From vinyl stickers to eye-popping portfolios, anything printed on transparency films looks extraordinary. But, here’s the thing. Your printer, be it LaserJet or inkjet, has to support transparency films. Now, you might be thinking, can a regular printer print transparency? You’ll find many roundabout answers to this question on the Internet. Only a few can actually guide you to printing a print shop-worthy transparent photocard at home.
Besides, chances are, your inkjet printer does support transparency films (Drumroll, please!). They have been around for quite some time, right? We can help you find out how to print transparencies on any printer that supports this media. Don’t worry; we will also help you choose the best printer settings for printing transparencies and specialty papers alike. (There’s also a bonus section for troubleshooting common screen-printing errors!)
So, buckle up! It’s going to be an informative read, and it will only take a few minutes of your time!
How to Print Transparencies Perfectly
Printing transparencies is fairly easy on most printers. There are, however, a few things to consider before you head on to the printing part. You’ll find them in the next section down below.
For now, let’s look at the transparency printing how-to!
Step 1: Insert Transparency Film into the Feed
Both a transparency film and an acetate sheet have a printable side and a non-printable side.
Make sure that you are loading the printable side of the transparency media into the paper feeder.
Some printers (Canon PIXMA TS6220, Epson Stylus C88+) have dedicated slots for specialty paper- making it easier for you to load.
And finally, don’t make the mistake of loading inkjet transparency films into a laserjet printer.
Repeat after us- inkjet transparency films do not go inside a laserjet!
Step 2: Select the Photo/ Template
Honestly, this is the trickiest part of printing high-quality transparencies on your home printer. Unlike black-and-white documents or color photos, transparencies take a few steps altogether to be “print-worthy.”
For starters, make sure that the photo/design/template is in black-and-white format.
Remember, this step is applicable for achieving top-notch printing quality on dated printers only.
Luckily, printers nowadays produce 100% opaque, high-contrast color photos on transparencies and glossy vinyl sticker papers alike.
Step 3: Change the Paper Format
We’re assuming that you don’t print large transparencies on a regular. So, when you decide to print on specialty media, you need to change the settings on your printer app or computer.
You’ll find the option under “Paper Type” or “Media” on the screen. Now, you’ll see that the media has been set to “Plain Paper.” All you need to do is select “Transparency” from the drop-down!
Can’t find the option? Scroll down to our pro tips. Turns out- there’s more than one way to print transparencies!
Step 4: Customize Printing Commands
You have to select a proper resolution and size for the print. The default printing option works fine for printing on plain paper.
But the same resolution and size can render pixelated images on specialty media.
Unless your inkjet is a dedicated printer for print transparencies, you must always customize these settings to get the best possible print!
Preview the image after you have enlarged/reduced it to fit the desired size. If the image appears broken on the preview, it will come out pixelated on the transparency film as well.
Canon Pixma IX6820 can effectively reduce and enlarge digital files from 25% to 400%.
Step 5: Don’t Print in Bulk
Transparency papers are much costlier than plain paper. Besides, it takes a few minutes for a printed transparency film to dry completely.
So, making multiple copies at one go might smudge and smear the previous prints.
Printing transparencies one after the other and giving them enough time to dry gets the best results!
When you print transparencies on a brother printer, you can easily get smudge-free prints without giving it a break!
Pro Tip: Choose the “Photo Paper” Category When There’s No Option for Transparencies!
Truth be told, print shops don’t print transparencies on inkjet printers. Instead, they use a thermal printer with a spot color palette for rendering accurate colors (even the whites!).
Well, the whole point of this discussion is to get professional quality images from your good old inkjet printer. It still has hope for printing brilliant transparencies once you follow this amazing hack!
If you don’t find “transparency film” anywhere on the printing app layout, choose “glossy photo paper” instead.
Any well-priced, average home and office printer supports the usual plain paper, envelope, label, and photo paper. We almost gave up on the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3720 until we found out about this new printing hack!
So, you shouldn’t have any difficulty to print transparencies on Epson.
Things to Consider Before Printing Transparencies
With a quality inkjet printer, you can make customized vinyl stickers, archive-worthy art books, invitation cards, and portfolios.
Get the following things right before they start raining on your parade!
1. Print Quality & Paper Size
Take it from us- laser printers print on transparencies, but not nearly as good as inkjet printers.
If you want to ensure optimum printing quality, choose the right resolution and back it up with a suitable paper size.
This is why experts advise setting an appropriate resolution- one that fits what you’re printing.
Choose one too high or one too low, and you get heavily saturated or pixelized prints. We’re not playing Minecraft here, are we?
Now, more dpi does not necessarily mean a better outcome. While 300dpi is considered “playing it safe,” you can move up to 600dpi for printing basic templates. 1200dpi is preferable for printing detailed, vibrant photos in small sizes.
2. Borderless or Wide-Format Printing
If your printer supports wide-format transparencies, running a print shop can literally be your side hustle!
Canon Pixma IX6820 allows wide-format screen-printing. It makes all the difference when you factor in its divine 9600×2400dpi resolution!
That said, you can print transparencies on canon, and you sure can do it pretty well! Keeping the supported paper size (8.5″×14″) the same, Canon TS5120 is a more affordable inkjet printer for printing transparencies. If you don’t mind the drag in printing speed, that is.
3. What Type of Paper Do I Need for Printing Transparencies?
You can get quick-drying and waterproof transparency films for your inkjet printer. Semi-transparent vinyl papers, high-quality photo papers also work for printing transparencies.
Get acetate films or water-transfer decal papers for loading a LaserJet printer. Decal papers render fade-proof colors with high vibrancy.
4. How Long Should I Wait for Printed Transparencies to Dry?
The moment the color prints come out of your inkjet printer, they will display saturated color all over the paper. As you give it a few minutes to dry, you will notice how the colors feel more detailed and accurately balanced.
They might feel dry to your touch, but we advise you to wait at least two hours for the transparencies to dry completely.
If the prints still look outgassed, wait for a bit more (up to 24 hours).
Transparency prints look awesome when you get them right. No wonder why artists use transparency films for making stencils and monoprints and tracing portraits! They also render jaw-dropping portfolios- making yours stand out from thousands!
Now, the best thing about printing transparencies is the fun crafts and DIY cards you get to make!
Once you know how to print transparencies, you can mix and match templates, make signs and labels. But most importantly, have your printer go the extra mile other than printing assignments.
We hope you liked our take on the transparency printing do’s and don’ts. Best of luck!