Tips and Tricks for Digital Scrapbook Printing

Scrapbooking Before the Digital Era

With more and more people turning to digital scrapbooking as their new hobby, you may want to learn how to print out these keepsakes to give to friends and family, as well as to keep for yourself. This article contains extremely useful tips for digital scrapbook printing, teaching you the proper DPI, image formats, sizing and resizing, and storage techniques.

Image credit: Image by nate steiner

Preparation to Print: DPI? What’s That?

For digital scrapbook paper, the higher the DPI, the better your image will print. The standard for printing is usually 300DPI, but you're easily safe with 175-200DPI. What does this mean? DPI stands for dots per inch, and the higher the dots, the crisper and clearer your image will appear. Photoshop's default is 75DPI, so be sure to increase your DPI before you get started.

Preparation to Print: Saving Pages

Be sure to save your images as PSD files or PNG files, as these are high-quality image formats that do not compress colors very much. At all costs avoid saving your pages on your computer as GIF and JPGs which will compress colors and come out looking far less than ideal.

If you're looking for more information about saving files, check out this article: Image Formats: What Should You Be Using?

Preparation to Print: Resizing

The overall size of your image is important as well! The problem with printing is that it is fairly easy to scale images down and have them be easily recognizable, but scaling them up often will leave you with a jumbled mess of stretched pixels. How do you fix this? Easy! Start working on a larger image before you even think about printing! A great size to start with is 2500×3300 pixels – This closely mirrors a standard sheet of paper that is 8×11.5 inches. It's okay if you start out a little larger, as I stated before, it's easy for your printer to scale down instead of up.

Preparation to Print – Paper: Choosing the Best Paper for Digital Scrapbooking

Photo & Specialty Paper

Choosing your paper is incredibly important! Do not reach for that stack of printer paper that you used to print your homework on. Aside from being extremely thin and flimsy, this paper will yellow with age, which is hardly ideal for scrapbooking purposes. Instead, reach for a heavier paper. Photo paper works well, but keep in mind that you'll likely want something that is a matte finish. Glossy papers will stick together (which risks tearing) when you compile them in books and are easily ruined by humidity.

Image Credit: Image By mag3737

Post Printing: Dry Time

Let The Images Dry

With increased ink usage from higher DPI, you're going to need to make sure you don't let your images touch after they are done printing. Lay them out flat on a table or shelf where they will not be bumped and let them air dry for ten minutes, no less.

Image Credit: Image by Pro-Zak

Post Printing: Storage

Slipping your finished pages into clear plastic covers and compiling them in a book or binder is a good idea. Not only will the plastic covers help to prevent scratches, tears, smudges, smears, dirt, and create a barrier between the pictures and moisture, they'll also allow you to easily remove, rearrange, and reorganize your work! These are often found at office supply stores, craft stores, and large shopping centers and sell for a few pennies a piece. You can find them in soft plastic or firm plastic, and with or without three holes punched in the side for binder storage.