8 Common Mistakes When Printing Greeting Cards at Home

Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards

Printing greeting cards at home can be a fun and creative way to personalize messages for friends, family, and loved ones. However, it’s easy to run into a few pitfalls that can affect the quality and appearance of your final product.

In this article, we’ll explore seven common mistakes people make when printing greeting cards at home and provide tips on how to avoid them.

1. Ignoring Printer Settings and Capabilities

One of the most common mistakes is not understanding or utilizing your printer’s settings and capabilities. Different printers have varied features, and not all are suitable for printing high-quality greeting cards.

How to Avoid:

  • Check Printer Specifications: Ensure your printer can handle the cardstock weight.
  • Use the Right Settings: Adjust the printer settings to match the type of paper you’re using. For instance, select ‘high quality’ and ‘cardstock’ if available.

2. Choosing the Wrong Paper Type

The paper you choose can significantly impact the look and feel of your greeting card. Using regular printer paper instead of cardstock can result in a flimsy and unprofessional-looking card.

How to Avoid:

  • Select Appropriate Paper: Use heavier cardstock for a sturdy and elegant feel. Consider the finish as well – matte, glossy, or textured depending on the design and ink.

3. Neglecting Resolution and Image Quality

High-resolution images are crucial for a clear and sharp print. Using low-resolution images can lead to pixelated or blurry prints, which detract from the overall appearance of the card.

How to Avoid:

  • Use High-Resolution Images: Ensure your images are at least 300 DPI for clear printing.
  • Edit Carefully: Avoid over-stretching or compressing images in your design software.

4. Overlooking Color Calibration

Colors that look good on screen may not print the same way due to differences in color calibration between your monitor and printer.

How to Avoid:

  • Calibrate Your Monitor: This ensures colors on your screen are as accurate as possible.
  • Test Print: Do a test print to check how colors appear on paper and adjust your design accordingly.

5. Incorrect Card Layout and Sizing

Improper layout and sizing can lead to text or important design elements being cut off during printing. This is especially common when creating folding cards. Red River Paper has a good overview of the different sizes with illustrations.

How to Avoid:

  • Use Templates: Many design programs offer greeting card templates that help you align your design correctly.
  • Consider Bleed and Margins: Allow extra space (bleed) around the edges and be mindful of margin settings to ensure all elements are within the printable area.

6. Underestimating the Importance of Proofreading

Typos or grammatical errors can spoil the entire effort put into designing a greeting card. Such mistakes are often overlooked in the excitement of the design process.

How to Avoid:

  • Proofread Thoroughly: Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Get a Second Opinion: Have someone else review your card for mistakes you might have missed.

7. Lack of Creativity in Design

While it’s easy to use pre-made templates or designs, adding a personal touch can make your greeting card stand out.

How to Avoid:

  • Personalize Your Design: Incorporate personal elements like custom messages, unique fonts, or hand-drawn graphics.
  • Experiment with Embellishments: Consider adding non-print elements post-printing, like ribbons, buttons, or glitter.

8. Forgetting to Adjust for Double-Sided Printing

Many greeting cards are designed to be printed on both sides of the paper. A common mistake is not adjusting printer settings for double-sided printing, leading to misaligned text or images, or even printing on the wrong side of the card.

How to Avoid:

  • Check Printer Duplex Capability: Ensure your printer supports double-sided printing (duplex printing).
  • Align Properly: Use printer settings or software to align both sides correctly. This might involve manual adjustments or flipping the paper by hand, depending on your printer.
  • Practice Runs: Do a few test prints on regular paper to ensure alignment and design are correct before using cardstock.

Tips for Successful Home-Printed Greeting Cards

Invest in a Good Printer

If you plan on printing cards regularly, consider investing in a high-quality printer that can handle various paper types and offer high-resolution prints.

Test Before Final Printing

Always do a test print on regular paper to check the layout, colors, and overall design.

Use Quality Ink

Ensure your printer has enough ink and consider using high-quality ink cartridges for better color payoff.

Handle with Care

Allow the ink to dry completely before handling to avoid smudges.

Be Patient and Experiment

Sometimes it takes a few tries to get everything right. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs and techniques.


Printing greeting cards at home allows for a level of personalization and creativity that store-bought cards can’t match. By avoiding common mistakes such as neglecting printer settings, choosing the wrong paper type, overlooking resolution and color calibration, incorrect sizing, failing to proofread, and lacking creativity, you can produce high-quality, personalized cards that truly convey your sentiments.

Remember, the key to successful home-printed greeting cards lies in preparation, attention to detail, and a bit of creativity. Happy printing!