So, you've got a printable personalised wall art file and now you want to print it? What are your options? You can:
Printable files come in various formats - usually PDF, JPEG or PNG. If you've bought from a reputable seller, the file should be a high resolution file, and you'll be able to make excellent quality prints from it.
Printable files exist for all sorts of things: checklists, year planners, calorie counters, timetables...the list goes on (and on...(and on...)). But if you have a printable piece of personalised wall art, there are one or two things to bear in mind when you print it, things that make printable wall art different to most kinds of printable files:
All this boils down to print quality. And that means you need to think about:
Printer paper comes in many, many different finishes - glossy, satin, pearl, matte, textured, coloured and more. You have a lot of choice!
When you buy printable personalised wall art, the seller often recommends what kind of paper they think works best for their art. If they don't recommend one, feel free to ask them.
Of course, there's no need to follow their recommendation! That's one of the advantages of printables - you can go your own way! But bear in mind that of all the people in the world, they are the one with the most experience of printing their own art. They probably know what they are talking about!
Ink choice is much more limited than paper choice. You can put pretty much any paper into any printer, but that's not true of inks.
For many home printers you'll probably be able to choose from the printer manufacturers own ink and third party inks. And that's it. The kind of printer you have determines whether those inks fade quickly or slowly and how good they are at reproducing the colours in the printable file.
In general, expect the printer manufacturers own ink to be better quality (better colour and longer lasting) than third party inks. They'll also be more expensive!
We're not going to recommend any one kind of printing over any other.
If you have a high quality printer at home and you know what you're doing, you'll get excellent prints. If you have a good local photo printer, you'll get excellent prints. If you use a reputable online printer, you'll get excellent prints.
However, great personalised wall art printed on not-great paper with not-great inks will look cheap and it won't have that crisp look that a good print has. With wall art, it's all about the quality. Take care when you make your print, and your print will look at its best.
You can get good results from a lot of home printers, but you'll get poor results if you don't set up your printer correctly. It's outside the scope of this blog post to go into the details of printer settings but make sure your printer is set up to print at the right size and on the right kind of paper.
And make sure you put the paper in the right way round so the ink is printed on to the correct surface of the paper! This is all obvious stuff but it's surprising how many times the obvious things cause problems.
Even though you can get good results from home printers, you'll need a high quality photo printer to get close to the kind of quality you can get from a professional printer.
Professional printers have the big advantage that they use printer ink that doesn't fade for many years. The ink used in most home printers may start to fade after just two or three of years. This may not be a problem - do you need your wall art to last that long? If you keep a copy of the printable file, you can always reprint it if you need to.
The advantage of taking your printable file to a local print shop is that you should be dealing with someone who's an expert. They'll be able to run though the paper options with you before making your print and you can ask whether the inks they use have good longevity.
We suggest you go to a print shop experienced in printing photos. Some print shops are geared towards printing in bulk for local businesses (e.g. leaflets, menus, flyers) but for personalised wall art you need somewhere that does one-off prints.
Using a print shop means you can check your print before you leave. You don't have to wait for anything to arrive in the post. You don't have to worry about possible damage in transit (though, in reality, this is rare).
Online printers give you the biggest choice of all. Specialist online photo printers use excellent inks and can sometimes offer a bewildering array of papers. This is where a paper recommendation from the printable file seller can really help.
Online printers might also be able to offer finishes you can't easily get elsewhere: canvas, wood, metal, acrylic. prints made using these materials can look fabulous!