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Isn’t it incredible all the great free printables that are out there? From free school packets to crafts and everything in between. I have a whole folder of freebies on my computer I’ve collected over the years. But then it comes time to print them. As much as I love the printables I’ve found, I used to dread printing them out and emptying ink catridges way too fast. I’ve found some great tips and tricks for printing printables and papercrafts without spending a fortune on ink.
Printing Non-Color/Black & White crafts or printables
I’ll start with some tips regarding printing crafts or pages with no color. These are the easiest. We have a Brother laser printer. The model we own is a few years old so I don’t often see it on Amazon anymore, but here’s a newer version of it: Brother wireless Laser Printer. They take several different capacity cartridges, depending on how much ink you’re going to use. We originally got this printer because my husband wanted a way to print some tests and worksheets for his classes without spending a ton on ink. I can’t say exactly how many pages we get per cartridges, but we’ve only been through 2 or 3 total since buying it, and I print off a ton of stuff with it.
The only downside is sometimes cardstock can be a little tricky to print on. I usually only have problems if I’m trying to print more than one page of cardstock at a time. And if your cartridge is running low or it’s sat around for a while without use, sometimes the ink can smudge on the cardstock. Overall, I love this printer – I can’t imagine not having it.
How can you afford to print in color all the time?
I used to be amazed that people even created colored printables or crafts. With how my printer guzzled ink, I couldn’t imagine printing off printables like that frequently!
In fact, we went several years not printing anything in color because I couldn’t bring myself to spend $60 on cartridges that were just going to get used up with a few pages.
And then someone told me about HP’s Instant Ink program.
Right now I pay $5 a month to print 100 pages – no matter how much ink I use. They have several pricing plans right now (including a $3/month for 50 pages if you aren’t going to print a ton). But even on the $5 a month plan, what I’ll spend in a year of ink is about what I would spend on one set of colored cartridges.
Only select printers work with the program (you can see the full list down on the page here). I currently use (and love!) the HP OfficeJet Pro 8610 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer. HP sends you special cartridges. You put them in, and use your printer like usual. They will automatically send you ink when you get low.
I love having the freedom to print in color so inexpensively! And the fact that I don’t have to run out to buy more cartridges when I run out is just a bonus.
What paper should I use?
I use both regular printer paper and cardstock for my crafts. For regular paper, we just buy a big box of generic copier paper at Costco, which lasts us quite a while. If you’re more of an online shopper, you can grab good deals on paper on Amazon.
While regular paper is handy to use, if I want a craft to really hold up well and last a while, I usually print it on cardstock. I have a couple different types I like to use.
The first is this cardstock here, which is a rougher cardstock. I like how this feels with some printable crafts. And it also works very well to watercolor on.
Another I have used in the past is this cardstock, which is much smoother. Though both are great, right now I’m preferring the first because it I like that I can watercolor on it as well.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions about printing papercrafts or saving money on ink. And if you want to try out HP Instant Ink, you can get a month free here.