Tips for Printing Invitations at Home

Category: Stationery DIY and How Tos | Published on: January 5, 2016

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2013, but it’s been updated with awesome new tips and helpful links!

So you're thinking about printing your invitations (or programs, or menus, or escort cards, or anything) on your home printer. Printing yourself is a trend that's been growing in popularity as desktop publishing and photo printers have become more widely available. Many DIY'ers print at home because:

  • It is sometimes the cheapest option. Getting your invitations printed at a print shop can cost $2 per invite or more. You could be out $6 per invitation if you're ordering them already professionally printed. *However, if your printer uses lots of ink, it can actually be more cost-effective to get them professionally printed.*
  • When you control the printer, you can be flexible. You'll save time running back and forth to the print shop, and you can print whenever you have the time.
  • If you're short on time, it's fastest. There's no wait for a package to be mailed, and print shops may take a few days to prep your order.

pin-printinginviteshome

Of course, there's a lot of work involved. Most of the cost that you're saving is a tradeoff for the time and expertise of a print shop. Some things to remember about DIY printing:

  • Don't forget to factor in the cost of your paper, ink, and time when deciding to print at home.
  • Unless you have a photo-quality printer, you may not be happy with the look of your invitations.
  • Home printers are limited. Most can't print to the edge of the paper (borderless printing). If you want a more unique look, like white ink on color paper, or raised ink, you'll have to get that done professionally. Also, your printer may not be able to handle the type of paper you want to use, such as extra-thick paper, embossed paper, or metallic paper.
  • You'll also need to cut the cards out yourself, so if you don't have a guillotine paper cutter (or you don't have a lot of patience and aren't comfortable with a ruler and an Xacto knife), skip the DIY and have them done at a shop.
Learn to cut out invitations with my instructional video!

Time for printing...

At this point you've weight the options, and decided you're up for the DIY challenge. So where do you start? The process varies depending on your design, but it goes something like this:

Gather supplies.

You'll need your design files, extra ink (black and color), and extra paper for printing. You might also need a guillotine paper cutter, and adhesive or embellishments if you're getting really creative.

Test print.

Print a single page to make sure you're printer's working right and the quality is good. If it isn't, you may want to consider printing elsewhere.

Go for it.

If everything's working, you may have the urge to just click "Print" and walk away. Don't! You'll want to stand guard in case the printer jams or runs out of ink. You don't want to check later to find the printer ruined all but three invites. You may also want to manually feed a few sheets at a time, or just one, to be safe.

Keep printing.

It never hurts to have extra. You'll want to print a few more than you think you'll need. Maybe you cut one wrong, or your parents convince you to send one to their friend's neighbor's house-sitter at the last minute.

Let it dry.

Inkjet ink can smear easily, especially on smooth paper. So before you go admiring your handiwork, set the sheets out to dry for a few minutes. To test if they're ready, lightly run a finger on the corner of the last sheet you printed.

printing-cutting-xacto

Finishing touches

It's time to cut out your invitations. If you need help with this, your next stop should be my blog post on cutting out invitations: here.

As an alternative, you may be able to use a cutter at a print shop if you find you can't cut them yourself.

If you want to give your DIY invites a few special touches, you can add ribbon, stick-on pearls or gems, or glue colored or textured cardstock to the back. Use bold envelopes to add some depth. Get ideas for how to embellish your printed invites from the blog: here.

A last word of advice

You want your invites to turn out perfect, but as with any DIY project, they'll have imperfections that add character. Don't stress over them. No one's going to compare notes, and if they've merited an invitation, they'll probably still love you!

Why did/will you print your invitations at home?
— Ashleigh

See other posts about: Stationery DIY and How Tos, how tos, learned the hard way, print at home, wedding invitations

22 thoughts on Tips for Printing Invitations at Home

  • This post was perfect timing for me as I was deciding whether to print my own invitations for a private event that I’m hosting. After reading this, I decided that I just need to have someone else do it. If I had more time, I would consider printing the invitations myself but your article really helped a novice (me) understand and the different things to consider. Thanks for providing such detailed information. Now I know where to look if I want to do it myself next time. 🙂

  • You’re always so thorough on your explanations on all of the factors involved… it’s so great to think about all of these things before making an informed decision, especially when it’s something as major as planning a wedding. Thank you!

  • Very detailed and helpful post! I also appreciate that you cover all the considerations first. I can imagine applying these learnings to any kind of DIY print job. Thank you for sharing your expertise here and love the imagery as well!

  • Great tips thanks! I’m a graphic designer and could do with printing more work myself. Now to get a printer!!! Mine failed me over a year ago… Any recommendations?

    • I can’t imagine not having a printer! I currently have a Canon iP8720. It has six ink tanks instead of the usual four (a gray ink and a rich black ink are the extras). It can also print envelopes and heavy cardstock (I recently printed on watercolor paper) up to 13 inches wide. I love it!

  • I don’t think I have ever used a professional printer, though for certain things I would probably consider it. Love “… they’ll have imperfections that add character.” I think it is the imperfections that actually make the DIY projects so perfect! Thanks for the great tips!

  • Great tips! The ones you’ve shown here are beautiful. I was lucky enough to have a best friend who went to graphic design school. She created my invitations for me and we printed them off and put them together at her house. It saved a lot of money for me and I got exactly what I wanted.

    • Isn’t it great when things work out? 🙂 If you ever need to do it on your own, I bet you have the experience to do it awesomely!

  • Why will I print invitations at home? Well, I love playing with graphic design and tend to be a DIYer. You make some great points about the cost and time savings having them printed professionally. Great tips! Especially standing guard! How many times have I left the printer to do its job only to find that it failed early on and now I’m in a time crunch!

  • Love your ‘Cheap, fast and flexible’ approach to DIY printing. Agree there is a tradeoff to getting the printing done by a professional printer who has the expertise and can safe you time, but when you are on a budget, doing it yourself is good option. Its just getting the motivation and creating the time to do it. You detail instructions however give me hope that I can print my own flyers for my business with ease under your expert advise. Definitely saves me time on following these instructions than doing my own research on how to do it. Thanks for sharing generously.

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