What’s the best printer for craft projects?
It seems as if we use our smartphones, tablets and computers for everything these days, and it turns out that even the most “hands on” of tasks can have a digital element if you know how. Today, craft projects that use both traditional and digital elements are all the rage. All you need is the right printer to bring your on-screen concept into the physical world.
Essentially, you have two choices of printer type. Inkjets are the most common and the least expensive. Laser printers are faster and used to be seen as too expensive for domestic use. However, these have dropped significantly in price. For either, there is a big choice from all the major manufacturers, and whichever you choose, you’ll get the best deal on consumables and HP printer ink prices if you shop online. So which type of printer is right for you?
These work by spraying tiny dots of ink onto the paper or printing surface. All those dots join together to form your image. You will have heard of the phrase dots per inch (DPI) in printing, and this essentially indicates the size of the dots and the clarity of the final image. The smaller they are, the more dots per inch, and the better the result.
Over the years, the quality of inkjet printers has improved, the DPI has got higher and the prices have come down. There are plenty of good quality printers that will only cost you £50 or so, but inkjet does have some drawbacks.
For one thing, while they usually produce professional-quality photographs, they are not always so good when it comes to graphics, greeting cards and so on. Also, the images can bleed if they get wet. Keep this in mind if you are planning to embellish your creation with glue – in this case, it is best to seal the printed image with acrylic spray before you do anything else.
A laser printer is a far more high-tech process using a combination of heat and electrostatic charge. It does not use ink cartridges but a toner, just like you get in a photocopier.
Images produced by laser printer have a lot going for them. They are sharp and clear, and the printers generally work much faster than inkjets – important if you are producing large volumes of output.
Images produced using a toner do not have the same problem with moisture as you get with inkjets, so there is no need to seal with spray. In fact, the only real downside to the laser option is that while they are great for images, their photo quality is usually not as good as you will get with an inkjet.
Laser printers have reduced significantly in cost over recent years, and while toners are more expensive than inkjet cartridges, they last longer, so over time, running costs for a laser printer are marginally lower.
Ultimately, it is a case of thinking about what kinds of images you will be creating in order to choose which type of printer is best for your needs.