How to Make Art Prints Without a Printer: Easy Alternative Methods

How to Make Art Prints Without a Printer Easy Alternative Methods

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Have you ever wanted to make art prints without a printer? I remember that feeling when I realized that I could make way more money selling many copies of prints of my art than selling originals once. For that to happen, I had to learn how to make art prints without a printer as I was dead broke.

With my years of experience as a visual artist and a bit of research (as I don’t know everything, I wish I did), I have discovered some fun and simple methods to create stunning art prints without needing a printer at home.

Let me share them with you to help you bring your favorite artwork to life in a printed format.

How to make art prints without a printer – Summary

When working out how to make art prints without a printer, one option is to visit a local copy and print store or use an online printing service. Problem solved, too easy. I found this to be a great alternative when I don’t have access to a high-quality printer.

These services can also offer expert advice on which paper type works best for your project. I’ve enjoyed using local print shops to create beautiful prints of my artwork without worrying about the technical aspects of printing.

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, another option might be to create your own art prints at home using a pro-quality inkjet printer.

It requires some trial and error, but with patience and the right equipment, I’ve been able to make amazing prints that are both affordable and satisfying. This method involves digitizing your artwork with a scanner, making any necessary edits on a computer, and selecting the right paper type for your needs.

But I did say that this post was all about learning how to make art prints without a printer so having one option as “use a different type of printer” is a bit dumb so let’s look at alternative printing methods.

Alternative Printing Methods

Are you looking for a way to make art prints without a printer? I’ve got you covered! In my years of experience as a visual artist, I’ve explored several alternative printing methods that can produce beautiful results.

I’ll share three of my favorite methods with you: Block Printing, Screen Printing, and Cyanotype. Let’s dive in!

Block Printing (also Lino Printing)

Block printing is an ancient technique that involves carving a design into a solid block of material such as wood, linoleum, or rubber.

I find this method very therapeutic and hands-on. To start, you’ll need to transfer your design onto the block and carve it out using special tools.

Once you’ve carved your design, apply ink or paint to the raised areas of the block using a roller or brush. Then, place your block onto the desired paper or fabric, apply pressure, and lift the block to reveal a beautiful print.

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Block printing offers a unique and slightly imperfect look that I find charming! Plus, you can create multiple prints with ease.

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Screen Printing

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, lets you create vibrant, versatile prints on various surfaces. This method uses a mesh screen stretched over a frame to hold a stencil of your design. I’ve found that this technique is great for multi-color prints and large-scale projects.

To begin, you’ll need to create a stencil of your design and attach it to the mesh screen. Next, place the screen on top of your paper or fabric and apply ink onto the mesh.

Using a squeegee or similar tool, spread the ink evenly across the screen, allowing it to seep through the open areas of the stencil and onto your chosen surface.

When you lift the screen, you’ll reveal a stunning art print. This method can take some practice to perfect, but the results are definitely worth it! Plus, you can reuse the stencil for multiple prints.

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Cyanotype

Do you love the dreamy, blue hues of cyanotype prints? I do too! Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that uses a light-sensitive solution and UV light to create stunning prints.

I find this method perfect for botanical prints and abstract art.

To make your own cyanotype, begin by mixing a light-sensitive solution and applying it to watercolor paper or fabric. Allow the solution to dry in a dark area.

Once it’s dry, place your desired objects or a negative image on top of your treated surface, then expose it to UV light, such as sunlight, for a period of time.

Next, rinse your paper or fabric in water to remove the unexposed solution, and watch your beautiful blue print emerge!

One thing to keep in mind: Cyanotype prints have a specific, limited color palette, but this limitation can challenge your creativity and lead to truly unique results.

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Prepare Your Artwork

I’ve learned that preparing artwork for prints without a printer involves a few key steps. Let me guide you through them.

Choose the Right Medium

When creating your artwork, think about what medium will reproduce well without a printer. Using mediums like pen, ink, or markers work well because they are clear and easy to replicate.

Charcoal drawings and paintings can be more challenging, but with proper planning, it’s doable.

Consider investing in high-quality pens, markers, or paints, as the quality of the medium will certainly show in the final art print.

Optimize Image Quality

One of the key things I focus on is optimizing the quality of the image, even if I’m not using a printer. Ensuring that the image is clean and crisp makes a huge difference.

To optimize image quality, using a scanner to digitize the artwork is a great option. A good quality scanner will allow for high DPI (dots per image) size, ensuring a clear reproduction of the artwork.

Before scanning your art, make sure both the scanner bed and the artwork are clean. Take the time to correct any imperfections on your art, like eraser smudges, before scanning them.

Consider Size and Scale

When I create my art, I keep in mind how the size and scale of the piece will affect the print quality. If your original artwork is too large for your scanner, you can still create high-quality prints by scanning the piece in sections or asking a print shop to assist.

Lastly, remember that it’s very important to create art with the end goal of printing in mind. This helps you choose the right medium, optimize image quality, and consider the size and scale of your art. With these steps in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful art prints without a printer!

Choosing Materials

When I make art prints without a printer, choosing the right materials plays a key role in the outcome. Let me shed some light on the materials I usually consider:

Selecting Paper

Using high-quality paper means a lot to me as an artist. My go-to paper for art prints is acid-free, archival quality paper, which can withstand indirect sunlight without fading.

Textured heavyweight papers or cotton rag papers work wonders for providing a luxurious feel to art prints. Remember these factors while picking the paper:

  • Weight: Thicker paper (above 200gsm) gives a professional touch to the prints.
  • Whiteness: Neutral or warm tones make my prints look more sophisticated.
  • Texture: Slightly textured paper enhances the look when working with certain mediums.

Inks and Paints

Using top-notch inks and paints is just as important as selecting the right paper. I enjoy experimenting with different types of paints and inks, but here are some of my favorites:

Type of PaintCharacteristics
Watercolor InksI love watercolor inks for their vividness and luminosity. Mixing colors is a breeze, and they are perfect for wet-on-wet techniques.
Acrylic InksBeing water-resistant and permanent, acrylic inks are versatile for various surfaces. I appreciate their strong pigmentation and lightfastness.
GouacheI’m quite fond of gouache paints for their dense, opaque coverage, and matte finish. They also allow for easy color blending and corrections.

Considering these materials will surely elevate your art prints and provide a professional look even without a printer.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve created your art prints without a printer, let’s move on to the finishing touches. These extra steps will give your prints a professional appearance and help them last longer.

I’ve gathered some tips on how to sign and number your prints, protect and store them, and display and sell them. Let’s dive in!

Hand Sign and Number Prints

I like to hand sign my art prints to add a personal touch and show that they are original pieces. Use a good quality pen, like an acid-free archival pen, and choose a spot on the print to sign.

If it’s a limited edition print, it’s a great idea to include the edition number, like “2/50” for example. This adds value to your artwork and shows that it’s part of a limited run.

Protect and Store

It’s essential to protect your art prints from damage, so they remain in pristine condition. I typically use acid-free plastic sleeves to store my prints.

Simply slide the print in, and it’s protected from dust, fingerprints, and light damage. Storing prints flat, in a sturdy archival box or drawer, will also help prevent damage.

  • Use acid-free plastic sleeves
  • Store flat in an archival box or drawer

Display and Sell

If you want to display your prints for yourself or potential buyers, invest in quality, minimalistic frames and mats that highlight the artwork without overpowering it.

I also like to use gallery walls, which allow you to display multiple pieces in an eye-catching arrangement.

If you decide to sell your prints, you can set up an online shop or attend local art fairs and events. Social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, can help you showcase your work and connect with customers.

How to make art prints without a printer – Wrap up!

Learning how to make art prints without a printer is a fun and accessible way to create beautiful pieces of art that you can display or give as gifts.

With just a few simple supplies and some creativity, anyone can make a unique and personalized print that reflects their individual style and personality.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just starting out, this method is a great way to experiment with new techniques and explore your creative potential.

So why not give it a try and see what kind of amazing prints you can create?

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Joe Colella - Chief Wasted Talent
Joe Colella – Chief Wasted Talent

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