Print your own fine art

Print your own fine art

Have you ever thought of printing your own art to liven up your home? It’s actually pretty easy. Here’s the whys and hows:

Why print your own art?

Two words: money, and control.

First off – money. There are lots of sites selling prints out there, and some of them have decent prices and are trustworthy, but you’re likely going to be paying more than you would if you print yourself, especially when you factor in shipping and overhead.

Second – control. If you’re in possession of an image file, then you can easily replace your lost or damaged print for just the price of the print itself. You can also crop the art to fit the frame you want, and use the image for other things – website enhancements, phone backgrounds – whatever the license allows.

Let’s get going …

Step 1: Get your hands on some digital artwork

Whether the piece you’re printing is in traditional oils, watercolors, or is a 3D creation made on a computer, you’ll need a digital version to send to the printer.

Where to get the image

If this is your own art, you’ll need to get a good photo or scan of it.

If you’re looking for original fine art to print, there are a number of resources available to you.

Did you know? You can make a print using our own artStock images.

You can also try other affordable stock sites, such as Ikon images, or classics like Shutterstock or iStock. The latter two are much more traditional stock, but some fine art can be found.

For zillions of free images that you may be able to use for prints (check the license for each image before going ahead), check out this article for free images for artists.

What you’ll need once you’ve got your art image file

Before sending off to print, your sharp, high-resolution image file should be:

  • 200-300 DPI (What is DPI?)
  • The right dimensions. In other words, if you’re printing a 12″ x 8″ piece, you’ll need an image that’s at least 2,400 pixels (12 * 200 DPI) x 1,600 pixels (8 x 200 DPI). Here’s a print dimensions calculator.
  • CMYK format (How do I convert an RGB formatted image to CMYK?)

Step 2: Print!

If you’re printing at home

Modern home printers are actually pretty good at dishing out a good quality image, especially if you use high-quality photo paper. You should get a fairly heavy weight photo paper. A heavier weight can take more ink without cockling. Depending on the look you’re going for, check the sheen of the paper as well. Many companies produce matte and satin finishes aside from the more common glossy. Finally, if you want the print to last longer you can look for an acid-free recipe.

Printing at home is probably the most economical choice if you already have the printer and ink, although you’re limited of course to print size and material. Many new printers have a “full-bleed” option to push the image to the paper’s borders, giving you a few more square inches of printable area.

Printing at a local shop or online

Near me is a Costco, and they have a good, inexpensive print shop. If you have one nearby, you can get a 16×12 canvas print for less than $30. If you need to ship it, it will still be under $40. That size canvas print ordered on a popular fine art printer competitor is more than double that price.

I’ll list some more online options below, but you might want to look around your town and see if there’s a local printer that can give you a deal. You should just be able to pick the size print you want, send them the image, and take it from there.

You’re done.

Not too shabby, eh? It takes one or two extra steps, but printing your own art can save you a ton of money, which you can spend on more art prints, or cookies, or tiny orphaned chipmunks, or anything else that will offer a good or service for money, I suppose.

Have any more tips you’d like to add? Please feel free to share them in the forum.

Some affordable online printers:

These are just suggestions … please do your own research before ordering. Also, click around if you want something other than canvas prints, since these guys offer lots of options.

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