Ever since I first printed a t-shirt iron-on transfer from my school’s Apple IIe back in 3rd grade, I’ve been fascinated with the possibility of gifts you can make with your printer.
Technology has come a long way since my early days of playing with computers. It’s now easier than ever to create simple, inexpensive, and special gifts using your home computer printer.
Check out these ideas:
Photo gifts. Sure you can print a high quality photo or create a collage and hang it in a frame and call it done. But you can step it up a notch by creating a photo cube or a family photo monogram. Make signs and doorknob hangers for kids’ doors. Design bookmarks. Or even make a cool photo puzzle with printable puzzle paper.
Coupon books. If you’re tight on cash (or like to keep “stuff” to a minimum) consider using your printer to create your own coupon books as gifts. Find a printable coupon book or create your own little printable gift certificates. The coupons could be for things like free babysitting/pet sitting, car washes, help with a household project, dessert of the month, or whatever your imagination comes up with.
Mailing labels and stationery. Restore the lost art of letter writing and create personalized mailing labels and stationery. Whether you use Microsoft Office or Pages (for Mac), there are templates to help you create mailing labels and stationery. Look for Avery labels (I prefer Avery because they support Box Tops for Education), as they are high quality. I tried to do this project with labels from the Dollar Store and it was printer hell! BIG mistake! Stick with the folks who know how to make good labels.
Personalized labels or book plates. If letter-writing isn’t your recipient’s thing, consider making some personalized labels. These are very useful in houses where there is a tad bit of sibling rivalry (“It’s mine!”) and would also be appreciated by teachers. If you know someone that cans a lot of items, you can make personalized canning labels.
T-shirts. When I made my first t-shirt with a printer, it was way back in the days of dot matrix and I had to color the thing myself! Now you can buy iron-in transfer sheets for your computer printer that make beautiful, durable t-shirt designs. Iron on photos of the kids, pets, or create a funny saying. Read the packaging for the iron-on transfers for tips and tricks – usually the lighter the shirt, the better they work.
Magnets. You can also get printable magnet sheets, so you can turn photos or artwork you’ve created into refrigerator magnets. One year I created a magnet for my mom’s dishwasher that could help her remember if she had run the dishwasher without opening it. I used a photo of my son making a sad face for the dirty dishes and a happy face for the clean dishes. She just had to remember to turn the magnet when she started the dishwasher. It was a hit!
Recipe cards. If you have a foodie in your house, you can give them printable blank recipe cards. Or include your own recipes with a food gift for a special treat.
Planners and message boards. Create a personal message board or weekly planner board with a photo or other design that’s been laminated. Include a dry erase marker and they have a personalized gift they can use over and over again.
Coloring pages and activity books. Look for printable coloring pages and printable educational worksheets to make a fun gift for kids. You can laminate the pages and give them dry erase washable crayons to let them use them over and over again. Or take it to a place like Office Max and get the pages bound. They’ll love having a special book made just for them. And don’t forget you can make coloring books for the grown-ups with free printable coloring pages for big kids and grown-ups. Coloring is a great stress-reliever.
Gift wrap, boxes, tags, and cards. And of course, don’t forget that you can use your printer to create your own gift wrap, boxes, tags and cards. You can print a sheet of paper with the recipient’s name in multiple colors and fonts for a fun gift wrap. Create a personalized box using a printable box template, and use your computer to make your own cards and tags.
When it comes to gifts that you can make with your printer, you’re only limited by your imagination. You can make printer gifts as simple or as intricate as you want. Just make sure to stock up on ink and enjoy creating something memorable!
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