Printing the contents of the download packet

Choosing a printer
First of all, the download packet has at most two parts where color is important: the finished cross stitch page and the backstitching chart with its accompanying floss page. If the project you purchased is lacking a separate backstitching chart, only the finished cross stitch page will be in color. Second, the printed pages have to withstand some abuse. Print a test page then mark it with your favorite color highlighter pen to see if the ink smears. If it does, use a printer with different ink or toner and try it again. Here are the pros and cons between laser printers and ink jet printers:

Ink jet printers
Laser jet printers
    Requires special paper Uses nearly any paper    
  Prints color     Prints black  
    Blurs small images except on special paper Small images clear    
    Inks will smear when marked with a water-based marker Toner never smears    

Our recommendation:

    • If you have access to a color laser printer, use that for all pages in the download packet.
    • If you only have access to a "black and white" laser printer, use that but keep the download file and the computer handy for viewing colors as needed.
    • If you only have an ink jet printer, use heavy photo paper with a matte surface.
    • If you have access to a "black and white" laser printer and an ink jet printer, print the completed cross stitch and backstitch chart on the ink jet and print all the rest on the laser.

Selecting the right paper
When you look at the number of stitiches in the project you know the chart has to survive for several months with lots of handling. Print it on the heaviest white paper you can find. Use photo paper with ink jet printers to minimize bleeding and the resulting blurry symbols. Use card stock (minimum 60 lb. weight, maximum 110 lb. weight) with a very smooth surface (but not slick or shiny) in laser printers (feed it through the manual feed tray instead of using the regular tray); use the heaviest weight available (at least 8 mil, 9 mil is preferrable) in ink jet printers.

Our recommendation:

    • Use 60 lb. to 110 lb. white card stock with laser printers. We currently use Exact Index, 110 lb. acid free, item 40411 from Wausau Paper. Your local print shop will have an equivalent paper so buy a ream.
    • Use 9 mil thickness photo paper with ink jet printers.

Why use the heavy card stock?

    • Highlighting marker ink does not bleed through.
    • Stands up to repeated erasing of count totals and error tracking marks in the margins.
    • You are going to be living with this chart for awhile; it will take the abuse it's going to get.
    • It has other uses like pinned insect labels or recipe cards!