ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PRINTING PRINTABLES

Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have a huge passion for designing printables. They can quickly and easily decorate your home and organize your busy life.

But you may be hesitant about printables because you aren't sure what they really are or what exactly you do with them after you download the files.

In order for you to get the most out of printables, I thought I’d create an ultimate guide to printing printables. I will go over what printables are and how to print them including some paper suggestions and troubleshooting issues.

*Please note:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means we will make a small commission should you click the links and make a purchase. Please see our full disclosure policy here.


Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

WHAT IS A PRINTABLE?
Printables (sometimes referred to as digital downloads or instant downloads) are graphic designs that can be downloaded and saved onto your computer (commonly JPEG, PNG, or PDF format) and printed for you to use (either by yourself or printed by a local/online print shop).

There are many different types of printables including wall art, party printables, worksheets, checklists, calendars, planners, quotes, greeting cards, and much, much more!

My most popular printables on the blog include dice math games & activity printables, free Christmas wall art printables, this kid's chore chart, and this spring printable!

Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

One of my favorite kinds of printables are wall art printables. Updating your home decor with fun, new printable wall art is a cost effective way to get high quality art for your home; seasonal printables are easily interchangeable with the seasons. It’s instant fulfillment - just print and frame!

HOW DO I PRINT PRINTABLES? HOW DOES IT WORK?
After you download the printable, save the file to your desktop/laptop computer (not your mobile device). Files will vary in format: PDF, PNG, or JPEG.

PDF FILES
When printing at home or at a print shop (i.e. Staples, Office Depot...), PDF files are best. You must use Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF files. You can download Acrobat Reader for free here.

PNG FILES
If printing at a photo printer (i.e. Walgreens, London Drugs...), PNG files are the best if the software accepts it - not all software accepts PNG files.

JPEG FILES
This is an option if you don't have either a PDF or PNG file.

ZIP FILES
Some files are very large and have been compressed into a ZIP folder. To unzip a folder, select “Extract All” then follow the instructions to save on your computer.

When you are ready to print, you have three options:

1 | PRINT IT YOURSELF

Depending on the size of the printable, and if you have a printer at home or at your office, you can simply print yourself. For larger size art printables over 8.5” x 11” in size, you will have to send it to a professional printing service. I recommend using a printing service with art printables no matter the size.

TIPS FOR PRINTING
Printer Settings for Printing JPEG Files Printer:
  • Paper Size: Choose 8.5”x11”
  • Quality: High Quality
  • Paper Type: Select the correct paper type to get the best quality print.
  • For art prints: Select 8”x10” in the column & select "Fit picture to frame"
  • For full-size printing at 8.5” x 11” (check lists, chore charts, etc.): Select “Fit picture to frame”
Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

Printer Settings for Printing PDF Files (in Adobe Acrobat)
  • Click the printer icon to bring up the printing menu
  • Check the box “Shrink oversized pages” then click Properties
  • Select paper type and quality (same settings as JPEG as above)
  • Click Ok then Print
Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs


Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

What paper should I use?
The type of paper you choose to print on depends on the type of printable you are printing and your personal preference, of course.
  • Regular weight printer paper: Planner pages, checklists, household binder printables, etc.

  • White cardstockAnything that needs to be sturdy (greeting cards, party decorations, etc.) or anything that will be laminated (chore charts, cleaning schedule, etc.) should be printed on cardstock. I often use the Recollections brand cardstock sold at Michaels. It is 65lb cardstock, plain white, and has a smooth finish.

  • Ultra premium white presentation matte paperThis paper will give you the best results for art printables.

  • Heavyweight matte photo paperI rarely use photo paper for my printables unless I'm printing invitations that include pictures.

  • Printable sticker paperTurn any printable into a sticker by printing on uncut sticker paper.
Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

For my Goal Planning printables, I just used regular weight printer paper and printed them on my home printer.

Test out the different settings on your computer and printer as well as different types of paper and see what you like best.

TROUBLESHOOTING
  • Choose high print quality
  • Replace ink cartridges & use the genuine ink cartridges - colors become lighter and less vibrant the closer the ink cartridges are to becoming empty
  • Do a printer clean and printer head alignment - especially if you start to get streaks or lines across the page
  • Change paper type and weight - some printers cannot print on a heavyweight cardstock
  • Print at 100% scale

Why does the color look different compared to the computer when I print it out?
It is important to note that the actual print colors may differ slightly due to monitor/printer settings. Also, print quality may vary due to the quality of paper, ink, and printer settings used.

If the colors look very different once printed:
  • Check printer settings to adjust the intensity and check ink cartridge levels
  • Tell your printer what paper to print on (see instructions above)
  • Disable auto color correction in your print settings
  • Try upgrading to matte photo paper

What if you want to print larger prints?
Large art prints can make a big impact on your home decor, and this is a good opportunity to scale up the artwork to a size you wouldn’t be able to print at home. Ellabella Designs Shop sells printables up to 16”x20” in size. Even if you do have a printer, this may actually be a better option and more economical in the long run since large, colorful images on a colored background use a lot of ink.

2 | LOCAL PRINT SHOP OR OFFICE SUPPLY STORE

You can use a local print shop or office supply store and take the file on a USB flash drive. For the quickest results, I upload the printable files from my computer directly to the store website. This saves a lot of time when picking up.

Some local print shops in your area may include:
  • Office Max
  • Kinkos
  • Staples (staplescopyandprint.ca in Canada)
If the size of your printable isn’t available, choose the next size up and have them trim it for you. Be sure to review your prints when picking up your order. Should there be any issues, the staff should be happy to reprint your order for you.

I printed both of these printables (uncut) at Staples on bright white, 100lb cardstock, and they came out beautifully! The 8.5"x11" print was only CAD 69¢ and the 11"x17" was only CAD $1.39. And they were ready in less than an hour from ordering online!

Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs


3 | PRINT & SHIP WEBSITES

If you don’t live near an office supply store, there are many online printing services that offer quick, high quality prints of your printable shipped directly to you. You can upload your image to their website and they will print and ship out your order.

Where to print printables online:
  • Shutterfly
  • Mixbook
  • FedEx
  • Snapfish
  • Persnickety Prints
  • Vistaprint
  • BlacksGallery.ca
Tip: Instruct the professional print shop not to color correct the file.

GO-TO ITEMS FOR PRINTING PRINTABLES


WHAT YOU CAN’T DO WITH THE PRINTABLES
It’s important that I talk about copyright. All of my designs (including my free printables) are for personal use only and under no circumstances can they be used for commercial purposes or free distribution. Online and personal sharing of these files is strictly prohibited. Therefore, outside of printing the image for yourself, you are unable to share, copy, resell, or reproduce without the artists written consent.

So there you have it, the ultimate guide to printing printables!

What printables are your favorite? If you have any special requests for printables I’d love to hear about them! I’d be more than happy to add your idea to my printable idea list!

Want free printables? Be sure to sign up below for Ellabella Designs newsletters which will give you access to subscriber-only freebies, updates, and more! I also offer many more printables in the Ellabella Designs Shop!



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Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables | Wall Art & Orgnaizing Printables | Ellabella Designs

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