Saturday, November 12, 2016

Printing Your Own Holiday/Greeting Cards (Tutorial Included)

Red River Greeting Card Stock Home

If you are like me, you want to send out custom holiday cards with your own photos but often times you find yourself too busy to bother. If you’ve tried it and had horrible results, then you aren’t alone either!

Fortunately, my friends at Red River Paper are experts on this subject and have done an incredible job of providing user education on this topic for use with their papers and envelopes. It’s really the one stop shop no matter if you are using Canon, Epson, or HP papers with just about any software that you can imagine (for both Mac & PC)!!!

I’ve been a fan of Red River Paper for a couple of years and have featured their products on my printing series page, but honestly I’ve never tried their greeting card products – until now. Admittedly, I was very intimidated by this whole process because I’ve had horrific results in the past when I tried to do it all solo. What’s worse, is that I often found myself without paper that could be printed on both sides (especially Luster paper), so I was never really able to do what I wanted. In the end I had to resort to throwing out my hard work and just picking up cards from a discount store. This left me both frustrated and dissatisfied.

How much will it cost to print my card?

Click here to get an estimate from Red River Paper about how much it cost to do your own cards. In most cases, it’s typically under $1 per card.

Templates & Videos (Mac & PC – Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements & more…)

Click here to learn more both in written and video form about how to do your own cards in both vertical and horizontal orientation for Canon, Epson, and HP printers using most of the popular photo editing software for both the Mac & PC.

Can I print borderless?

Yes, you can. Click here to learn how.

Can I get envelops and display bags or boxes too?

Yes! Click here to get envelopes, display boxes, Photoshop actions and more.

FAQ’s & Additional Help

Click here to learn more as there’s tons of questions people typically have when trying to do this themselves.

Are there double-sided luster cards?

Yes, and no. There was a 80lb. Red River Luster Card Double Sided paper, but without notice the mill discontinued this paper just as soon as Red River rolled it out.

My Experience


I have Canon iPF6450, PRO-1, PRO-10, and Epson R3000, 3880, and 4900 printers on hand, but I quickly discovered that the 3880 was the best printer for the job due its easy support for custom paper sizes. The paper I was using was 7x10 so that eliminated my printers that didn’t support custom size papers (the PRO series printers). I had no desire to do this on my 6450, so that left the Epson’s. The 3880 is the sheet paper king, so I decided to go with it.

While Red River Paper has instructions for Mac and PC with a variety of software, I decided to stay in my comfort zone and print from Photoshop CC on my Windows 7 PC. You can see my Photoshop settings and how I printed above and below.


Here’s my printer driver settings using the Red River paper profile for my test paper (temporarily not for sale):


To keep my settings handy, I created a custom setting called “Red River 7x10 Card”. This won’t exist on your printer, so don’t go looking for it.

The template was handy and I managed to print on both the inside and outside without any problem. I did heed the warning that you should print your inside text first and save your photos on the outside for the second pass through the printer.

For my test prints I did leave high speed (bi-directional) printing on and it seemed to be okay. I also didn’t wait any time before flipping the paper and printing both sides, but I managed to insert the paper in the wrong way – twice!!! This was carelessness on my part, so a heads up that you really need to pay attention when reloading your paper! I chose the sheet feeder since that was the only one that the driver would allow me to use a custom size.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test borderless because my driver complained that I had to use a supported size if I wanted borderless.

Overall it worked great and I’m thrilled with the results. The scored groove made folding super easy, so my results look like they came from a pro print shop – just what I wanted! Here’s a snapshot photo of how my card turned out (colors displayed inaccurately due to photo of a print):

Test Card - Outside
Test Card - Outside


Test Card - Inside
Test Card - Inside

I didn’t have any envelopes to test with, but you can buy them here.


Overall, I’m happy enough that I plan to do all my cards on my own this year. Heck, I may even get creative and start doing my promo cards and create some fine art cards too! I’m also thrilled that I don’t have to cut the paper or fight to get the perfect fold thanks to the pre-scoured fold groove.

I highly recommend Red River Paper’s card products.

Where to order

Click here to learn more on Red River Paper’s web site.

Looking to buy a printer?

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Kathy Castrataro said...

Hello Ron,

can I use my HP photosmart 6300 series printer to make cards? I have Windows Vista and use elements 11 for photo adjustments..and I have microsoft word…will this work to make half folded note cards..say 8.5x5.5 full size..this card stock has a bend line so you can fold it after its printed on..I want to print a photo on front side and do text inside and on the backside as well..can this work or do i need a better printer..thanks so much for your time..

Ron Martinsen said...

I haven't tried that printer so you'll need to check with Red River for further comment.


Douglas Dubler said...

Ron, Great article! I have been printing cards for years and briefly this is my workflow. I use Museo Artist Cards exclusively. They are archival and the matte paper looks more "fine art" than glossy paper. I print them from either Mirage or Overdrive for best color and resolution. While the Epson 3880 and R3000 both work well for this task I now prefer the new P800. For production I often use one printer for the text inside and one for the main image. Always print the inside of the card first. The P800 is faster and almost never has head clogs! Hope this helps. Douglas