Dr. Mac’s Guide to Making Special Projects with Specialty Paper

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #334

Looking around my office for this week’s column topic, I couldn’t help noticing two shelves with nothing but specialty paper products I’ve picked up over the years. And so, gentle reader, this week’s epistle is about interesting or useful projects I’ve made with such specialty paper and my inkjet printer.

Some of my favorite specialty papers...
Some of my favorite specialty papers…

Speaking of which, last December I mentioned that my Epson EcoTank ET-4750 printer—the one with gigantic refillable ink tanks rather than expensive ink cartridges—saves me around $100 a year on printer ink. I filled the tanks late last year, and six months later they’re still more than half full.

I still love this printer and recommend it without hesitation for those who spend more than about $50/year on printer ink. If you do, I guarantee an Epson EcoTank printer will save you a ton of money.

Super Savings on Business Cards

Moving right along, one of my favorite things to print are business cards. Since I’m self-unemployed, I like to change the title (and artwork) on my business cards often; over the past few years I’ve been a CEO, Founder, Raconteur, Solopreneur, Auteur, Stable Genius, Producer/Director, and many others.

In the bad old days, I’d have to order 500 pre-printed business cards, wait a week for them to arrive, and then throw away 450 of them after deciding it was time for a new title or artwork.

More recently I’ve been printing my business cards at home in batches of 10 or 20. This not only guarantees little or no waste, it’s also way cheaper than ordering printed cards. The cards look professionally printed with smooth (i.e. not perforated) edges.

I print these 10 at a time so there's no waste when I change my title.
I print these 10 at a time so there’s no waste when I change my title.

The only drawback is that unlike preprinted cards, my homemade cards smear when moistened. But that’s a small price to pay for not throwing away hundreds of cards every year.

My current favorites are Avery 8871 Clean Edge White Matte Business Cards ($8.84 for 200 cards at Amazon.com), but, if white or matte aren’t your thing, Avery offers similar cards in a variety of colors and finishes.

Do It Yourself Thank You Cards

I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to hand-written communication, so I not only write (and address) thank you notes and the like by hand, I also create and print the cards on Avery 3378 White Half-Fold Textured Greeting Cards ($8.79 for 30 cards and matching envelopes at Amazon.com).

They’re much more personal than store-bought cards (and they cost less, too).

And Don’t Forget Labels…

Speaking of envelopes, while I prefer to write and address personal notes by hand, I think typed labels are more appropriate for business matters. And, since printing text in the right places can be problematic with most printers and envelopes, rather than feeding envelopes through the printer I feed Avery 8663 Clear Mailing Labels ($16.07 for 250 labels), which are easy to affix in the proper locations.

There is one last thing:

 I specify VT Corona, a distressed typewriter font, with dark blue ink when I want a label with a vintage vibe.
I specify VT Corona, a distressed typewriter font, for a distinctly vintage vibe.

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