Construction paper has found lots of creative uses among artists and crafters. And perhaps some of your best ideas, like cards, involve printing on the paper.
But, can you put construction paper in a printer? Yes, you can put construction paper in a printer, provided it is enabled for heavy paper printing and the paper is the right weight and size. However, be aware that the color of the paper will alter the tone of the final product.
You are probably wondering what settings, size, and weight these are and whether your home printer is enough. This post covers all you need to know before putting construction paper in a printer.
What Is Construction Paper?
Construction paper is a type of paper manufactured from wood pulp. Perhaps its other name, sugar paper, may sound more familiar.
It is thick, stiff, rough, matte, and available in various sizes and shades, making it attractive for arts and crafts. Its characteristics, however, make printing on construction paper quite a challenge.
Because the paper is thick, it may have trouble going through some printers. In addition, its rough, unfinished surface may result in fibers getting stuck in the printer and disrupting its normal functioning.
In the next segment, you’ll discover more about how to print on construction paper and the things to consider before doing it.
What To Consider Before You Put Construct Paper In A Printer
Construction paper is far different from the standard printer paper you might be used to printing on. It comes in bigger sizes, heavier weight, and is textured.
These properties are impediments to printing construction paper successfully. So how do you go about it? Consider the following factors before printing on construction paper.
Type Of Printer
The odds of putting construction paper successfully through a printer will depend on the design and type of machine you have. Not all models are eligible candidates for printing construction paper.
So, the first step is to scrutinize the user manual to find out whether your printer has the settings for printing on heavyweight paper. Attempting to force paper that is beyond the printer’s limits might result in a paper jam or potential damage to the printer’s internal components.
In addition, it would be best if it is an Inkjet printer. Inkjet printers are more efficient when it comes to handling a variety of paper thicknesses, even heavy ones.
Now you may be thinking, what about laser printers? A valid question there because laser printers and inkjet printers are the two most widely used types of at-home printers
Well, laser printers are specifically built for text printing. This aspect prevents many models from accommodating significant changes in paper thickness, locking out thick paper.
Note that we do have laser printer models that can print on paper as thick as construction paper, only that they are commercial models, way above the price range of home-use printers, thus inaccessible by many DIYers.
Another critical consideration is the available feed slot. If your construction paper is on the heavier side, opt for a printer with a straight print path as it does not curl the paper.
It slides in straight and comes out the same way, which is ideal for heavy paper that is not so flexible. Pushing your printer motor to pull heavy paper through the roller may be beyond its strength, causing jamming or potential motor breakage.
The thickness of the paper is generally referred to as the paper weight. And the reason you want to look into it is to ensure your construction paper does not exceed the printer manufacturer-approved weight.
However, ISO paper weight standards would be the most reliable way of knowing the weight of construction paper. The weight is measured in grams per square meter.
What is the weight of construction paper? The weight of construction paper varies by brand, but the majority falls between 100-130gsm, which is also 65-80lbs. This is the best weight to print without straining your machine.
However, there are much lighter and heavier brands of construction paper than that.
Construction paper comes in a variety of sizes. The four standard sheet sizes are 9×12, 12×18, 18×24, and 24×36 inches.
If you are familiar with printer-friendly paper dimensions, you will quickly realize that adjustments are necessary. Even the smallest size will not fit in a home printer.
The precise paper measurement should be 8.5×11.5″. Therefore, letting go of a few millimeters by trimming around the edges is required to put construction paper in a printer. Not unless your printer has the option for paper size customization.
In the event that your printer is accommodative of thicker sheets like construction paper, additionally consider that it will require extra time to dry.
Customarily you would touch printer paper immediately after printing without issues. But that’s not the case with construction paper.
The ink stays wet longer and will smudge or smear with premature handling. This is due to its matte absorbent surface.
Construction paper is neither smooth nor coated. It contains micro fibers that are highly absorbent and soak up the ink, which keeps the printed section soggy for a while.
To avoid messing up your prints, you’ll have to allow the sheet to dry for a considerable amount of time before proceeding with your project.
Also, remember not to keep them in a pile as you do regular paper to avoid smearing and ink transfer between sheets ruining your work.
To boost the drying speed of construction paper, print in low resolution. Printing in low resolution utilizes less ink. When the construction paper sucks up less ink, it will take a shorter time to dry.
Color Of Sheets
Lastly, it would help if you were keen on the color of the construction paper you want to print on. It would be best to keep off black, dark, or bold colored construction paper.
Ink does not show well on these shades of paper, and as you may know, inkjet printers do not have white ink cartridges. So anything printed on them will produce less than satisfactory results.
Your best bet would be to go with white construction paper as it gives the highest contrast and accurate colors. If it must be colored paper, we suggest pastel shades.
How To Print On Construction Paper
With the above factors in mind, you can put construction paper in the printer and print it using the following easy steps.
- Examine your printer and confirm whether it is capable of printing heavyweight paper. You can find this information in the user manual. If you don’t have one on hand, it is always available on the manufacturer’s website. You can also call/email them.
- Purchase good quality construction paper if you already haven’t. It should be an appropriate color, and the thickness should be compatible with the printer. Check that the surface is not too rough and is printable.
- Prepare the construction paper for printing by reducing the size. It usually comes in 9 x 12 inches. You’ll trim that down by cutting away a half-inch strip on two adjacent sides (along the length and width).
- Place your paper on the special feed slot for heavy paper, known as a straight paper path or rear feed slot. Printers designed to print on heavyweight paper will have this alternative printing option to the roller. If your construction paper is a lightweight version, you could print it normally.
- Ensure that the paper is flat and straight. If angled to the side, it will undoubtedly get stuck.
- Tweak the settings on the type of paper to print. Set it on heavy paper, matte, or cardstock. Any of these options are ideal for construction paper.
- Set it to print on low resolution. It will save you from wasting ink due to the spongy nature of construction paper while also improving drying time.
- Choose a design/text/image from your computer files and follow all the on-screen prompts, and print. Do not forget to set the printer back to regular paper printing once done.
- Keep it aside and allow it to dry. If printing several sheets, avoid bunching them up. Lay them spread out separately.
Can You Put Construction Paper In A Copy Machine?
You can’t and should not attempt to put construction paper in a copy machine. It is too heavy, and you’ll only end up jamming or even permanently damaging your copier.
Also, the itsy bitsy fibers from construction paper left behind inside the copy machine ruin the quality of any future copied prints.
So, can you put construction paper in a printer? Yes, you can as long as you have access to a printer with settings for printing on heavy paper. You must also ensure that the construction paper is of appropriate weight and color and is trimmed and printed in low resolution.
Should you put construction paper in a printer? If you must, then you could. There’s no reason to continue shelving brilliant crafts that require printing on construction paper. However, it is not advisable for frequent or bulk printing. You risk damaging your machine if not executed correctly.