Doing Your Own Giclée Prints by Heather Ackley (VAD Graphic Design Alumnus)
Those of you who are focusing heavily on your art and will be doing festivals may want to consider buying your own printer rather than outsource. It’s a personal preference. There are many options out there, and even some good $300 printers. However, the Epson 3880 Stylus Pro does archival prints with archival inks, and can print up to 17×22″ or 17x___ if you get a roll. I needed extreme color accuracy and quality, so I went for the gold.
I have compiled all the info you may need to invest in this type if printer, if the time comes. I had to come to the realization that I needed to spend money to make money, and this printer has more than paid for itself in the last 9 months.
So here you go…
• The printer I have (cheapest way to get it is Amazon) …I recommend getting a Prime account if you don’t have one. You can have paper overnighted to you in a bind for $4 shipping.
• I recommend getting the dust cover. You do not want dust getting inside of it.
• The paper I use is the Epson Velvet Fine Art, in 13×19, but it is available in many sizes. I buy it from PictureLine mostly, local. But sometimes from Amazon. It’s about $6 more from PictureLine.
Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper 13"x19" (20)
• It will come with enough ink to do quite a few prints. At least a hundred or two hundred. But when one of the cartridges does run out, this is what you’ll need: (there are 9 cartridges total, I’ve only had to replace about 5 so far and I print a ton).
There are also usually rebates from Epson for $200-250 at any given time.
• It will come with the drivers you need and is easy to install.I print directly from Photoshop.
• It is best to run the printer lightly and frequently, rather than running 50 prints every two months. One 13×19 sheet takes about 7 minutes to run through.
• I then cut them using a healing mat and sharp Xacto, using a metal ruler as the straight edge/guide.
• I buy my cello bags from GTbags, in various sizes. They last quite a while and are super cheap.
I hope this is of some help to you all! Oh, and I just use a simple cheap 8 year old Epson scanner to scan small pieces, and it works great.