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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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