Thanks to Pinterest, Etsy, and the blogosphere, printable art has become readily available both for sale and for free. Printable products range from wall art, to calendars, to cards, and to party favors. In just a few clicks, you can search, download, and print worksheets, paper dolls, and party invites. Numerous options exist for turning those digital files into physical items. Which one should you go with? What do you do with printable art? Why bother with printable art at all?
Why Use Printable Art
Printables are convenient and economical tools for the home. Many of the tools to help you stay organized can be found for free. Designer printables can be found through online venues, such as Etsy. For example, I have designer planner packs available in my shop. Without having to haul the kids out to the store, you can create cards, meal planners, and calendars. After downloading, you'll have the files on hand for printing again and again.
Printable art is a great way to stretch the gift portion of your budget. Consider creating a meal planning binder with recipes for a bridal shower. For Mothers Day, consider framed printable art, or other creative options listed below. Some options can even be personalized for your loved ones.
How to Print Your Artwork at Home
The options are limitless when it comes to making the most of your digital art files. If you have downloaded or purchased pdf files, you can easily print them at home on your choice of paper. What paper should you go with? I recommend the following:
- For meal planners, calendars, and organizers for everyday use, you can use typical office grade paper.
- If you have files for greeting cards, set your printer to the highest quality setting. Print on white card stock, linen textured paper, or other higher quality papers you like from any store that carries office supplies. You can also purchase social envelopes to have on hand.
- If you have purchased or downloaded wall art, print on white card stock or photo paper. Again, use the highest quality setting on your printer. Both matte and glossy photo paper are readily available and both look great.
How to Order Professional Products from Printable Files
Because it is an economical option for my customers, I have a number of printable art files available in my Etsy shop, and also as freebies here on the blog. This doesn't mean you can't have that artwork as an archival print, stationery, or poster. In fact, you can have all of the above and more. If you intend to order a professionally produced final product, simply request a jpeg file as a note at checkout.
For same day quality prints, I typically upload jpeg files to Walgreens.com. I select the size I'd like, usually 8x10. (Be sure to always check for coupon codes whenever ordering anything from any online store. Sites such as retailmenot make coupon code searches easy.) With Walgreens, you can order your prints and pickup in about an hour at the location of your choice, even paying at the store after having used an online coupon code. Most of the same-day photo orders through that store need to be glossy. For matte orders, ship to home. When a piece of artwork is full color, I'll often just order through Walgreens to avoid using my own ink on the home printer.
For matte archival photo prints, I recommend Shutterfly as one good option. They have great quality and I love their customer service policies. They can print large format prints and also canvas prints. Just upload your jpeg file, select your product, and the item will ship directly to your home. I recommend always paying for priority shipping. Most printers and online sites tend to prioritize your project when you pay those couple extra dollars.
You can also get creative with other products using your artwork. Once you have a jpeg file, you can order puzzles, coffee mugs, canvas totes, calendars, mouse pads, stationery, and yard signs. Get creative!
How to Get Unique and Customized Printable Artwork
Many designers on Etsy, such as myself and Lonni Olson of L. Olson Designs, will create custom artwork for you. If you have an idea you can't find anywhere, just ask. Etsy has an internal email system called the "convo." Once you have a free username with Etsy, you can convo any shop owner to inquire. You can plan and print a coordinated baby shower through L. Olson Designs using her invites and decor!
With all of the fun printable options out there, it may be worth your time to start finding your favorite printable sources. You can start downloading, printing, and framing now. Maybe start here?