Having things professionally printed can be incredibly expensive. Whether you are creating business cards, contracts, resumes, or any other type of document, going to your local print shop will likely cost you a pretty penny. Fortunately, though, you can save yourself a bundle by merely printing at home.
In the past, having documents professionally printed was a must if you wanted them to look good. Today, though, even the most basic inkjet printer models are capable of delivering some pretty impressive results. And, if you invest in a nicer inkjet or laser printer, you could easily start printing professional-quality business cards, flyers, letterheads, and more from the comfort of your own home.
Despite the cost of printer ink cartridges, printing at home is a cost-effective alternative to having documents printed professionally in many situations. Doing this can save you a lot of money, and it can save you time by keeping you from having to go to a store to get things printed. Getting your output to look just right requires a bit of know-how, though. Keep reading to discover our guide to printing business cards and other important documents at home.
If you are trying to land a new job, you’ll need to print resumes. While most employers now accept online applications and enable you to upload your resume to them directly, it never hurts to have printed resumes to hand out when attending job interviews or going door-to-door prospecting for job opportunities.
A good resume tells a potential employer a lot about you. It lets them know who you are and what your qualifications and accomplishments are. What your resume says isn’t the only thing that matters, though. What it looks like can also have an impact on whether you land the job or the company chooses to hire someone else.
Your resume is a reflection of you and, when you are trying to get a job, you want it to show that you are an organized, professional individual. After carefully writing your resume and ensuring that it is laid out properly, you need to print it the right way to ensure that it appears polished and professional.
Choosing the right paper is important when it comes to resumes. Using plain paper is a huge no-no in this situation. Instead, you need to use high-quality resume paper that is made for this exact purpose. You can find resume paper at any office supply store and many big box retailers.
There are several different options to choose from. The 32-lb. white resume paper is generally a good choice, though. You want something that looks nice and which communicates a clean, polished look. You also want something that will feel nice in the employer’s hands.
Once you’ve designed your resume, do a test print on plain paper. If it doesn’t look quite right, make adjustments as needed. When you are ready to print the final version, feel your resume paper to see which side is meant to be printed on. This type of paper is often smooth on one side and linen-textured on the other. You want to print on the smooth side.
You can also determine which side to print on by holding your paper up to the light. You should be able to see a watermark. Determine which side of the paper is the right side by looking at the watermark. It should be going the right way when you are holding the paper in the correct orientation.
Set your printer to its highest quality setting and print a copy of your resume. How does it look? If it looks ready to be handed to potential employers, go ahead and print a few more copies. You’ll want to have enough copies to take to your interview or hiring event. It never hurts to make a few extras. Having more copies than you need is much better than realizing at the last minute that you don’t have enough. Being extra prepared is always a good thing, especially when you are trying to present yourself as an organized professional.
When you want to print your own business cards, you can’t use regular printer paper. Instead, you’ll need cardstock, which is thicker and sturdier. To make things simple, you can buy business card paper at any office supply store. It is microperforated so that you can quickly separate the cards after printing. If you choose this option, though, your cards will have a slightly rough edge from the perforations.
The other option is printing on plain cardstock and cutting your business cards out yourself. This requires a bit more time, a sharp utility knife, a ruler, and a steady hand, but the end result is undoubtedly worth the extra effort if you want your cards to have perfectly smooth edges.
Once you have designed your cards and are ready to print, be sure to choose the right printer settings. Ensure that your printer is set to the correct type of paper and select high-quality printing. This setting uses up your printer ink cartridges faster than draft or fast settings but yields high-quality results.
Print a single sheet first to make sure that your cards look right. If you are satisfied with the results, go on to print as many as you need. Keep in mind, though, that if you are using a basic printer, you probably shouldn’t load more than a few sheets of cardstock at a time. Loading too many can cause jams.
When you’re finished, let the ink dry for a bit before separating your cards. This prevents streaks and smudges. If you are using a laser printer, you can skip this step.
If you are a small business owner, you can use your home printer to create high-quality marketing materials, too. This includes things like postcards, flyers, etc. Ideally, it is easier to have these documents professionally printed. And, when you reach a point where you need to have several hundred or thousands printed at once, going to a professional printer can actually save you a lot of money. When you are just starting out, though, and your needs are minimal, taking the do-it-yourself approach is a good jumping-off point.
As always, you’ll need to select the right paper for your project. Unless you are just sending out letters, you will probably want to avoid plain printer paper. It doesn’t have a very impressive look or feel, and it is unlikely to really grab the attention of your current or prospective customers.
If you are creating flyers or postcards, consider using glossy paper instead of matte. A glossy finish is eye-catching, and it feels great in one’s hands. It also has a professional appearance—even when you do the printing yourself. Matte paper may be a bit less costly, but it is unlikely to have as much of an impact as glossy paper.
Design your marketing materials and start doing test prints. You always want to make sure that your colors and fonts appear correctly and are legible on inexpensive plain paper prior to moving to printing on your more expensive paper.
When you are ready to print the final copies, access your printer’s settings. Be sure to select glossy paper as the media type (unless, of course, you’ve decided to go with matte). You may also need to select the page size if you are not printing on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. Depending on what printer model you have, you may be able to opt for borderless printing for postcards and flyers. You may even be able to choose the exact type of paper you are using. Spend some time reading through the various options in your printer’s settings and choose the ones that are appropriate for your project. As always, select the high-quality setting to ensure that your documents look great.
After printing, let each page dry for a while prior to handling. It often takes ink a bit longer to dry on glossy paper than on matte paper, so be sure to take this into consideration. Once thoroughly dry, you can complete any additional tasks, such as trimming off borders or affixing address labels.
There are a few different situations in which you might want to print booklets at home. When you need huge quantities, professional printing is likely the best option, but, when you only need a single copy or two or if you only need to print a booklet every once in a while, printing at home is easy and cost-effective.
When it comes to choosing paper, your options are pretty open. If you are just printing out a small booklet that will only be used for a quick presentation, you can get away with using plain printer paper. If you are creating something like a workbook or a manual, you may want to use paper that is slightly heavier in weight. Heavy-weight glossy paper is the best choice if you are creating an image-heavy booklet that will be used frequently.
Leave plenty of space in the left margin when designing your booklet. Your pages will need to be bound together in one way or another and, if your left margin is too small, the text or images could get cut off. Do a test print prior to printing the entire booklet to ensure that your margins look okay and that everything is aligned as you expected.
When you’re ready to print, choose the appropriate paper type in your printer’s settings, and opt for the highest quality setting. If you are putting together a booklet that is only needed for short-term use, you may be able to get away with using a lower quality setting. Use your best judgment.
Once you’ve finished, bind your booklet together using the method of your choosing. If you want to do something a bit nicer than stapling the papers together, comb bindings work nicely. Getting set up to do this type of binding at home is affordable, and the finished products look great.
Printing at home is a great way to cut costs when creating important documents. This is especially true when you are printing in limited quantities, as professional printers typically only offer low prices on bulk orders.
Regardless of the exact type of project you are working on, always be sure to choose the right paper for the job. There is special paper for just about any kind of project you can imagine, so you should be able to find something that is perfect for whatever you are working on. Also, it’s smart to have a fresh inkjet cartridge or toner cartridge. This helps ensure the highest possible quality and will save you from the frustration of running out halfway through a print job.
Always select the appropriate printer settings. Spend some time getting to know your printer’s settings. This is, by far, one of the most important things you can do to ensure high-quality output from your device.
If you are unsure of which settings to choose with the paper you’ve chosen, check the packaging. Paper manufacturers often provide guidelines on which printer settings work best with their products. If all else fails, experiment. Try a few different settings until you find the one that produces the best output.
Printing important documents at home can seem a bit scary, but don’t let the idea intimidate you. Today’s home printers are precise and powerful devices that are capable of producing documents that rival professionally printed ones in terms of quality. Spend some time getting to know your printer, and we bet you will be surprised to learn just how much it is capable of!