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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.