Your printer is useful for a lot more than just printing out school assignments and concert tickets. Sure, it can get you through a hard day at the office, but there's no reason to limit it to mundane tasks. Here are five ways to think beyond the paper and use your printer to create unconventional, personalized items that make a one-of-a-kind impression.
1. Bag it with Style
Custom printed treat bags add an element of party pizzazz you just can't get with store-bought supplies. Blogger Damask Love features a great tutorial for creating your own. Begin by measuring your selected paper bag - standard lunch size bags work nicely, or you can splurge on those with specialty dimensions - so you have the appropriate paper size to configure in your printer settings.
With smaller bags, it may be helpful to tape each one onto a piece of paper so it's easier to feed it through your printer. Then, simply design your bag on your computer and print it the same as regular paper. Keep a stack next to your printer for impromptu party bags, gift wrap, or even an extra special lunch sack...the design possibilities are endless.
2. Stencil It In
Stencils add texture and interest to otherwise plain surfaces, but they can often be costly to purchase and difficult to customize to your exact specifications. With your PIXMA printer and some inkjet transparency paper, you can create your own and save some of that dough for other DIY projects.
Select a pattern or create a design using simple fonts and shapes, then crop it or tile the design so it fits the dimensions of your transparency sheet. Print your artwork on the transparency sheet, then use an Xacto knife or razor blade to carefully slice away the design and create your custom stencil. All you have to do from there is decide where you want the design, tape down the edges (or spray a little bit of stencil adhesive) so the transparency sheet doesn't slip, and start painting.
3. See Through Creations
Window clings are an easy and removable way to add some embellishment, whether you're decorating your home for the holidays or accessorizing a boring bathroom mirror. But why settle for generic designs when you can make your own with some window cling paper and your PIXMA printer? These clear sheets of floppy plastic are printable on one side and cling to the glass on the other, so the printer ink doesn't transfer to the mirror or window. Plus, the low-tack adhesive is both easily removable and reusable, so you're never stuck with the same old design.
Begin by selecting an image or creating custom artwork using illustrator software. Then simply print the design to the window cling paper (you may need to print in reverse if you're displaying type through a car window), peel off the backing paper and apply your creation to the glass.
4. Illuminate Your Designs
With a sheet of clear acetate, you can dress up plain glass candleholders with custom designs that can be changed on a whim. Begin by downloading a favorite pattern or creating one of your own, then use your PIXMA printer to reproduce the design on the piece of acetate. After you've trimmed the acetate to fit inside the glass holder, secure it with a strip of double stick tape. Add a candle or a few fairy lights to finish the effect. It's a great way to jazz up a single candle, or create an array of designs at varying heights. To add a pop of color or mute the illumination slightly, add a piece of plain or dyed vellum paper trimmed to the same size as the acetate.
5. Fancy Up Some Fabric
There's no need to limit your printer to paper-only projects. Fabric makes a great canvas for your favorite photos and designs as well. A burlap sign, for example, can bring a rustic touch to your foyer. Place a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) on top of a piece of burlap, then iron the two materials under medium heat so they fuse together lightly. Trim the fused piece to a standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper size so it's easier to program your printer settings. Once you've created a design on your computer, print it to the burlap/freezer paper combination so the fabric side receives the ink (this may be facing up or down, depending on your printer). The freezer paper supports the fabric as it runs through the printer, making it sturdier and less likely to smudge. After it's done printing, peel off the freezer paper, add a few embellishments if you desire and frame your masterpiece.
- Damask Love: Print Your Own Treat Bags
- Reality Daydream: How to Make Your Own Stencil
- Metro Parent: Print Your Own DIY Temporary Tattoos
- Apartment Therapy: Pro DIY Project: David Stark's Patterned Party Luminary from the Printer
- A Subtle Revelry: How to Print on Paper Napkins