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8 Tips for Printing Inkjet Greeting Cards

8 Tips to Help You Print Inkjet Greeting Cards

Eight tips, plus a bonus tips, for printing inkjet greeting cards from Red River Paper

Tip 1: Create a Custom Paper Size in Your Printer Properties

In order to use most pre-scored inkjet note cards, you'll need to define a custom paper size to your printer. Epson, Canon, and HP printers all have this feature. The trick is to always define paper sizes the same way. Set the width to the smaller dimension of your paper and the length or height will always be the longer dimension of your sheet. After that you only need to change the orientation button depending on how your greeting card is laid out.

Tip 2: Use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for Best Results

We recommend Photoshop or Photoshop Elements as your best option for greeting card layout and printing. The programs offer the most flexibility in terms of layout size, photo and text placement, as well as color management. Although Photoshop is an expensive program, the Elements version is quite affordable and offers all of the options you need. If you're not a fan of Adobe, Affinity Photo is a good alternative. Red River Paper supports these apps, plus others, in our greeting card support center. 

Tip 3: Printing on the Inside and Outside of Your Cards

Print the inside of your card first.

If you want to print text or graphics on the inside of your card, print that information first. This means the photo side will only pass through the printer once, which limits the possibility of scratching.

Tip 4: Before You Purchase Your Cards

Decide if you want to print photos on the outside AND inside of your card before you buy your paper.

Not all inkjet printable card stock is designed for photo printing on both sides. Decide ahead of time on your design then make your paper purchase. If you want photos on both sides of the paper look for a paper that is called double-sided or C2S.

Tip 5: Make Sure Envelopes Match the Your Card Size

Greeting cards are usually sized to Match Standard Envelope Sizes. Below is a chart to help you verify your envelope size is right:

Card Size Before Folding Envelope Name Envelope Dimensions 5.5" x 8.5 " A-2 4.375" x 5.75" 9" x 6.25" A-6 4.75" x 6.5" 7" x 10" A-7 5.25" x 7.25" 8.5" x 11" 5.75" x 8.75" 5.75" x 8.75" 8" x 9" #10 4.125" x 9.5" 5.25" x 10.5" Baronial Square 5.5" x 5.5"

Tip 6: Feed Only a Few Sheets at a Time

Most inkjet printers are not really designed to take large stacks of card stock and feed them consistently. Be gentle with your machine and only put 5-10 sheets in the paper tray at one time. With extra heavy papers or fine art cotton media, you may have to feed them one at a time. Some trial and error may be necessary.

See a VIDEO on Feeding the Paper

Tip 7: Clean Your Feed Rollers!

It is critical to keep the feed mechanism of your printer clean and free of inkjet coating and paper debris, which are key factors in paper misfeed. Go to Our Red River Feed For Helpful DIY Fed Roller Cleaning Instructions.

See a VIDEO on Feed Roller Cleaning

Tip 8: Photo Side First

When printing the outside of your card, make sure the photo side comes out first

Set your layout so that when you click print, the printer prints the photo side of the outside of your card first. This means the outside back of your card will come out of the printer last. This is helpful in preventing head strikes which can lead to black smudges on the edge of thick media.

See a VIDEO on Printing Photo Side First

Bonus Tip 1: What Side to Print?

Red River Paper's pre-scored note card stock is packed print side up in the box.

  • For Single-sided Cards pre-scored note card stock is packed with the Outside of the card side up in the box.
  • For Double-sided Cards pre-scored note card stock is packed print side up in the box.
  • You'll notice that the score line has two distinct sides - an indented side and a raised side. You will fold away from the indented side of any scored card. That is the direction where the paper is weakened to fold but not crack and break.

Of course, you'll want to print AND THEN fold. We also recommend that you allow sufficient time for the ink to dry before folding. Wearing white cotton or similar gloves is also recommended to avoid leaving fingerprints and smudges.

Bonus Tip 2: Square Cards

Square cards require extra postage

The USPS adds a "nonmachinable surcharge" to square letters. At this time the charge is 22 cents on top of the first-class rate.

Example - a 1oz. square card will cost $0.49 plus the $0.22 surcharge for a $0.71 total.

How to Print on a Card?

To print on a card, ensure your printer is equipped for handling thicker materials like cardstock. To begin, adjust the printer settings to accommodate the card's dimensions and thickness. Load the cardstock into the printer's paper tray, making sure not to overload it to prevent paper jams. It's advisable to use the manual feed slot if your printer has one, as this offers more control over the paper's path. 

Before printing, review your printer's guidelines on acceptable cardstock weight and size to avoid damaging the machine. Once properly set up, initiate the printing process and allow the printer to complete the task. Always handle the printed cards gently to avoid smudging the ink or damaging the surface.

How Do You Print a Card at Home?

To print a card at home, you'll need a printer capable of handling cardstock. Begin by designing your card using software or templates. Next, adjust your printer settings to match the dimensions and thickness of the cardstock. Load the cardstock into the printer's paper tray, ensuring not to overfill it. If available, use the manual feed option for better control. Check your printer's specifications for acceptable cardstock weight and size. Once configured, initiate the printing process and allow the printer to finish. Exercise care when handling the printed card to avoid smudging the ink or causing damage. With these steps, you can create personalized cards conveniently from the comfort of your home.

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Last updated: August 25, 2023

Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by Christian Ralph

There are many different media types when it comes to cardstock printing so it is vital to always double check what your printer can handle before attempting to print. This will prevent any issues with the printer or any mis-prints.

For our currently collection of the best printers for cardstock, be sure to check out our latest expert guide.

Common cardstock printing problems

Your printer many not be able to handle all types of thick paper so we would always recommend checking the specification, reading the documentation or speaking to a specialist if you’re unsure. Using the wrong media could cause issues or in the worst case, damage to your printer internally. You need to look out for what media types your printer can support and what the maximum media weight is. If your media is too thick it could cause paper jams as the printer won’t be able to handle it.

Your printer may only be able to handle cardstock via a specific tray or sometimes a manual feed, using the wrong tray could also cause jams or mis-prints. It’s always best not to overload the paper feed, some printers only allow one sheet through at a time, but as cardstock is thicker than standard media it’s always best to make sure you leave enough room. Ensure your media isn’t creased or ripped as this can also cause issues when printing.

We would recommend doing a test print beforehand. Make sure you only use one sheet of your heavy media and test the printer first, rather than loading the whole tray and sending your document to print. There can be a lot of information within your printer’s driver setting which is worth looking at and understanding. Here you can select what media type you’re using so that you can set the printer up correctly before printing.

How to print on thick paper/cardstock

  1. Open your document and select File > Print.
  2. Before sending your document to print, select Properties which will open your printer’s driver settings.
  3. Find the Paper Settings tab, this will allow you to select various media types that your printer can handle.
  4. Select your Paper Type. (Cardstock, Glossy Cardstock etc.)
  5. Ensure all other settings are correct, such as quality and paper size.
  6. Click OK > Print


How can I laser print on card without smearing?

Providing you have changed the paper type to a heavy gauge material, such as cardstock or heavy paper, your printer should do the job for you. By changing the preference, the speed your laser printer feeds the material through will slow down, giving it more exposure to the machine than it fusing the toner onto it. The toner will then fuse better to the card or heavy paper, and prevent it from smearing.

How do you copy on card?

You can copy on cardstock exactly the same way you would copy on paper. Simply keep the preference as a heavy paper type, and your printer will do the rest for you.

Can you print on cardstock with an inkjet printer?

Not only can you print on cardstock with an inkjet printer, but you can achieve really great results. Many inkjet printers can print on thick card as are versatile enough to print photo lab quality photos and graphics.

To help you choose the perfect card printer for your business we’ve put together our pick of The Best Printers for Cardstock.

8 Tips for Printing Inkjet Greeting Cards

Tips For Printing On Card


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