One of the best laser printer qualities, whether black and white or color, is great versatility. This is especially true of the all-in-one, or multi-function, printers.
But there is an often overlooked benefit of laser printers that deserves to be explored further.
The magic of the laser printer is in its ability to fuse toner onto a wide variety of materials. In addition, because the laser printer has a digital soul, it’s capabilities go far beyond merely “making copies.”
While there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of creative and crafty applications that can be made with the humble office laser printer, we’ve picked out three that we think are winners for any home or office laser printer.
Enlarge and Preserve Old Photos
If you or your parents were around in the pre-digital age, you most likely have some old printed photos. You know, the ones that came from processed camera film. And that may or may not still have the negatives close by.
While it is possible to have copies of these old photographs professionally made, your color laser printer can easily do that job for you. And, not only can you generate great copies on high quality photo paper, you can easily enlarge the images to frameable sizes.
If your printer has a scanner built in, it’s easy enough to make enlargements. In fact, most all-in-one laser printers have an enlargement feature in the menu options.
And here’s a cool twist on the reproduction side: a good digital camera, like the one on your phone these days, can be used to take a picture of your old photos. Then, instead of scanning the original directly on the printer, you use the digital file as the source image for your enlargement.
Because the resolution and color rendering with a good DSLR camera or state-of-the-art cell phone camera is superior to that of most printer scanners, your copy will be a better quality image as a result.
Print-On-Demand Custom Letterhead and Envelopes
If you want to add a professional look to your written communications you can create your own stationery on your laser printer – and at a fraction of the cost of printing company. If you haven’t done so already, simply create a digital template featuring the logo or header/footer you desire on your letterhead and envelopes.
This is easily done with programs such as Microsoft Word and shopping around in the stationery section of the Microsoft Office website. But the real fun is in creating a variety of headers, styles or logos for different needs or special events. And if you only need, say, a dozen copies you can print them as you need them. No more reams of pre-printed letterhead lying around, waiting to become outdated.
One of the other capabilities of most laser printers is the ability to run large format and heavy paper stock items such as 9 x 11 kraft envelopes. The creative and artistic possibilities for a custom mailing using your color laser printer and large, thick envelopes are almost unlimited!
Branded Paper Bags
And, similar to the kraft envelope trick, there are paper bags.
Instead of simply handing out brochures and one sheets at trade shows, how about handing out custom printed bags filled with marketing collateral and some spiff? Whether it’s printed in black ink or another color – or even full color with images – the variations are practically endless.
Printed paper bags can also be used for party favors, for handouts at corporate events and even as mailers. And, since paper bags come in a variety of colors, textures and sizes, the creative possibilities with this kind of project are huge.
Holidays are a great opportunity for making use of branded paper bags since everyone likes cookies and other baked treats that could be “bagged up” and given to customers, clients, prospects, vendors and others in unique, attention-getting, branded bags.
A Bonus Trick
Business card sheets that offer micro-perfed cards on 8.5 x 11 inch sheets are easy to buy, but don’t project a strong perception of professionalism. But getting business cards professionally designed and printed can be expensive. And if you only need a limited number of cards for special occasions or events, having to buy 500 cards as a minimum doesn’t make sense.
A creative and somewhat “artsy” alternative is to use cardstock hang tags (without the strings!) or even the paint chip cards from the paint department displays in hardware and paint stores. These can usually be run through your laser printer and – with a bit of graphic design and imagination – truly unique and impactful cards can be made.
Remember, these are just some of the many “tricks” you can do with your laser printer, so let your imagination run and experiment!