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Scrapbooking Basics | Printing Photos At Home

For today's Craft The Story video we are talking about printing photos at home and the printers I'm currently using to get my stories told. 

As with so many things related to scrapbooking, there is no right or wrong way to print your photos (it's really more about what makes sense for your personal processes). The two most common options are to print via a service provider ( such as Persnickety Prints) or to purchase an at-home photo printer. 

Printing at home is my personal choice based primarily on flexibility. Printing at home gives me ultimate flexibility in terms of size, shape, and the fact that I can print on demand any time it works for me and when I make a mistake I can fix it immediately. I started printing at home early in my memory keeping adventures and have continued to choose that route for the majority of my 20 years of scrapbooking. 

Currently I use two at-home ink jet printers for scrapbooking. I've had both these printers for a number of years now and am very happy with both and would purchase them again. Both printers are connected to/hard-wired to my computer because that's how I work most often and can also be accessed wirelessly. I use Epson photo papers for my prints (specifics listed below) and edit my photos using Photoshop before printing. 

A few things to consider when deciding whether you want to print at home: 

  • How often are you scrapbooking/printing photos? One thing I've learned with printers is that if you use them sporadically they sometimes work sporadically. Regardless of printer manufacturer, inks get clogged, print heads need to be cleaned (this is usually as easy as hitting a button), etc. I've found that the more often I use a printer the better it performs overall. 
  • Where do you scrapbook? Do you scrapbook at home or when gathering with friends? I'm someone who scrapbooks on my own here in my home office and having a printer connected to my computer just makes sense for how I work. If you scrapbook mainly at events it might make more sense for you to plan out your stories and upload your photos to a printer to have them all ready to go. 
  • How important is printing on demand to your creative process? If printing on demand isn't all that important to your process having an at-home printer might not be at the top of your list. Printing at home, and the ability to print on demand, is ingrained in my personal creative process. My overall approach would likely be different if I was uploading photos to be printed at a service provider and then waiting for those prints to be delivered before working on my projects (not better or worse, just a different approach). 
  • Do you want to experiment with printing digital products? Another way that people use printers at home is for printing digital scrapbook products to use in paper projects. Both printers I'm sharing about today can be used for printing digital products. I most often print digital products onto Epson Ultimate Premium Matte Presentation Paper (this is a heavier weight). 

The vast majority of photos I've printed at home (using a variety of printers) over the last 20 years have held up just fine and look like they were printed today. Having photos that last the "longest amount of time possible" isn't my personal highest priority so I don't spend much time focusing on archival longevity. As with so many things, knowing yourself (or getting to know yourself) and what matters most to you is the way to go and will inform other decisions down the line. 

Let's dive into the video where I share more about the printers I use and my reasons why:


For prints that are 5x7 and smaller I use the Epson PictureMate PM400 printerThis print is generally available for $250. Amazon does have sales on it from time to time (often around Christmas). 


For prints larger than 5x7 (and up to 13x19) I use an Epson XP15000When I first posted about this printer back in 2019 this printer could be found for under $300. From my recent searches it looks like it might be a bit harder to find and sell for more than $300. I was also able to see via my Amazon purchases that I ordered ink refills for this printer twice in 2021. 


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12 thoughts

  1. KProffitt says…

    Thanks for sharing! I'm definitely an at-home printer! Love being able to print right away and have photos when I'm feeling creative!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. kategm47 says…

    great insight. I have ordered the 'generic' brand of ink for that same printer and was disappointed. Highly agree w Ali to say, spend the couple extra bucks and get the Epson brand ink.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Untiedt says…

    I'm at home printer. When I worked on WITL and DD I didn't complete them until I got the PM 400 printer. Thanks Ali for the recommendation. Now I'm not waiting for prints. I can print and reprint as needed. I get more projects done. I'm interested in printing larger photos 6x8 or 11x8. Do you or your contributors have any suggestions for a photo printer that prints up to 8.5X11? I'm loving the Craft the Story videos. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. achaffin39 says…

    Love printing at home. Sometimes it's love/hate, but I definitely don't have the patience to plan all of my scrapbooking out and order prints in specific sizes. I like the instant gratification of printing at home, even though there are sometimes tech challenges and mistakes on my part.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. mrs___ives says…

    I’ve pre-ordered a Epson xp15000; I’m just waiting on it to ship to Australia 🇦🇺. I’ve been using my canon pixma MG7560 which has lasted my for years. It has now stopped working. So I’m printerless until my new one arrives.

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  6. kellyharper says…

    I just started my memory keeping journey in 2019. Living in Canada there were few cost-effective solution then, and even fewer now. I purchased a Canon Selphy, not realizing it wasn't a true 4x6 size. I also quickly found it didn't my needs for larger sizes. I purchased both printers that Ali showcased today and have been happy with both.

    When my Epson XP-15000 had some problems feeding paper, I was fortunate it was in it's last month of warranty. EPSON Canada replaced the printer rather than fix it and returned it with all new ink cartridges. The Epson PM-400 has been a dream to use. I access both through WIFI.

    I buy supplies direct through Epson, whose prices are on par with and usually qualifies for free printing. While you can save buying generic ink, I don't recommend it as system updates can impact performance when using generic ink.

    I love the flexibility of print-on-demand. While I havne't done a direct cost-benefit comparison, with limited access to affordable printing it is the perfect solution.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Mich21 says…

    Thank you Ali for sharing. This is very helpful. I really enjoy also seeing you work in Photoshop. I would love to see more classes taught by you using digital products. I would love to learn and you make it easy to understand.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. dpowersfabian says…

    I do all my 4x6's on my Epson large format printer...I only have so much room for printers and I'm up to 2 now...a general one for the whole family...and my large format.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. kelly_watson says…

    Thanks for sharing this Ali. I always love updates on your organizing, equipment & process.

    I, too, have found home printing to make the difference in accomplishing my memory keeping goals and I can’t imagine ever going back. I use the PM-400 as well as a Canon Pixma TS8320 and I’m very happy with both of them.

    I had been using my trusty Picturemate 200 Series until it died last month. (It actually displayed a message that said ‘parts inside this printer have come to the end of their life’ lol.) That little printer worked hard for 6 or 7 years.

    I’ve switched to the PM-400 that I had bought last year in anticipation of this and it’s working just as it should. The question I have is about paper. The Picturemate 200 ink only came in print packs with paper, whereas the 400 ink & paper are sold separately. I first bought the Glossy paper, as I had assumed the most basic one would be what was in those print packs, but it’s very thin & the prints don’t seem quite as detailed.

    Which Epson paper do you use in yours? Also, if anyone else has used other brands of paper in the PM-400 I’d love to find a semi-gloss or matte finish that works well.

    Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. NikkiEstes says…

    I don't know if anyone can help me. I recently learned Canva from the AE sponsored Kim Hurst class last Fall. I have created 12x12 Project life style layouts in Canva. I just bought the Epsom xp 15000 and cannot figure out how to print in 12x12. It prints in 11.69 x 16.5 but says it prints 13x19. I have seen tutorials that show using Lightroom or PSE, but I don't have those and I really don't want to learn those. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. dcw1114 says…

    Ali, just wondering why you use 2 printers when the large format could also print the 4x6 print size. I have only a large format printer & print everything on that but am wondering if I should get one just for the smaller sizes. Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. sparkle says…

    Finally jumping in to print my photos at home. This post is just what I needed. I’m going with the Epson PictureMate 400. Ordering today :-)Thank you so much Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies

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