hardware/inkjetprinter.jpgThe explosion in digital photography has also caused a proliferation of inkjet printers. A recent report from Lyra Research states that most digital camera photos are now printed at home using inkjet printers.

You may have purchased an inkjet printer to print photographs, but you can also use it for many other projects that you might not have even considered when you made your printer purchase. Here are a few ways to turn your printer, paper, and ink into fun! You might even surprise yourself with your creativity! I’ll give you some tips, tools, and most of all, some great ideas.

Let’s start by looking at some of the many ways you can give your photo printing a new twist. Why not take those precious pics and put them on a t-shirt, apron, or tote bag. Just purchase iron-on transfer paper that is specifically made for fabric. Then print the image on the special paper. Be sure to follow the instructions, as the paper might require a reverse image. Next iron the image onto the fabric and voila, you’ve created a personalized masterpiece.

Don’t limit yourself when it comes to printing on special paper. Investigate all your options. With the proper paper you can turn your photos into scrapbooks, calendars, or greeting cards. There is even paper available for creating Photo Stickers that children and grandchildren are sure to love.

When looking for specialized paper, check out the paper made by your printer’s manufacturer first, but don’t overlook third party manufacturers. Some vendors, like Burlington, concentrate on specialty-paper. Burlington has water-color paper. Add some special effects to your photograph with your photo editing software and you can produce prints that look as good as paintings. Burlington also has holographic labels and holographic mailing seals. With the proliferation of ink jet printers, specialty papers by Burlington and other can be found in many different office supply stores like Staples.

Your inkjet printer will also be useful in creating a wide variety of practical objects and craft projects. You can make your own newsletters, business cards, stationery, invitations, party favors, gift tags, recipe cards, CD labels, and photo frames – to name just a few. If you are very creative you can develop these on your own, but a good software program will make the job easier.

 

You’ll find many  programs to help with your printing projects, but before you run out and buy one, there are a few things you need to check out. First see if you already have special printing software with your printer. Many manufacturers include this software with their printers when you purchase them. Printer manufacturer Web sites are also a great place to go for print project ideas, templates, and instructions. These are free for the taking and you can use any of these Web sites no matter what type of printer you own. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find these helpful project sites from the manufacturer’s main page, so be sure to bookmark these pages if you think you may want to revisit.

The Canon Creative Park has free greeting cards, clip art, a digital photo gallery and a wealth of digital camera and printer tips. The extensive 3-D paper craft project area is well worth a look. You can print and build a farm diorama, games, and masks. There are projects that kids will love and adults will love to help with.

The HP Activity Center has hundreds of free print projects. This site is excellent for seasonal projects and holiday themes. They have many customizable projects like photo frames and greeting cards.

Not to be outdone by their competitors, Epson  also offers free print projects at Epson Creative Zone. You’ll find projects to showcase your favorite photos, scrapbooking ideas and patterned pages to print, as well as greeting cards, clip art, and seasonal projects. The also have an area called Cool School Tools. Even if you are not in school you may want to check these out. They include making creative hats like a nurse’s cap, a pirate, and a bunny. I also enjoyed the fun project that shows you how to make designs that feature the American Flag, and the Fun with Frames section.

I would be hard pressed to select the best of these three manufacturer’s Web sites. They all have fun-filled projects, great templates, and all are free. Visit all three and you are sure to find some great ways to use your inkjet printer.