DIY Print Projects Stand Out

DIY Print Projects Stand Out

Make Your DIY Print Projects Stand OutPrint projects are cool. Who doesn't love a well-designed concert poster (especially from Nashville's legendary Hatch Show Print) or a dapper invitation? When it's time for you to embark on your own print projects, be they wedding invitations or Christmas cards, it's easy to go over budget. A professor of mine got it right when he said, "you can have it fast, cheap or good. Pick two." Commercial printers can require minimum run sizes. Even though they look nice, Plastic cards at cost more. Odd sizes, folds and finishing all add to the bottom line.

Luckily, if you're up for contributing a little elbow grease or allocating a little more time, you can make unforgettable projects without breaking the bank. Specialty tools, old-school add-ons and smart design can take you a long way.

Clever Creations

Say, for instance, you're making postcards. Don't go to an office superstore and buy pre-perforated card stock. It's expensive and it looks like pre-perforated, generic card stock. You're probably limited to printing on letter-sized paper. Choose your stock accordingly and then design your creative postcard to fit the space. The fewer cuts you have to make to get a finished product, the better. Every cut you have to make will take time and increase the margin for error. Can you fit four postcards onto the stock and make only two cuts per page? Perfect. How about two postcards per page and one cut if you need a bigger final product? Set yourself up for success early. You'll be thankful later.

Equip Your Space

The school safety scissors you found in the junk drawer just will not suffice. A cutting mat, metal ruler, X-Acto knife and plenty of replacement blades will. Good materials will cost you upfront, but they are worth the investment. (Bonus tip: Putting two red solo cups together with a hole in the top is a great way to dispose of used blades, safely.) Always use a sharp blade and don't try to cut through too many sheets at once.

On a per project basis, you might accrue items like corner punches, which can add the luxe detail of die-cuts without the added expense.

Retro Revolution

If you were asked to pick out Maker's Mark bourbon from a lineup of comparable products, could you? Even if you're not a bourbon aficionado, we bet the signature red wax seal on the neck would give it away. Bottle wax was historically used to help preserve wine by creating a perfect seal and adding an additional layer of protection beyond the cork. Today it's largely unnecessary but synonymous with quality. Similarly, wax seals on correspondence were used to verify the identity of the sender (or signer) of a document. The seal of a king or other dignitary was known throughout the land. A starter kit for adding wax seals to letters can be purchased for under $20. If you're adding seals to a large quantity of products, purchase sealing wax that can be used with a glue gun instead of the traditional kind that can get messy quickly.

Once you've got your print projects under control, you can move onto other endeavors, like optimizing your wedding registry website for smartphones. What tips do you have for making a print project look more expensive? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!


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