Can a Laser Printer Print on Watercolor Paper? Why or Why not?
Do you have some watercolor projects you want to print, but you're unsure whether you should use a laser printer to get the job done?
Using the wrong type of printer can potentially damage your watercolor paper as well as the printer itself. You don't want to risk damaging your expensive laser printer, so you should first understand whether it's a suitable printer for watercolor paper or not.
The following guide will shed more details on laser printers and watercolor printing.
Plus, we have discussed additional details on choosing the right type of printer for watercolor papers and how to print on these print papers correctly.
Can a Laser Printer print on watercolor paper?
A laser printer can't print on most watercolor paper. This is because laser printers use toners instead of ink to print.
These toners aren't friendly top watercolor papers and don't adhere well to them due to lack of a special coating. In other words, you'll get dismal results when you use a laser printer to print on water color paper.
Even if the laser printer prints on some watercolor papers, you still won't get desirable results due to the heat factor. The heat produced by these printers is too much for the watercolor paper to handle. And this will make it hard for the paper to absorb the colors.
Not to forget, the upfront cost of the laser is quite high compared to regular inkjet printers. It gets even more expensive when you think about the above uncertainties surrounding trying to print watercolor paper on a laser printer.
Rather than risk damaging your laser printer, you would want to avoid using it and use a regular inkjet printer instead.
The inkjet printer will be a more suitable choice because it runs when it gets wet. On the other hand, a laser printer won't run when it gets wet and will not give you print with a finish as good as the inkjet printer.
What kind of Orinter can print on watercolor paper?
As we have just mentioned above, an inkjet printer is a more ideal choice for watercolor paper printing. The ink inside ink cartridges of inkjet units is more like the typical ink. And this qualifies them for this job. This ink is the real deal when it comes to watercolor papers
However, not just any inkjet printer will work for you. Consider the additional factors below to ensure you're using the right printer for your project.
Check the maximum paper weight the printer can handle
Watercolor paper is a thick, heavy paper, unlike standard printing paper. Different printer models have varying printing capabilities.
A simple model for home use will not print on thick watercolor paper.
Attempting to force it beyond its printing capabilities will only result in jamming or creating other issues with your printer.
By checking the maximum weight of paper a printer can handle, you'll easily determine which one will work with your paper of choice.
The watercolor papers come in two main options: 90lbs and 130lbs. The 90lbs is student-grade paper and a thinner option, while 130lbs is thicker and a more preferable option for most artists.
Still, you can get 300lbs watercolor paper—the heaviest of the three.
The user manual usually indicates the information on a printer's maximum paper weight handling capability.
We recommend getting a slightly thinner paper than your printer's maximum rating, just to be on the safer side.
What size of watercolor paper are you using?
Apart from the paperweight, you'll also need to check the paper size to help you choose the right printer for the job.
Watercolor papers come in a wide range of sizes ranging from as small as 12″ x 9″ to as big as 30″ x 22″. Check your new printer's maximum paper size input to see if it will fit the paper size you intend to use.
An Epson printer, or another brand printer, rated 19-inches, will accommodate a wide range of paper sizes. You can also get wider models if you plan to print larger paper rolls.
How do you print on watercolors?
Getting the right printer for the job is one thing. You'll also need to know the trick and techniques involved in printing on watercolor paper. Otherwise, not doing it correctly might ruin your watercolor paper as well as the printer you're using.
This part will discuss the best tips and practices for printing on watercolor paper for the best printing results.
Hot press vs cold press paper
The type of watercolor paper for inkjet printers you choose will determine your printing results. There are two types of papers to choose from; a hot press and a cold press paper.
Hot-press is smooth and tends to produce brighter and more vivid pictures. This makes it a great choice for a screen print or any other project requiring high-definition pints. It is less absorbent and works great for paint washes over the ink.
The cold press paper has a textured surface which enables it to accept ink more readily. However, it tends to output less defined prints since the ink gets absorbed more, and the outlines appear frizzy.
Go for quality, water-resistant ink
You'll also need to consider the right ink for your watercolor project. In cases where you're printing outlines that you'll then wash over with watercolors, you would want to use a water-resistant, smudge-proof color.
This will help keep the black ink from mixing your colors. This is why some folks would choose a laser printer since the laser printer toner is water resistant.
However, the good news is that you can easily get water-resistant inkjet inks from Staples print, Amazon, and other online stores.
Feeding the watercolor paper into the printer correctly
Before you start the initiate the process to transfer inkjet to watercolor paper, you'll need to feed the watercolor paper to your printer. Start by getting rid of any regular print paper in your printer.
And don't make the mistake of loading watercolor paper over the regular paper. Always start with an empty tray.
Familiarize yourself with your printer's input slots. Most basic models have a front input feed notorious for jamming and tearing up your printing papers.
Printers with an inline slot are preferable for watercolor papers. They let the printing paper go flat without flexing it and increase the chances of jamming or tearing.
If you're not familiar with your printer input slots, be sure to consult your manual for more info.
Adjust the printer settings for the best print results
Now is the time for inkjet printing on arches watercolor paper or any other watercolor of your choice. But before that, you'll need to set the printer for printing to paper size, orientation, and watercolor paper option.
Most people get confused at this part because most printers may not show the watercolor option under the "kind of paper" settings. Choose the "Photo paper" option. A photo paper has almost similar characteristics to watercolor paper and will give you the best printing results.
Watercolor papers are not your regular printer paper, and you need to be careful what printer you use them with. Laser printer is not a good choice for this job because it uses powder instead of liquid ink. It also produces more heat, making it unsuitable for getting your design printed on watercolor paper.
Use a regular inkjet printer to get your project correctly print on thick watercolor paper. But don't just use any inkjet printer model. Follow our tips above on how to decide on the right type of printer for your watercolor paper printing needs.
One more thing, be sure to follow the practices we have discussed in this guide above when printing on watercolor paper. Doing it the wrong way can damage your printer and waste your expensive paper and precious ink.