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How to Make Holiday Cards

How to Make Holiday Cards

No matter what you celebrate; holiday cards are always appreciated this time of year.  In this festive guide, we offer some quick tips on how to create an amazing custom holiday card and break down a handful of worthy printers that can bring your creation to life.  To get started, take a moment to review a few holiday card essentials…

What type of holiday card do I want create?

First, you’ll want to decide whether you want a photo holiday card or graphic based holiday card.  Both are great options and with so many free card templates available, you don’t need to be an expert in Adobe® Photoshop® to create a memorable card.  Photo holiday cards are by far the most common type of holiday card, it’s always nice to receive an updated photo from an out of state friend or family member each year! Graphic based cards are far easier to send out (no annual holiday photo shoot!) and just as cherished, especially if you include a personal message in each card. 

Microsoft Templates

Microsoft® offers dozens of card templates for holidays, birthdays, invitations and special occasions.  Some of the designs can look a little dated but they are easy to use if you are comfortable with Microsoft Word.  Just add a fun font and a photo and you are on your way.

HP Photo Creations

HP® Photo Creations is free for all to download, even if you don’t own an HP printer!  All of the holidays covered and if you’re feeling creative, you can design your own card with the help of HP’s design ideas. You can also adjust the card size, change the layout and choose between flat and folded cards.  Designs are on par with the card template options you’ll find at your drugstore photo kiosk, and best of all, you can skip the trip to the drugstore.

Brother Creative Center

The Brother® Creative Center has a variety ready to print and customizable card templates for every occasion and they provide instructions on how to download, edit and print each design.  Some great free printable holiday party kits are also available for download, including place cards, napkin rings, and table decorations…perfect for adding a dash of festive flair to your next holiday party.

How many cards will I be printing?

If you have dozens of family and friends on your send list, printing costs can add up fast.  Consumers with high volume printing needs should pay attention to the page yield and price of the printer cartridges that go with your prospective printer to keep costs down.

Page yield is the approximate number of pages you can print with one cartridge.  The yield that is quoted on the box should be considered a rough estimate as many different factors can affect the actual number of prints you get from a cartridge. In order to hold printer manufacturers accountable to the same standards, every cartridge is subjected to page yield testing based on ISO/IEC 24711 specifications. This test helps determine what the page yield of an ink cartridge will be, giving customers a reliable way to compare competing products. The manufacturer’s cited page yield for ink cartridges is given at 5% coverage, which means that the quoted page yield is based upon printed pages where only 5% of the page has been imprinted with ink. 

Most cartridges are sold in a standard yield and high yield size.  High yield, or XL cartridges are filled with more ink and are a better value for consumers with frequent printing needs, but they tend be more expensive if you buy the original brand.  The yield and price varies significantly across printer cartridges and depending on the printer, can really make or break your printing budget. To make a smart buy, you need to consider the cost per page of each cartridge. Determining the cost per page is relatively easy; just divide the printer’s page yield by the cost of the ink cartridge.  An original HP 952XL black cartridge, for example, prints 2,000 pages and sells for $34.99, giving you a cost of 1.7 cents per page. High quality compatible cartridges are cost effective alternative and perform just as well at a far cheaper cost per page.  An LD brand compatible HP 952XL high yield cartridge also prints 2,000 pages for just $14.99, giving you a cost per page of .75 cents.  LD Products offers thousands of affordably priced compatible cartridges for almost every printer model.

What paper should I use?

Before you buy a particular paper type in bulk, check to make sure that the paper size is compatible with your printer model.  Most printers can handle standard 4”x6” and 5”x7” photo sizes, but it’s never a sure bet!  Consider buying a smaller sample pack size to test print quality and printer compatibility.  Results can vary depending on your printer model and its capabilities, so it’s best to do a couple of test runs before making a major investment. Holiday photo cards are typically printed on a glossy photo paper but other paper types are available, it’s all up to preference.  Matte paper offers a smooth look with very little glare, making it a good choice for cards with a lot of text or graphics.  Every printer manufacturer sell their own paper for their printers, but don’t feel obligated to buy name brand paper.  We’ve included a few solid paper options below:

LD Products® Premium Glossy Photo Paper, 4”x6” / 20 pack – $2.49*

HP® Glossy Photo Paper, 4” x 6″ / 100 pack – $9.99

Canon® Matte Photo Paper, 8.5″ x 11″ / 50 pack – $9.99

HP® Glossy Photo Paper, 5” x 7″ / 60 pack – $22.99

Do I need to print on envelopes too?

Don’t forget the envelopes!  Check the printer specifications on the printer manufacturer’s website to confirm whether your printer is capable of printing directly on an envelope.  If configuring your printer’s envelope settings gets frustrating, it may be easier print addresses on a set of blank labels.  Avery® has some great holiday themed label templates available online.  Just create a free account, search for your label product number and browse their library of designs.

Which printer should I buy?

Searching for a new printer can be overwhelming.  To help, we’ve selected a few highly rated printer models that are sure to give your holiday cards a sharp, professional look!

Canon® PIXMA® TS-9020 – $69.99 on Amazon

If you are looking for a versatile, compact printer that can handle a range of print jobs, the Canon PIXMA TS-9020 is a smart choice.  Six individual ink cartridges offer vibrant color prints and a built-in memory card slot lets you access photos straight from your camera.  The printer is compatible with a variety of paper types, including glossy, semi-gloss and matte photo paper.  Wondering which paper is best for spreading holiday cheer? Canon’s matte photo paper has a heavyweight texture that is similar to card stock, giving your cards a smooth and sophisticated appearance.  Ink cartridges are offered in a standard yield and high yield cartridge size.  An original Canon PGI-270 XL cartridge black cartridge prints 500 pages for $24.99 and each CL-271 XL color cartridge prints 300 pages for $19.99. Cut down printing costs when you purchase LD brand compatible PGI-270XL and CLI-271XL cartridges.  At just $6.99 apiece, you can save up to 70%!

Key Features:

  • A sleek, practical machine that can handle a variety of print jobs
  • Six individual ink cartridges offer superior color quality
  • Compatible with many paper types and sizes

Epson® Workforce Pro® WF-4720 – $130.99 on Amazon®

Get laser sharp text and outstanding color photos with Epson’s Workforce Pro 4720 printer.  Featuring print speeds of up to 20 pages per minute and a simple to use wireless option, printing holiday cards is quick and easy.  Consumers with a long list of family members to send to this year will appreciate the generous page yield of the Epson 802 cartridges.  Sold in both a standard yield and high yield cartridge size, the high yield black cartridges print approximately 2,600 pages and each high yield color cartridge prints 1,900 pages.  Original Epson brand black 802XL cartridges are available for $49.99 and each color cartridge sells for $39.99.

Key Features:

  • Speedy, ink efficient all-in-one
  • Cartridges offer a generous page yield
  • Automatic duplexer conveniently prints on both sides of the page

Canon® Selphy® CP1300 – $159.00 on Amazon

Canon’s Selphy CP1300 is a compact portable photo printer that’s perfect for consumers seeking lab quality photo prints from the comfort of home.  If you are planning to include a couple of family photos along with your cards, the Selphy offers a quick way to print without the hassle of a drugstore photo lab or the wait time of an online photo printing service.  Capable of printing photos ranging from 2” x 2” – 4” x 6”, the printer uses dye sublimation ink to create a photo.  No need to worry about messy ink cartridges!  Canon’s KP-108IN color ink and paper set takes care of everything, with each pack printing 108 4”x 6” photos.  Ink and paper replacement can get pricey but the convenience of an instant at- home photo lab make it a compelling choice.

Key Features:

  • Great if you want to include photos along with your holiday cards
  • Take it anywhere! (includes a battery pack for printing on the go)
  • Does not use ink cartridges…all you need is Canon’s special photo paper.

HP® OfficeJet Pro® 8710 – $118.99 on Amazon

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 is an economical all-in-one printer with print/copy/scan options and an easy to use LCD touchscreen.  Capture memories with an assortment of paper types, including glossy, matte and professional photo paper.  The printer uses black, cyan, magenta and yellow HP 952 ink cartridges, which are sold in a standard yield and high yield size.  High yield cartridges are filled with more ink, making them a better option if you plan to print several cards.  Original HP brand high yield 952XL black cartridges are sold for $34.99, printing 2,000 pages. Each individual color cartridge is $31.99 and prints 1,600 pages.  LD brand compatible HP 952 cartridges are a great value at just $14.99 for the XL black cartridge and $13.99 for each compatible color HP 952 cartridge!

Key Features:

  • Quick and easy set up
  • Cartridges offer a generous page yield
  • Print, scan and copy features

Crafting the perfect holiday cards does take some time, but it’s all worth it the moment you get to drop your custom cards in the mail.  We hope you found this guide useful, if you have any card crafting tips or printer recommendations you would like to share, leave us a comment, or send us a card 🙂 

Happy Holidays!

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Amazon and Staples. All prices effective as of November 15, 2017.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

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