Free Printable Wall Art: How to Print and Display Printables
I think free wall art printables are my favorite pieces to create for you. I want you to love them as much as I do, so I'm hoping to answer all your questions about the best way to print, frame, hang, and/ or display printable art. After all, what's the point to a free print, if it doesn't look like a million bucks? In this post, I'll address common issues that come up, things that can go wrong, and what to try to do about it all.
These tips come from years of experience printing my own art, designing production files for printing, and lots of trial and error! If I miss a question you have, please let me know and I'll do my best to help you out.
First, you'll need to successfully download your free printable. There are times when my site doesn't cooperate. So, if you've filled out the form but the download isn't working, send me an email. I've helped out a few of you, either with a simple fix, or by creating a personalized dropbox with the desired files placed into it, and I'm always happy to help.
OK, now that you've got your wall art piece, the first thing to do is save and resize it. Let's use the Free Succulent Wall Art set as an example.
Most of my files are sized 8 x 10" or 8.5 x 11" , but as you can see I've printed this set in different sizes. All printables can be scaled down as little as you like, however, to scale things larger, you need to understand a little bit about printing resolution. I design my files thinking most of you will print them on your home printer. However, I know some of my work will be printed professionally. Because of this, most of my wall art designs are created at 300 dpi. Don't get overwhelmed here, all you need to know is that you have enough resolution to get a great print! In fact, what I'm about to tell you might just change your life. Home printers work at 150 dpi, so if you are printing at home, you can scale 300 dpi artwork up 200% and not lose any quality. That's right, and 8 x 10" print can become 16 x 20", assuming your home printer can take that sheet size. Regardless, most people think they need 300 dpi for printing, but that's just because it is an industry standard for offset presses. Your home printer doesn't need anything that large. So, if you want to scale up, even on other art you may have, I'd say give it a try. You may be happily surprised to find it prints just as well.
You can resize your image a couple ways. If you don't have any editing software, you can simply adjust sizing in your printer dialogue box in Preview (a Mac standard, and what's shown below) or Acrobat. Take a look at my screenshots. Notice that even with my US Letter sized paper selected, I can still scale the print up. At 150% on this print, the text becomes a stronger focal point (shown on the left), and the image is still nice even though a lot of it will be cut off. This is why knowing you can scale up is great even if you don't want to make the sheet size bigger! On the right, you can see that I can size down to a greeting card size by reducing the scale to 50%. Finally, if you're trying this, but can't see these options, click the box on the bottom left that says "Show Details". (It will say "Hide Details" once it's been clicked.)
However, if you do have editing software, you'll have better and more precise options. I prefer Photoshop. After it's opened, simply go to Image> Resize> Image Size and make the appropriate changes.
Let's talk about the color settings a bit. I optimize my downloads for you assuming you'll be printing them on popular home, inkjet printers. This will give the best result to the largest group of people in my mind without anyone needing to do anything special. If you are printing in another way, you may want to adjust the print settings based on the destination. If you are using a printing service, you can ask them for help, letting them know the settings are optimized for home inkjet. They should be able to adjust things for you on their end.
As for paper, I really love to print watercolors on uncoated watercolor paper, but it's the most difficult to get a good result. Smooth, coated, photo papers offer the most consistently good quality, and vibrant printouts. If you want to try your hand at uncoated, matte looks, try selecting that paper option in your printer's dialogue box. Then cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and be glad the download was free so your only out the cost of paper and ink if it goes wrong!
Hopefully now you have a gorgeous printout ready to be displayed. If you are doing this on a shoestring, there are a lot of options besides frames that are great. I love the boho look of the watercolored succulents above just taped to the wall. For a little more structure, try a clipboard, like shown in below. (This is the most popular wall art freebie. Get it here.)
I love this display option because you can change it out so easily! It's great for seasonal printables, and people like me who get bored easily!
I hope I've got you inspired to put up some art. If you do, I'd love to see how it turns out for you. Tag me on Instagram!
Have a great day,