
– A paper trimmer is useful for easily cutting straight edges (e.g. the rectangular-shaped bottle labels).
– A comfortable way to cut small circles (e.g. the cupcake toppers), is to use craft hole punches, which are offered in various sizes. A small hole punch comes in handy to make small holes for example in gift or favour tags.
Kids should cut out printables only under parental supervision.
To assemble the printables, use fluid multi-purpose glue (for example from Elmers), a glue stick (for example from Pritt) or double-sided tape (for example from Scotch). Sticker paper (for example from Avery) is perfect for prints that you wish to utilise as labels or straw flags. Sometimes you may also need a hot glue gun. Hot glue guns should only be operated by adults.
If you print on photo paper, it may be difficult to write on with regular ink pens or pencils. We recommend using gel pens or permanent markers (for example Sharpies).
06 Open printables on different devices
PC, Mac and laptops
The file format of our printables is PDF, which is ideal for prints. To read and print this eBook, Adobe Acrobat (Version X or higher) must be installed on your PC, Mac or laptop. You can download the Adobe reader for free at the Adobe website.
Tip: Uncheck any optional offers if you don’t want to download them.
Most mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets come with a native, built-in PDF viewer to open and read PDF documents. Alternatively, you can download one of the following two apps to read the eBook on a mobile device:
- Adobe Reader
- Bluefire Reader
Both apps are free and can be found in the iTunes App Store (iOS devices) or Google Play Store (Android devices). Apple’s free iBook app also works well on iOS devices.