Whether it’s printable wall art that you’ve purchased or downloaded for free from here, wall art you’ve downloaded elsewhere, or prints that you’ve created yourself, you’ll want to know how to get the best possible results when printing it. There are plenty of printing companies, both locally and online, that will print your wall art on a variety of mediums, but it’s much more affordable and convenient to print it yourself at home.
We’ve created a step-by-step tutorial to show you how you can print your own wall art at home. This tutorial will show you how to create your own wall art using only a printer and some paper, getting professional looking results every time.
Downloading your Printable Wall Art
Once you’ve purchased your printable wall art on this site, you’ll have access to a link where you can download the printable files. More details on how to download the files can be found here. The files will normally go to your “Downloads” folder, unless you have chosen another folder.
If the files are in a zip folder, simply right-click on that zip folder and choose “Extract all.” You can then choose where you want the extracted files to go, by default they’ll be unzipped into the same Downloads folder.
Printing your Printable WALL ART
Once you’ve got your JPG* files, you can either right click on the file and choose ”Print” or open the JPG in photo viewing or editing software.
* All of our printable download files are in JPG format. If you have image files from elsewhere, they may be in PDF format. These files can be opened in a PDF reader (such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader). Simply open the PDF, click ”Print” and follow the instructions below.
So, when we’ve clicked on ”Print” and opened the print dialog box, the first thing we’ll need to do is choose the paper type from the dropdown box. How your printer dialog box looks will depend on the make of printer, but they’re all pretty much the same to navigate. I use Canon printers, so the images shown here are all for Canon.
It’s really important to choose the correct paper type here, as it tells your printer how absorbant the paper is, so it will adjust the amount of ink used accordingly. See further on in this article for advice on choosing the correct paper type to print on.
Here we can see what happens when the incorrect paper stype is chosen, there is a marked difference in the color output and print quality –
Next, we need to choose the correct paper size. Click on the paper size box, and choose the size of paper that you are using, e.g. 8×10″, A4, etc.
Once you’ve chosen the correct settings, just hit the print button.
What Paper to Use FOR WALL ART PRINTS
A major consideration that will affect the outcome of your printable wall art is what type of paper you use. Many people will just reach for regular cardstock, but you’ll never get a great result by using cardstock. This is because the card will absorb some of the ink, leaving you with less than vibrant results.
You really need to use a paper that’s specifically for the type of printer that you’re using, i.e. either inkjet or laser printer paper. If you have a printer at home, it’s most likely an inkjet (or photo) printer. Therefore it’s best to use a photo paper that’s been specifically made for use with inkjet printers, as this will have a special coating that prevents the ink being absorbed into the paper.
In the photos above, you can clearly see the difference in print quality and colors between the cardstock and photo paper.
Inkjet photo paper is readily available, and comes in different finishes – matt, silk/lustre, or gloss. Which finish you choose comes down to personal preference. For art prints I like to use matt paper, and for photo prints I prefer silk/lustre finish. I find gloss paper to be too glossy, but some people like the super shiny finish.
About Printer Profiles
I don’t want to start getting too technical, but if you really want to get the best results from printable wall art you need to know about printer profiles.
Have you ever printed something out and noticed that the colors on the print-out don’t quite match the colors you see on screen? This is very common, and all comes down to color profiles. If you want your printer to produce an accurate print, matched to what you see on screen, you would need to get that printer profiled.
An ICC (International Color Consortium) profile is a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, according to standards set by the International Color Consortium. Put simply, it tells your printer to print out the correct colors. Every device that captures or displays color can be profiled, including monitors and printers. But for this article we’ll just be looking at printer profiles.
Before you start panicking and wondering how much you’ll have to pay for one of these profiles, or if you need specialist equipment, many photo paper manufacturers provide free profiles for their products. Go onto the website of your paper manufacturer, find the product you’re using and look for a link to color profiles or ICC profiles. Download the relevant profile, then it’s simply a case of double clicking on that profile. This will automatically install the profile into your printer settings.
If you’re not able to find a free profile for the paper you’re using, you can try one of the standard profiles that were already installed on your computer when you set the printer up.
When it’s come to printing your print, in the printer dialog box, click “Options,” then “Color management.”
Click on the device dropdown box and choose your printer. It will then show profiles associated with your device. You’ll see a list of the standard pre-installed profiles, and hopefully the profile you’ve just installed.
If you don’t see the profile, click on the “Add” button, navigate to the folder where you downloaded the profile to and double click to add it. You should then be set to print.
In the images below, you can see the difference in colors when using a custom ICC profile. For most people, you probably wouldn’t notice such subtle color variations. So it’s not something you need to worry about unless you print a lot and need to get the colors spot on.
PRINTING FROM PHOTOSHOP
If you’re printing from within Photoshop, choose “Print” from the file menu, or Ctrl & P. In the printer settings dialog box, select the correct printer, and ensure you’ve got the correct size and paper settings.
Then, under color management, click on the “Color Handling” box and choose “Photoshop Manages Colors.”
Next, click on the “Printer Profile” box and scroll until you find the profile you’ve installed, or one of the generic profiles that matches the paper you are using.
You’ll also need to tell the computer not to use the automatic color management. In that same printer dialog box, click on “Print Settings,” check the “Color/intensity manual adjustment” box.
Then click on the “Main” tab, under Color/intensity, check the “Manual” option, then the “Set” button.
This will bring up the “Manual Color Adjustment” box. Click the “Matching” tab and select “None.”
Ensure you’ve selected the correct paper size and type, and you’re good to hit the print button.
If you do a lot of printing and want to consistently get the best quality prints you can also get custom printer profiles made. Some photo paper companies offer these for free when using their papers. Otherwise a quick Google search for “custom printer profiles” will bring up a few companies who offer this paid-for service.
** Please note that these are instructions for Canon printers, and may vary slightly for other printer makes and models.
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