‘Printables’ is a collective term for printable files. A printable is a digital file that you can print on your own printer or using a local or online printing service (just type into google or Ecosia, you’ll find loads).
If you click on the file, the computer will open it with dedicated software. If this doesn’t happen automatically, you can have a look at the file extension (the last 3 letters of the filename following the dot), typically .JPG or .PDF. You can open the file using dedicated software. For example, open PDF files with Adobe Acrobate Reader (free) and open JPG (photo format) with any image viewing software, such as Photoshop (commercial software from Adobe) or GIMP (free software). And sometimes you will find printables that were directly saved from text editors or word processors, but this is rarely the case.
Why should I use printables?
There are plenty of reasons, one even better than the next:
Easy. It’s super easy: simply print the file on your home printer of use a printing service.
Fast. Instant download and printing (at home) is fast. Bzzzz – done!
Convenient: no need to nip to the shops!
Cheap.There are loads of free or paid printables around on the web. Both are very budget friendly!
Reusable = vast supply. You can print them when you need, time after time.
No loss. Simply save the file on your computer and you will have it forever (whatever ‘forever’ means in a digital world. But you know what I mean.
‘Green’. Print as many as you need and use FSC paper.
Printables tend to be budget friendly, whether they are free or paid:
I’m sure you already have plenty of free printables on your laptop. Who doesn’t? They are often irresistible! Why would people offer free printables? You can simply narrow it down to promotion, in one way or another. For example, a company or studio may offer a sampling of their products or a blogger may offer handy worksheets to get more traffic, etc. Some websites ask for personal details in return. Just keep this in mind..
You can also opt for paid printables, that usually are better quality and more thoughtfully designed. Think ‘professionals’ versus ‘amateurs’. Essentially you pay the designer a little bit for their time. The advantage is that you get a high quality digital product that will save you time & hassle. Time versus money, I suppose. And they remain budget friendly.
1. If you download a printable (paid or free) you usually can use that file for personal use (but alway check the copyrights). This means that the file sits on your computer and you can print it as many times as you wish.. but no more. So if you only print what you need there is no unnecessary waste.
3. The digital nature of printables removes the need need for physical transport. No trucks, delivery vans, exhaust fumes, storage facilities.
Be sure to know what the copyrights are of your downloaded files. What are copyrights? In essence, it’s a piece of law that protects the work of an artist or creator. Generally speaking (unless stated otherwise) you are not allowed to edit or alter the file or distribute/sell the files. I mean, the creator has put time, energy and effort in it, so I think that’s fair enough. But: you can print and use them. And that’s usually the only think you planed to do anyway.
What type of paper should I use?
In principle you can use any type of (white) paper. Generally speaking, the thicker the paper the better the result. I use 80g A4 FSC paper for general prints and 200g heavy paper (or card stock) for special prints, such as art prints or paper toys.
Did yo know that you can also print on heavy paper or card stock at home? Go ahead and check your printer manual (to prevent the dreaded rrRRrrrr- paper jam..) and you could just be surprised ( I was)
I would say it’s a sensible investment to select a good quality printer that can handle thick paper or cardstock. Personally I’m printing greeting cards, travel games and art activities that look/feel better and last longer than regular paper. You will have to go to a specialised stationary shop or hobby store for the heavy paper though, or order it online. But it will last quite a long time, so it’s worth the effort.
Check the paper size of the document. If it compares to the paper size in your printer you can print without giving it much thought (printing at 100%). If the paper sizes do not compare you’ll have to ‘scale to fit paper’ and the resulting image will be smaller.
Also, keep in mind that the colours that you see on the screen will never exactly match the colours on paper. You see, monitors use a different colour system than printers. Screens are using colours made up from light (RGB, red, blue, green), whereas printers use ink pigments (CYMK, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black). On top of than, screen settings vary, and printing colours very much depend on paper and ink quality.
If you are a busy parent, I’m here for you! You don’t have the time and patience to endlessly browse Pinterest. But here you will find creative & educational play ideas for kids: reliable, educational, fun! The designs are well though out, full of colour, full of attitude and bring a wee bit of cheerfulness into your home..
You will get high-quality, tried and tested printables from me. As a mom and a graphic designer, I can vouch for reliable printables. But you don’t have to take my work for it, just have a look at the free downloads on my website and you’ll get a taste of the products that I design.
All designs have been handcrafted by me, on a big wooden table (originally from French farm) on my Macbook and drawing tablet, in the company of hot coffee. They have been tested with my kids their friends, and I would only put then up for sale if they actually liked them or played with them.
Also, you will be supporting a working mom who is running a small studio and paying for swimming lessons for the kids, not the second holiday home of an executive director of a global company. It’s the www-version of ‘buying local’, I suppose.
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