Can you make art prints on cardstock? Yes you can but do you know what kind of cardstock you should use? If not read on as I explain all that you need to know.
TLDR: You can create art prints on cardstock, which is a cost-effective, durable, and versatile paper option. To achieve the best results, choose the right cardstock (minimum 80lb, matte finish, white or off-white) and use an inkjet, bubblejet, or Giclee printer capable of handling heavyweight cardstock. Properly prepare your artwork, maintain your printer, and experiment with different cardstock types and finishes to find the ideal combination for your needs.
When I started making my own art prints from home I wondered if cardstock was a viable option for printing my artwork. After a lot of research and experimentation, I found that the answer was yes, you could make art prints on cardstock. In fact, cardstock can be a great option for printing not only art prints, but invitations, and other stationery that you can sell on platforms such as Etsy and eBay.
You need to use the a printer that can handle cardstock
When printing on cardstock, you need to choose a printer that can handle the thickness of the paper. Look for a printer that has a straight paper path and can handle cardstock up to 110lbs. It is also important to adjust the printer settings to ensure that the ink is properly absorbed into the paper.
Also, do not use a laser printer for making art prints on cardstock. It will not grab the paper properly and the heat from the printer will warp and bend the cardstock. Use an inkjet, bubblejet or Giclee printer instead.
What is Cardstock?
Cardstock is a type of paper that is thicker and more durable than regular printer paper. It is commonly used in crafting, scrapbooking, and printing because of its sturdiness and ability to hold up well with ink and other media.
Cardstock weight – between 65lb to 120lb
Cardstock comes in a variety of weights, ranging from 65 lb. to 120 lb. The weight of the cardstock refers to the thickness of the paper, with higher numbers indicating a thicker paper.
The weight of the cardstock you choose will depend on the specific project you are working on and the type of printer you have available.
Cardstock colors and finishes
Cardstock is available in a range of colors and finishes, including matte, glossy, and textured. Some cardstock is also acid-free, which means it will not yellow or deteriorate over time. This is especially important if you are creating art prints or other projects that you want to last for a long time.
Can You Make Art Prints on Cardstock?
Advantages of Printing on Cardstock
Printing art prints on cardstock is a great way to produce high-quality reproductions of your original artwork. Cardstock is a thick and sturdy paper that can hold ink well, making it ideal for printing vibrant colors and sharp lines.
Depending on the quality you choose, cardstock can be more affordable than other types of paper, making it a great option for artists on a budget.
Another advantage of printing on cardstock is that it is readily available at most office supply stores and online retailers. You can easily find a variety of cardstock options in different colors and textures to suit your needs.
Cardstock is also versatile and can be used for a variety of printing projects, from art prints to greeting cards and invitations.
You can print your artwork on cardstock and then cut it to size or mount it on a larger piece of paper or board for display.
Disadvantages of Printing Art Prints on Cardstock
While printing art prints on cardstock has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider. I’ll go through these with you now.
One potential drawback is that cardstock is thicker and heavier than regular printer paper, which can make it more difficult to feed through your printer.
You may need to adjust your printer settings or manually feed the paper to ensure a smooth printing process.
Another potential disadvantage of printing on cardstock is that it may not be suitable for all types of artwork.
If your artwork has fine details or delicate textures, printing on cardstock may not produce the best results. In these cases, you may want to consider using a different type of paper or printing method.
Finally, it is important to note that not all cardstock is created equal. Some types of cardstock may not be suitable for printing artwork, as they may not hold ink well or may produce uneven results.
It is important to do your research and choose a high-quality cardstock that is specifically designed for printing. And make sure your printer can handle feeding and printing on cardstock. This will be listed in the weight and size paper your printer can handle.
How to Make Art Prints on Cardstock
Choosing the Right Cardstock
To make art prints on cardstock, you need to choose the right type of cardstock. Not all cardstock is created equal, so it’s important to select a cardstock that is appropriate for your artwork. I start with the thinnest cardstock and work my way up but I found the sweet spot is around 100lb. I also like to work using a satin or matte cardstock, never glossy.
Some things to consider when choosing cardstock include the weight, finish, and color. For art prints, it’s best to use a heavyweight cardstock that is at least 80lb.
This will ensure that your art print looks professional and is durable enough to withstand handling, shipping and hanging.
A matte finish is preferred for art prints, as it reduces glare and provides a smooth surface for the ink to adhere to.
As for color, white or off-white cardstock is recommended, as it provides a neutral background that won’t interfere with your artwork.
Preparing the Artwork
Before printing your artwork on cardstock, you need to ensure that it is properly prepared. This includes formatting the artwork to the correct size and resolution, as well as making any necessary adjustments to the colors and contrast.
Scan Your Image to 300DPI
To format your artwork to the correct size, measure the dimensions of your cardstock and adjust your artwork accordingly. It’s also important to ensure that your artwork has a resolution of at least 300dpi, as this will ensure that the print is crisp and clear.
Lastly, adjust the colors and contrast as needed to ensure that your artwork looks its best when printed.
Printing the Artwork
Once your artwork is properly prepared, it’s time to print it on the cardstock. To do this, you’ll need a printer that is capable of handling heavyweight cardstock.
I recommend using a printer that has a straight paper feed path, as this will prevent the cardstock from jamming. This is usually found at the rear of the printer and not using the paper feeder tray.
When printing your art print on cardstock, select the appropriate paper size and orientation, and ensure that the printer is set to the highest quality setting.
Make sure to use the correct ink cartridges, as using the wrong type of ink can result in smudging and fading over time. This means using ink that is archival quality and not a cheap refill ink. Use the branded and high quality ink for your printer.
Tips and Tricks
Experiment with Different Cardstocks
When it comes to making art prints on cardstock, it’s important to experiment with different types of cardstock to find the one that works best for your artwork.
You want to find a cardstock that is thick enough to hold the ink but not too thick that it won’t feed through your printer.
Try different weights and textures until you find the one that works best for your printer and your artwork.
Consider the Finish
The finish of the cardstock can also affect the quality of your art prints.
Glossy cardstock can give your prints a shiny, professional look, while matte cardstock can give your prints a more subdued, artistic feel.
It’s important to consider the finish of the cardstock when choosing the type of paper to use for your art prints. If you are unsure, pick a matte cardstock.
Take Care of Your Printer
Your printer is a crucial part of the art printmaking process, so it’s important to take care of it. Make sure to clean your printer regularly to prevent ink buildup and clogs.
Also, make sure to use the correct settings when printing on cardstock to prevent paper jams and other issues.
By taking care of your printer, you can ensure that your art prints come out looking their best.
Can you make art prints on cardstock – Wrap up!
Printing art prints on cardstock can be a great option for artists who are looking for an affordable alternative to traditional fine art paper.
While cardstock lacks some of the characteristics that make fine art paper ideal for printing, it can still produce high-quality prints with vibrant colors and sharp details.
When choosing a printer for cardstock printing, it is important to look for one that can handle thicker paper weights and has a high printing resolution.
The Epson SureColor P600 (sadly discontinued but you can pick one up second hand) or its replacement, the Epson SureColor P900 17-Inch Printer or the Canon PIXMA Pro-100 are excellent options for printing on cardstock.
It is also important to choose the right type of cardstock for your prints. 12pt cardstock is a good choice for photo-quality prints, while 24pt cardstock is better suited for larger prints or prints that will be framed.
While cardstock may not be the best option for every type of art print, it can be a great choice for artists who are looking for a more affordable alternative to fine art paper.
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Joseph Colella is a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While he holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent style he spent years trying to get into various Art degrees from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), and failed to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. In his spare time, he writes for the this blog, WastedTalentInc, where he shares practical advice on art, making art, and art materials. Joseph’s art has been sold to collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art and copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com