Since this is the number one question I am asked, I will pass along what I have learned over the past 16 years of experimenting on multiple printers/papers/inks.
- First off, there is no one size fits all. You have to take into consideration your printer, your printer settings, the paper type and the project itself. I work off of a number of different printers, for different reasons. For the best and most consistent results, I use my Epson Photo Stylus inkjet printer with Epson Premium Presentation Matte Paper. I tend to like photo printers. I also like photo paper and it is available in matte, luster and glossy. Many people assume “glossy” when they hear photo paper, but there are other options.
- I find that it is best to use paper from the manufacturer of the printer you are using, especially when printing photos or need the colors to print accurately. However, my HP Photosmart printer was my go to printer when working with ink jet canvas/fabrics, iron on transfer and inkjet watercolor paper from a variety of manufacturers.
- Prefer to work with cardstock? The number one printing problem comes from customers who are trying to print onto scrapbook cardstock. I LOVE cardstock because it is heavyweight and looks beautiful, but it can be a printing nightmare because it is porous and can have a coating. Look for inkjet or laser friendly cardstock/cover paper. Make sure to adjust the printer settings. My latest favorite paper- metallic cover papers. I have found them at Staples and through Jam Papers. I generally use a white pearl version, but I have also used the ivory and gray metallic papers. I use them for gift tags, invitations and my printable doilies. Every year, I find more and more printer friendly cardstock and will keep you posted through my newsletters.
- The most overlooked component of printing at home tends to come with the printer settings. Make sure to adjust the printer settings on our printer. These will vary based on the manufacturer. The majority of the time I use “BORDERLESS PRINTING” and “BEST PHOTO” , even if I am not printing a photo (I find is best to treat any printable image as a photo). These settings are generally under the advanced settings option. Make sure to choose the correct “PAPER TYPE” setting. When you are working with specialty papers, from Avery, etc., they enclose printer instructions which tell you which paper settings to use.
- Should I use generic ink or ink from my printer’s manufacturer? If I am printing a project that requires perfect color and the photos are the main focus, then I use the manufacturer’s ink. If there can be more give on the color, then I use generic ink. Most of the time I use generic ink and adjust my printer settings and paper selections.
- When you find a combination that works for you, keep that paper in stock AND write down the printer settings that you found successful (write it directly on the box). This way, if months pass between printing projects, you will not have to rely on your memory or start over from scratch! Since I like to order online, I always like to keep my favorite papers in stock.
- On a final note, I recommend taking into consideration whether it is cost effective to print your project from home, or cheaper to send out your project. I print my gift tags, paper party décor and cards from home. I have found that it is much more cost effective to have all my 12×12 scrapbook pages printed by PersnickityPrints.com and my 4×6 photos and posters printed by Costco.