February 21, 2019

Printing Your Custom GIMP Holiday Cards

Printing Holiday Cards Even if you Don't Have a Printer

  • December 17, 2009
  • By Akkana Peck

You've made your holiday cards with GIMP -- and now you're ready to print them on paper. What's the best way? Should you do it on your own inkjet printer at home, or farm the work out to someone else?

Get the image ready for printing

You may remember in the previous article that you sized your image to fit on half of a letter-sized page (A4 if you're outside the US).

Your image will go on the bottom half of the page, or the right half if you've used a vertical image. In theory, you could do this by setting sizes and offsets in GIMP's print dialog. But that's tricky in practice and it's easy to go wrong. Instead, convert your image to a full page before printing.

For that, use GIMP's Image->Canvas Size to double the height without changing the width (assuming a horizontal image like my example).

figure 1
figure 1

Follow the steps in Figure 1:

  1. Set units to percent
  2. Click the "chain link" so changing height won't affect width
  3. Change the Height to 200% and hit Tab
  4. Drag the preview down to the bottom of the preview area
  5. Change Resize layers to Image-sized layers: this will make the new area white, rather than transparent, assuming your photo layer doesn't have transparency
  6. Click Resize

Now the image is ready for printing. It's time to decide whether to print your own cards.

Tips for home printing

Card printing is fun if you have access to a color printer: you can experiment with different papers and customize each card ("Merry Christmas, Grandma!").

First trick: GIMP's Print dialog doesn't let you choose Portrait or Landscape, so if your card will be vertical (opening to the side rather than the bottom), use File->Page�Setup to set Landscape. Otherwise use Portrait.

Then bring up File->Print. Be sure to check the preview in the Image Settings tab (Figure 2).

figure 2
figure 2

Don't trust the detault sizes to be right; you may need to type in your paper Width and Height manually. You may want to Ignore Page Margins. It may not let you use quite the whole width, or the whole height. Don't panic -- just print a few tests on cheap paper in Draft mode (that's in the Advanced tab) until you're satisfied with the layout.

Then switch to your good thick photo-quality paper and High Quality or Photo mode.

Print shops

What if you don't want to fuss with ink and paper jams? There are lots of options.

Consider your local print shop. It might not be the cheapest option, but sometimes it's helpful to talk to an expert.

Or you can look online. There are so many online sites that I won't try to list or review them. There are online photo sites that offer printing on the side, as well as print shops that specialize in jobs like greeting cards and business cards. Just don't patronize any of those places that sends out bazillions of "500 business cards free!" spams, okay?

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