If you think laser printers are just for business, think again! While they aren’t your best choice for printing high-quality, frameable photographs, they can still be used for a wide variety of craft projects. Whether you need a last-minute birthday gift, something special for a grandparent, or even a creative gift for a favorite teacher, you can use your LaserJet printer to create something that is truly one of a kind. Here are just a few of our favorite laser printer gift ideas.
Custom Jars for Homemade Treats
Is there anything better than getting a jar of homemade jam, preserved veggies, or even syrup as a gift? Tasty treats are perfect for any occasion, and you can make your gift even better by customizing the jar. Sure, you could write what’s in the jar on top of the lid using a permanent marker, but where’s the fun in that? With your laser printer and a few other supplies, you can create your own professional-looking labels.
To get started, you’ll need your laser printer (of course), a piece of paper, scissors, packing tape, a clean jar, and a bowl of lukewarm water. Print a label for the jar on regular printer paper. It should be no wider than the width of your packing tape, and it can’t be taller than your jar.
Once you’ve printed your label, carefully place a strip of packing tape over it. Burnish with your fingers, then trim away the excess paper and tape. Submerge in a bowl of lukewarm water for about five minutes. If it won’t stay down, you can place a coin or a small stone on top of the tape. Next, remove from the water and carefully peel away the paper. Use caution, as you want to remove the paper but leave the printed text on the tape.
Trim around the remaining text, then place the label on your jar. For best results, start at the middle and work your way to the edge, pushing out bubbles as you go. Once finished, add a thin layer of glossy Mod Podge to seal the label in place. Fill the jar with a homemade treat, and present to the lucky recipient.
Love nail art but struggle to create those amazing teeny-tiny designs yourself? If you have a laser printer, you can design and print your own for gift giving. Design them with your school mascot to give to the girls on the team you coach, or create a truly incredible customized gift for the special little girl in your life. Of course, you can always treat yourself to some fun nail art, too! With a laser printer and a little imagination, there’s no limit to what you can put on your nails.
In addition to a laser printer and paper, you will also need a nail polish base coat and top coat. You can also use a base color, if desired, as a background for your decals. Other necessary supplies include clear packing tape, scissors, nail clippers, a nail file, a bowl of lukewarm water, and a printout of the desired design(s).
Stick tape over the decal and smooth it using something like a credit card. This ensures a secure stick and eliminates bubbles. Trim away excess paper and tape, and place your decal in a bowl of water. After five minutes or so, remove and carefully peel away the paper, leaving the graphic in place on the tape. Cut each decal to the desired size using scissors or nail clippers.
Apply your base coat and, if desired, your base color and let dry. Next, apply the decal and gently press down to adhere. Apply a top coat. Once dry, you will have a custom manicure that cost you a lot less than going to the nail salon! If giving the decals as a gift, you could also package them together with the base coat, top coat, and nail polish for an impressive presentation.
If you are looking for a unique way to turn a special photo into a prized keepsake, look no further. Transferring printed images to wood is easier than you may think, and the results are incredible. While you could spend a fortune custom ordering wood prints, you can save yourself a bundle making them yourself, as long as you have access to a decent-quality laser printer and a few basic supplies.
To start making your own prints on wood, you will need a flat, light-colored piece of wood. Painted wood will work, but plain, unfinished wood is your best choice. You will also need a laser printed copy of the photo or image you would like to transfer. If it contains any text or you would prefer not to have the image reversed on the final project, print the mirror image. Other supplies include a transfer medium (such as Liquitex Gel Medium), a paint brush, a rag or sponge, a rolling pin (or another tool you can use to smooth out air bubbles), and a spray bottle of water.
Gather your supplies and decide how you would like your image to be placed on the wood. Next, brush a layer of transfer medium onto the wood. Stroke perpendicular to the grain, and then apply some more parallel to the grain. You want to be sure that the entire board is completely covered, but don’t overdo it.
Carefully place the image face down on the wood. It’s important to get it right the first time, as attempting to move it around will most likely mess up the design. Use your rolling pin or another tool to gently smooth out the paper and eliminate air bubbles. This also ensures that the entire image adheres to the transfer medium. Let dry completely. This takes roughly four hours, depending on the amount of transfer medium used.
Once dry, spray the paper with water. You want it to be saturated but not soaking wet. Wait a minute or two, then carefully start peeling back the paper from one of the corners. You can do this with your fingertips using a small rolling motion, or you can use the corner of a damp sponge. Add more water as needed and keep peeling and rubbing until all the paper is gone but the image remains. You may need to repeat this process several times to get rid of all the paper.
Once all of the paper is gone, the remaining image should feel smooth. Finally, apply a protective top coat. You can use leftover transfer medium or, if you prefer, you can use polyurethane or a similar product. When you’re finished, you will have a beautiful keepsake that will be treasured for years to come.
One-of-a-Kind Throw Pillows
Who doesn’t love throw pillows? They’re the perfect accent on the sofa, on the bed, or even in the kids’ room. Because they’re so versatile, they also make great gifts. Instead of going to the store and buying the same pillows that millions of other people already have, though, why not create your own case to add your own personal touch to a plain throw pillow? Transferring a graphic to a fabric pillowcase is easy, and it’s a great way to make an impressive gift even for the most-difficult-to-shop-for person on your list.
Start by gathering your supplies. You will need a plain throw pillow or pillow form (available at any craft store), a plain white pillow cover, a mirror-image copy of your desired imaged printed on plain paper using a LaserJet printer, Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium, wax paper, a sponge or rag, a squeegee, a cutting mat, and a craft knife.
Using a craft knife, carefully cut out your image. Remove as much white as possible to prevent it from transferring to the pillowcase. Lay down a sheet or two of wax paper to protect your workspace, and insert a sheet inside the pillowcase to protect the back of the cover.
Brush a thick layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium over the image, then lay the paper image-side-down on the fabric. Use a squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles, and wipe away any medium that seeps out from under the paper. Let it dry for 24 hours.
Once completely dry, use a damp rag or sponge to moisten the paper. Wait about a minute, and then carefully rub away the paper using a circular motion. Work slowly to avoid rubbing off the image or tearing it. Once all of the paper has been removed, wash the pillow case in cold water and hang it to dry. Finally, insert the plain pillow or pillow form, and your gift will be ready for giving.
Fashionable Upcycled Furniture
Transforming an old piece of furniture into something fresh and new is a great way to create an incredible gift. Whether you have an old wooden table, a chair, or even a dresser, you can breathe new life into it with a few supplies and a lot of creativity.
You will need a piece of furniture that has been carefully prepped and painted. Sand it with an electric sander to smooth the surface and get rid of scratches, dings, etc. Now is also the time to remove any existing paint. When finished, use a high-quality paint to give the piece a new look.
Once your piece is prepped, you are ready to add your own personal touches. You will need mirror-image copies of your chosen graphics. They should be printed on plain paper using a laser printer. You’ll also need Mod Podge, a brush, a squeegee, and a damp rag or sponge.
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the printed side of your image. You want the image to be covered completely, but you shouldn’t have excess dripping off. Carefully apply to your furniture piece, printed side down. Use a squeegee to carefully smooth out the paper and eliminate air bubbles. If you don’t have a squeegee handy, the edge of a credit card works, too. Just be extremely careful not to slide the image. Let it dry overnight.
Moisten the paper using a damp sponge or rag. You want it to be damp but not soaking wet. Carefully wipe up excess water and wait a minute or two. Next, gently rub the paper away using your fingertip. Start by using very little pressure, until you get a feel for how the paper comes off. Apply a bit more pressure, but be careful not to rub too hard and remove the image. If you have spots that are especially stubborn, let them dry, and then carefully sand them away. When finished, apply a coat of clear wax or use Mod Podge or another sealant to preserve your hard work.
When you need a unique gift and want to give something you made with your own hands, creating a digital gift using your laser printer is a great idea. The projects above are suitable for people of all skill levels, and they allow you to make one-of-a-kind gifts that are sure to be treasured by even the pickiest of gift recipients.