Print Perfect Printables at Home with 3 Easy Steps

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Last Updated on November 12, 2022 by Sarah McCubbin

Do you want to print perfect printables at home without a lot of hassle? I create and use printables for planners, scrapbook pages, baby books and more. And in those cases, I want it to print as if I purchased it from the store. I certainly don’t want to buy some printables and them have them print and look streaked or undefined.

So here are my current best practices for getting Perfect Printables!

(Included below are products I recommend and include affiliate links which may give me a small commission if you purchase through the link at no extra cost to you.)

1. Paper…Paper…paper!

If you are a bargain paper person, this may be the moment you decide to splurge a little. Your paper is really important when you want to print perfect printables.

If I am printing scrapbook pages…or baby book pages, I want heavy-weight paper and I want it to print very sharp. That is why I always use Canon Matte 8 1/2 x 11 Photo Paper for these special projects. When you open it up, it looks like cardstock, but one side is definitely brighter. That is the side you will want to print on.

I tried using a traditional 92lb weight white cardstock and the print is just more muted. It would work…but I’ve used this for year and it prints just beautifully. This paper is excellent for printing photos as well if you want something without a shine. I like to print on it if I’m putting in a picture frame because the gloss from some photo paper will stick to the glass and this does not.

If I’m printing something like planner pages, I still want sharp printing but on lighter-weight paper. For this, I use Hammermill Premium Color Copy Paper. If you want to print perfect printables that mimic quality store bought planners, I highly recommend this paper.

2. Printers & Photo Quality Settings to Print Perfect Printables

I don’t have a fancy printer. I have a basic Brother Inkjet model that I bought years ago. It isn’t fancy. But when you want to print perfect printables the most important thing is that it prints without streaking!

I have used Laser printers in the past but when they lay down the ink there is often a sheen that may or may not affect the final image.

Printer Settings:

Scrapbook Pages, Baby Books and Other Heirloom Prints – If I am printing one of these types of printables, I am making a project that I want to last a long time and I want it to look good! So I ALWAYS choose the PHOTO QUALITY on my printer. No exceptions. They will print much slower, but they will look amazing on the Canon Matte Paper.

For planners or journals, I will use the Hammermill photo paper and print in BEST QUALITY….or GOOD QUALITY. Here its a matter of personal preference. I like the higher quality paper because it holds up better long term. But the ink quality is personal preference. If I buy printables, I often do it because I want to be able to customize my planner or journal…but I still want that high quality feel when it is done.

print perfect printables

3. Albums & Page Protectors

Like anything, you can choose something all over the place quality-wise. My personal preference goes something like this for albums.

Albums for Creating – for books that I will be adding to over time like my Children’s School Memory books, I often choose a practical plain binder that is sturdy but won’t get easily damaged as I’m stuffing school memorabilia into it. They are relatively inexpensive during back to school season. I’ll usually choose a 3 or 4 inch binder so it will last me awhile.

Then…when I’m done with it…I’ll move the contents over into something I want to see stored on my shelf

Albums for Long Term Memory Storage – For this I like to use a Leather looking D-Ring album that is easy to add/subtract pages but also looks nice on the shelf.

Here is my favorite: W R Memory Keepers 8.5″x 11″ Classic Leather 3 Ring Binder

Once I have an album to use, I need some page protectors. If you have some of these kicking around your house, you will notice that most of the time they are flimsy and have a have a slightly foggy finish. Since I do so many albums, I have tested quite a few page protectors.

Scrapbook albums will come with about 10 but that is not nearly enough for my needs and they are pretty expensive to buy in packs if you need a lot. So here is my recommendation. I use the Avery 74100 Heavy Duty Diamond Clear Page Protectors. They are very clear and sturdy and don’t have an annoying white strip along the binding which cheaper ones often have.

Ok…that is the basics of what I use and recommend for printing high quality printables at home. If you have other great suggestions please let me know. I love all things paper!!

If you are new to homeschooling and looking at all the printable curriculums, here are a few articles that may help:

8 Steps to Planning Your Homeschool

7 Steps to Buying Homeschool Curriculum When You First Begin

(Updated 8/26/2022)