I see this question posted many of times on forums, “Have you ever bought from Etsy? What do you do about printing? Help!” So, I decided to create a post on my website that explains the ins and outs of printing DIY invitations and other party decorations. This post also addresses the cost of printing.
- Cardstock Paper 70 cents - $1.09 per page, 59 cents for standard paper (CT based pricing
- $2.00 per cuts, if your file is set up one invitation per sheet, that’s 4 cuts = $8.00
- If your file is set up 2 invitations per sheet that’s 6 cuts = $12.00
If you cut the the files at home you will need an exacto knife, ruler and cutting mat (recommended) or paper cutter (recommended), scissors are not recommended because it’s hard to get straight lines. For a price list at staples click here.
Upsides: easy, convenient, there is usually a Staples close by, you can print right there on the spot, or email/provide them with a flashdrive and it will be ready in 24 hours, relatively inexpensive for printing lower quantities (less than 10), can use your own paper
Downsides: Quality control, wait a long time to talk to someone from print and copy department, pricing on website is not always accurate and lists the starting price, not the actual price- need to call your local store to get the real pricing, have to buy envelopes
Quality control: poor, use laser printers and many of the associates do not check the quality, they simply just give you whatever comes off the machine
The cost can really vary depending on what type of printer you have (laser or inkjet) also brand, how much ink it uses, and if you print the file according to instruction (not counting for mistakes), also paper
Upsides: easy, convenient, relatively inexpensive for printing lower quantities (less than 5), can use your own paper
Downsides: can become pricier when you print quantities 5-10 depending on how much color/text is on the card, sometimes trial and error to make sure you set up the printing correctly (ie: fitting it to the page versus actual page), printing when there is low ink and then having to reprint again, experiencing lines in color and having to do alignments, etc.
Quality control: Good, You can become your own master printer and decide what you like best.
- must use Promo codes to get a discount
- Envelopes included
- Shipping- 3 business days, 5 business day, etc. (print and production), once you place order
- 20: front side flat 5 x 7 invitations $12.74 with discount, $17.00 without
- Shipping: 3 business 19.99, 5 days 6.99, economy, 4.99 (8 business days)
- 30 $18.74, $25 total
- shipping is the same if the order is under $20.00 with discount
Upsides: customer service is friendly, promo codes available, Jpeg, pdf, or png files accepted
Downsides: shipping is rather expensive and does take a while for economy choice (8 business days), quality is not good in some things I've seen, you have to use a promo code to get somewhat of a decent price
Local Printer (ie: Sir Speedy, Minuteman Press, Copy Shop)
Cost varies based on location and other factors.
Upsides: Personalized service, you can email someone directly, have a go-to contact person that sets up your print jobs for you (for future as well), sometimes can purchase envelopes for a fraction of the cost online or in stores
Downsides: Pricing can vary, not always consistent, Lead times vary, depends on what other projects they have available, You are not paying for the shipping, but have to consider travel time/time and if the difference is worth it, every printer has different requirements and limitations on file sizes when sending over artwork, if file sizes are too large you may have to provide them with a thumb drive of the artwork or ask to send it via dropbox or upload it to their server
Quality control: Varies, Depends on many factors. I've heard many stories, Some say their invitations came out great and others say local print shops botched their art.
Things to keep in mind:
- Contact your local printer before placing an order to see what their requirements are for printing and the approximate cost of printing. Sometimes you can save money by printing two invitations per page or you can opt out on printing the back of the card.
- Inform the designer or whomever you are buying from what type of file you need, this will save time for both you and the designer. If the designer does not know how you will be printing your file or what files you need they will provide you with different options, which takes extra time to prepare
- Ask the printer how you should upload the file and what the file size limits are
For the cost of printing flat invitations click here
5 x 7 front only, 3 business days, flat, 14 pt cardstock, $14.31 plus shipping + $13.51 = $30.00
Upsides: Can upload many different types of files, have lots of options to chose from, free proof, almost 5 stars
Downsides: no information available
CVS /Walgreens/ Costco /Walmart
Cost varies based on location and other factors.
Upsides: easy, convenient, usually one close by, I have heard good things from people, files have to be set up as jpeg or a photo file for printing.
Downsides: Do not use cardstock paper, They use photo paper (thinner than cardstock), Printing can vary based on calibration of machines, If you print a card like a photo don't expect it to look like a card, it will read as a photo, Will print glossy or matte, like a photo, not a card
Case and point
Shop Around! Designers usually get better rates than customers and know how to set up the files. At the end of the day it's sometimes easier to pay for the service of having someone take care of it for you. However, that all depends on how computer savvy you are and what you know about file preparation.
Have some tips to share? Please leave a comment. I'm hoping to constantly update this post so it has the most up to date information. Also, I'm interested in hearing feedback. This post is based off my experiences and stories I've heard from others. It's strictly an opinion and you can take it or leave it. If you disagree, please let me know why so I can have a better understanding and also educate others.