You can find a printer in almost every household that has a computer, but these machines are capable of printing on more than plain copy paper. Here are some of the best creative uses for your printer.
Create Your Own Labels And Decals
If you don't have a label maker, you can use your laser printer to make your own. Lexy Ward at Weblog The Proper Pinwheel explains how to make basic, clear labels with packing tape and a bowl of lukewarm water. Print out the words you'd like on your label in a column on a piece of paper. Then cover that area of the paper with a piece of clear packing tape. Make sure there are no bubbles, then trim away all of the excess paper. Sink the paper with the taped-over words in a bowl of water for five to six minutes, keeping it submerged completely. Anything heavy enough to hold it under will do — Ward uses a small rock. Carefully remove the wet paper from the tape, but be careful not to pull off any of the lettering. Now you can put the labels on glass, plastic, or metal. Smooth out the bubbles and use a gloss or sealant to make sure it stays on. This method lets you create clear labels of any size and you can use whatever font you'd like.
If you want to do something a little more decorative, Kristine at weblog The Painted Hive explains how to make professional looking decals with water slide decal paper, clear acrylic sealer, and your printer. Once you print off your design, spray it with the acrylic sealer. Then trim around your design or lettering as closely as possible, and submerge it in lukewarm water for 45 seconds. Remove the backing and place it wherever you like, but keep in mind that it's permanent. You can place these permanent decals on glass, wood, metal, plastic, and even ceramic.
Transfer Printed Images To Wood Or Metal
Using an inkjet printer, you can print images onto the glossy part of a used sheet of labels or stickers, and then transfer that image over to the wood. Once your image is printed on the glossy sheet, be sure not to touch it or you'll smear the ink. Carefully place it on the wood and spread it out gently. Printing on any glossy, non-porous surface will do, but make sure the wood is bare so it can absorb the ink.
Products like inkAID Transferiez or Avery T-shirt Transfers can make transferring images to other surfaces, like metals, easier. Using a similar method, artist Kathyanne White demonstrates how you can transfer an image to brass using inkAID Transferiez. You have to texturise the metal with the rough side of a sponge, then apply a thin layer of the transfer medium. Then you can carefully place your glossy surface with the image on it. Gently smooth the surface down so the ink can settle in for a few minutes, and the image will be transferred to the metal.
Print Custom Items For Your Party
Every good party has a cake, right? Instead of spending a bunch of money to get a photo cake, Sarah E. Andersen (aka TechMom) at Computer Shopper explains how you can set yourself up to make them on your own whenever you like. You can buy sheets of edible paper and cartridges of edible ink at web sites and craft stores. You can't buy individual icing sheets, just packs of 24, but they can be very useful if you have kids or like to throw a lot of parties. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so your cakes don't all have to be rectangular.
If you want to keep things classy, Victoria Hudgins at weblog A Subtle Revelry suggests printing out napkins with custom words or images with your inkjet printer instead of grabbing them at the store. Use a word processor to type out some words or line up an image and load your napkin into your printer. Just make sure keep the napkin folded once at least so it has the ideal thickness for running through the printer.
When the party's over, send guests home with custom gift bags. Kathleen at weblog Twig and Thistle shows how you can turn a plain paper bag into something worth handing out. Just make sure your wording or design is centred and place the flat paper bag in your printer's tray as centred as possible. Her instructions are for a Valentine's Day gift, but you can customise your bag for whatever occasion you like.
Print On Fabric For Custom Clothing
With an inkjet printer, you can print designs, pictures, or wording on fabric, and YouTuber Professor Pincushion has a simple method you can use. She prints out a sheet of custom clothing labels in her demonstration, but anything you can print can be printed on the fabric. You need some plain white fabric — 100% cotton is best — and a fabric treating product so the ink will set in the fabric better. Additionally, you'll need some freezer paper and some mild soap or detergent. Cut your fabric a little larger than standard A4 just in case it shrinks. Place the fabric in a pan or plastic container filled with the treatment solution and submerge it completely. Soak it for five minutes then pull it out to dry completely. Once it's dry, use an iron to press it flat and cut a piece of freezer paper to the right size. Place the waxy side of the freezer paper down to the fabric and iron it on. After the freezer paper is ironed on to the fabric, cut the fabric down to size.
Once everything is sized up, the sheet is ready to place in your printer. Just make sure the fabric side is facing whichever side is actually printed on. If you're not sure, do a test run with a piece of paper. Any ink will do when you're printing, colour or black, so feel free to design whatever you like. Now cut out your design and attach it to t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, or whatever you like!