This is something we get asked about time and time again – how do you successfully print digital download art prints at home? On the surface it appears that it would be self-explanatory, but there is so much more than simply clicking “print.”
While professional printers may still have the edge – they do have top of the line equipment and expertise, after all – you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a beautiful image from your home printer.
It may seem daunting at first, with all the different fit and quality options, but printing instant download wall art at home is a lot easier than you think.
If you plan on printing larger than a regular piece of computer paper (8.5”x11”) we recommend using a professional service. If you’re more interested in a 5”x7” or 8”x10” print, then check out these tips and tricks for successfully printing high-quality prints right in the comfort of your home:
Remember That Every Monitor is Different
Unless you have two computers, this can be kind of hard to realize. Each and every monitor is calibrated a little differently (even computers of the same make and brand). Therefore, colors on the screen can appear slightly different from computer to computer. Guess what? That also translates to printing.
While big differences in color are usually the due to running low on ink or a dirty printhead, small variations are to be expected.
Get the Correct Paper
Paper plays one of the biggest roles in successfully printing digital wall art at home. The thickness, quality and finish to the paper can give prints a completely different look and feel.
When we send our prints to our professional printer they create all of our prints on LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper (230 GSM). If that sounds a little confusing, don’t worry! You can pick up a nice matte paper at most office supply or craft stores.
While matte paper has its benefits, we LOVE using glossy photo paper for printing at home. It gives all of our prints a beautiful, professional looking finish without too much effort (especially for anything with watercolors).
Use Manufacturers Ink
You may think this is common sense, but many people use generic versions of brand name inks for their printers. While we don’t know the chemical difference between the generic and manufacturer ink, we suggest sticking with the original manufacturers ink to ensure the highest quality pigments. For example, if you have an HP printer, always buy genuine HP ink.
You want your wall print to last and be of the highest quality; so don’t skimp on the most important component – the colors themselves.
Be Sure to Stay on Top of Maintenance
Ever notice those little lines that run through a picture? Yeah, they are super annoying. Some printers have a cleaning cycle. We suggest that you begin by running the cycle to see if that alleviates your issues.
If these suggestions don’t work…
Make Sure Your Printhead is Clean
Don’t know why your print quality is all of the sudden horrible? Sometimes the contacts between the cartridges and printhead can leak ink or get dirty. This, in turn, can create some ugly problems with your printed images, including lines and splatters.
Many printers have a “cleaning” cycle (see above). While it may be useful to run that every once and a while, we recommend cleaning the print head itself if you’re having big quality issues.
Every printer is different, so check out your manufacturers website to see how they recommend cleaning the printhead contacts. It can seriously make a world of different in your print quality.
Print at the Highest Quality Setting
Did you know that you could set different paper types and quality levels while printing? Well, you can! Whenever you’re printing a wall art print you downloaded, try to change the quality level to “best” (or your computer’s equivalent) to ensure the best possible quality. You may not think it makes a difference, but it definitely does.