Your home printer can be used for more than simply printing business documents. It allows you to complete many fun and useful artistic projects from the comfort of your own home — no professional print shop needed.
From crafting your own board games to creating custom shipping labels, there’s plenty of options to inspire your creativity. Read on for a list of fun projects you can complete with a modern home printer.
Getting Creative With Your Printer
Before jumping into printer projects, you’ll likely need to adjust your printer settings. For example, when it comes to how to print a book versus how to print a poster, you may have to adjust characteristics like paper size, layout (e.g., portrait versus landscape), and margins.
Additionally, some of the projects described below require special materials. If you’re wondering how to print a picture, for instance, it’s good to have glossy photo paper. You may also want a photo printer that’s capable of producing sufficiently high-quality images.
There are also ink and toner needs to consider. If you’re looking to turn out colorful products on your Epson printer, it’s good to have a colored Epson ink cartridge. Also, consider characteristics like yield. An HP ink cartridge with 60 standard yield is designed to turn out about 165 colored pages, for example, while a 60XL is designed to turn out about 440 colored pages.
Whatever project you tackle, keep your printer’s user manual on hand. You may need to consult it for technical details, like how to adjust the printing surface area or accommodate materials other than paper (for example, if you’re wondering how to print a picture on a shirt).
11 Projects Perfect For Home Printers
From cutting-edge Epson printers to innovative Brother printers, today’s modern devices can handle an astounding array of projects. Here are some creative ideas to inspire you.
A calendar is a practical item that every household needs. Even if you have your digital agenda on your phone, you may want to keep track of your family members’ various happenings using a traditional kitchen calendar. Why not make it your own?
You can find ready-made templates online and customize the designs with unique colors, fonts, and graphics. You can even print your own photo calendar using family pictures. A personalized calendar can also be a fun gift for others.
If you want help managing your appointments but need something more compact than a wall calendar, you can create a pocket agenda instead. Printable schedules, to-do lists, and other organizational items are easy to find online. You can then customize your planner as you like.
Many types of planners are available, making this a versatile printer project. In addition to regular monthly or weekly planners, you can create specialized planners for things like tracking your diet or exercise, creating checklists, or managing seasonal tasks.
The days of getting your pictures processed at a professional photography shop are long gone. You can now print high-resolution images taken on your phone at home. You can also use your printer to enlarge old photos.
Traditionally, you’d opt for glossy paper when determining how to print photos. However, you can use other materials, too. For example, printing pictures on mulberry paper will create a vintage, distressed look. You can also mod podge an image onto a canvas by printing it on tissue paper first.
Forget plain white napkins. You can print your own party napkins for a personal touch. For example, you can print names on napkins to make them personalized or include slogans relevant to the event (e.g., with an event hashtag).
Make sure to use an oil-based ink, which should dry hard and not rub off on people’s hands and faces. The ink should be non-toxic when dry. To be on the cautious side, you can also invest in food-grade ink.
Customized paper bags can be used for all kinds of occasions, from personalized lunch bags to party favor bags. White paper bags will show printed colors more vibrantly. However, brown paper bags can make for a nice vintage look. Just make sure to use a bold hue against the tan background.
When selecting paper bags, also consider the purpose. For example, should they have carrier handles? If you’re printing bags to hold party favors, this isn’t important. However, if you’re printing bags to use at your business (e.g., a restaurant offering takeaway service), straps are handy.
Envelopes can be useful for business and pleasure alike. If you have your own business, you can create branded envelopes and matching stationery with your company name and logo — great for professional-looking work correspondences.
You can ramp up the professional look by additionally printing the address information instead of writing it by hand. Not sure how to print addresses on envelopes? You can set it up in Microsoft Word. Under “Mailings,” go to “Envelopes” and then click “Envelopes and Labels” for everything you need to know about how to print on envelopes.
Printing your own envelopes can also be handy in your private life. You might create custom envelopes for special occasions like parties or weddings. In this case, you don’t have to stick to plain white. Look for envelopes in fun colors, like light blue and pink, to print on.
Shipping labels are another item you can print at home that can come in use in your personal or professional life. If you opt for this project, make sure to buy paper with adhesive to print on.
Wondering how to print a label? Space multiple labels out on each printed page to make the most of each sheet of paper. You can then simply cut the labels out using scissors. Thanks to the adhesive paper, all that’s left to do is peel and stick.
Cards for Any Occasion
Finding the right greeting card in a store can be a challenge. Luckily, you can make your own greeting card for any occasion. Tools like Adobe and Canva make it easy to create your own designs, which you can then print at home.
Find fun graphics online or create your own. You can also make your own photo cards to celebrate fun memories with family or friends. Once you have the image selected, all you need to do is add a quippy personalized text.
Love the idea of a tattoo but don’t want the commitment of a lifetime of ink on your body? You can print your own temporary tattoos at home. All you need is printable tattoo paper and a fitting design. Make sure to use bold inks that will show up well against your skin tone.
Temporary tattoos can also be fun gag gifts or make for great party favors. From birthdays to bachelorette parties, many festive occasions offer the opportunity to break out some temporary ink. Just make sure to check for allergies or other skin reactions with a small spot test first!
Not sure how to print stickers? It’s actually pretty easy. All you need is the adhesive paper. Then, lay out your sticker designs on the page on your computer, ideally getting as many as possible on a single sheet. Once the page is printed, you can cut out your stickers by hand. Then, peel and stick!
Like temporary tattoos, stickers make for a fun party favor. However, they can also be used for practical purposes — like marking key dates in calendars or planners. Stickers can also be useful for labeling things at work or in the home.
Your Own Board Game
Finally, if you really want to let your creativity run wild, use your printer to create your own board game. You can create your own “Guess Who” with familiar faces, for example, or DIY a game of “Memory” with symbols, objects, and pictures your friends or family will recognize.
Ran Out of Ink?
To take advantage of the projects above, you'll want a top-quality printer . From HP printers with photo-quality graphics to Canon printers with all-in-one functionality (e.g., print, fax, copy, and scan), there are plenty to choose from. If you’re due for a printer upgrade, you’re sure to find a model that suits your needs.
Additionally, once you start these printing projects, you may run out of ink faster than usual. Make sure to keep extra ink and toner on hand. To avoid technical issues, choose the appropriate product for your printer.
With your new printer and accessories ready to go, you can get to the fun part: getting creative! The above guide offers plenty of inspiration for things you can make the next time you’re feeling crafty.
About the Author
Alison Kilian has been working as a professional writer for 10 years. She now writes for internationally recognized publications and brands in the United States and Europe. Her focus areas include health, wellness, and general lifestyle topics.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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