Rachael is a mom, hobby photographer, and digital designer. She is a freelancer Graphic Designer with over 8 years of experience.
What Is a Printable Party?
A printable party is simply a party for which you print most of the items you use. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on invitations. However, you can print just about anything, from invitations to banners to cupcake toppers.
You can also make the invitations yourself in programs like Photoshop, or you can hire a graphic artist to do it for you. You can find some great graphic artists and printable invitations for your party on Etsy.
Where Do I Print the Invitations?
Once you have a design (a digital file that needs to be printed), you have to decide where to print your invitation.
Some things to think about are cost, paper type, and location.
- Printing at Home: I personally suggest not printing at home unless you have a small amount of invitations to print. Invitations printed at home can drain your ink supply in a home printer, and it can become very costly.
- Printing at Print Shops: If you want a cardstock feel for your invitations, most of my customers prefer KINKOS or Staples or an online printer like VistaPrint. If this is the case, you want to make sure that your digital file is of the correct dimensions in regards to ink bleed and proportions. You will get a professional look, though not without the price, and the locations may not be very convenient. So, choose your time management well when you use these printers.
- Printing at Walmart and Other Stores: Finally, you can print at places like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. I generally send my customers to Walmart. I know their printing personally. This is where I do my printing. I like the matte feel of the prints, the cost is fairly cheap, and it's convenient and easy to use.
Setting up an Account to Print at Walmart
This article is going to help you print at Walmart, because that's the one place I know the most about.
- Make your account at Walmart.com (make sure to remember your username and password).
- Upload your digital file to their 'albums', and then you are set to find the nearest Walmart and set up shop for printing at their Instant Prints kiosk.
Logging Into the Website
- At the kiosk, you put in your username and password; this way, you can get to the album you need to print on their kiosk computer.
- If you are able to retrieve it properly, it will state that on the screen and bring you to the menu to choose the photos you need to print.
How Many People Are Coming?
By this point, I am going to hope that you already have a guest list and know how many people you need to invite. You will have asked your graphic designer to make your invitation in the 4x6 format. This is because we mentioned before that this is the cheapest dimension for the Walmart printing kiosk, roughly $0.29 when you do it in store and $0.09 when you do it online.
- Figure out how many invitations you need and select the number as shown in the photos above—and, as a party planner, I suggest you print a few extras in case they get lost or you forgot to add someone to the guest list.
- While at Walmart, you can pick up social envelopes. They come in the 4x6 and the 5x7 varieties, generally with lots of different colors and usually with the sticky back on the flap—so you don't have to lick the envelope!
Glossy vs. Matte Photo Paper
You can decide which photo finish you like best. It's a personal preference, though I personally favor the matte finish, because it has less glare and doesn't reflect the light as harshly. Walmart only uses photo finish, so you have these two choices.
After the last step, press NEXT until you get to the photo finish choice on the screen shown below. Both of these types of photo paper are described as a 'gloss' finish for the photo. In the case of invitations, you get these two choices when it comes to printing.
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- With the matte finish, there is less shine to the photo. It's smoother than a glossy photo, but matte tends to feel rough to the touch, like there are small bumps across the surface.
- With the glossy finish, it's just what it sounds like: It's glossy. The photo is shiny, and the surface is slick and reflects light, which can cause a glare on the photo when looking at it in a certain light.
What More Do You Need?
While you wait for your prints to load and become ready, you can wander the store. That's another reason why I love to use Walmart for my prints when I am printing for a party.
Envelopes and Address Labels
Make sure to grab your social envelopes we discussed earlier. It's usually located in the office supplies section of the store, where you might find packing tape and packing supplies.
From there, you can decide if you also want address labels - if you do, you can get the Avery brand and design them online or once again ask your graphic artist to make them in the same theme as your party and invitations.
If you are going to do address labels, you will have to print those at home on your printer, so make sure you have plenty of ink for your printer. All those supplies can be found in the office supplies section of Walmart. Gather them all up and by the time you get them in the cart, your prints will be ready to pick up.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 06, 2020:
Rachael this is the best! I have dealt with printers for a long time (and in many countries) and boy that can be a real minefield. Using Walmart is not an option that even occurred to me so you have my thanks! I'm keen to se your other articles now!
Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on March 14, 2020:
Such an important part of a party planning. Finding ways to print invites!
amber on March 26, 2018:
Thanks for the article! If I want to design my own invitation, how would I save the invite to print as a picture file? For example, if I make the invitation in a program like Microsoft Word or Publisher, how do I get it to be a picture file that will print instead of a .doc or .pub?
Coolhandluke on October 10, 2015:
Hi, I loved this write up. Been debating how to do my son's birthday invites. This has been very informative. Thank you. Hugs from SoCal.
Rachael Fields (author) from KC, MO on May 03, 2014:
Thanks @grand old lady - I'm glad it was helpful!
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 03, 2014:
Great hub! I love DIY and printing one's own party invitations is a wonderful idea. This hub is thoroughly useful, talking about the small details that can produce great changes for your invitations, such as card stock and finish, and useful tips like getting the envelopes first so you can adjust your cards to fit the envelopes.