Your printer can do a lot more than print out a document. Unlock a printer's full potential with these free websites offering creative printables that are both fun and useful.
Armed with a standard A4 or Letter-sized piece of paper, you can do a lot of cool things. You can create giant wall art like a poster. You can print out a free board game. You can create a simple Wi-Fi login card. You can even make a paper globe! Most of these will work with any budget printers for homes and small offices.
1. Wi-Fi Card (Web): Generate and Print a Wi-Fi Login Card
Tired of people asking you for the Wi-Fi ID and password? One of the best things to do with QR codes is to generate a Wi-Fi login card that anyone can scan to instantly connect to the network. And this app makes it tremendously easy to print.
Just add your network name and password in the given slots on the website. It'll generate the QR code automatically. You can choose to hide the password and SSID too, and switch between different types of encryption. Wi-Fi Card also lets you rotate the design to make it a vertical card rather than a horizontal one.
2. Rasterbator (Web): Turn Any Photo Into a Giant Wall-Art Collage of A4 Sheets
You can decorate your walls with a giant art piece and don't have to spend big bucks on a custom print. Rasterbator turns any photo into a collage of A4 sheets, so you can print and combine it into a giant poster. It's one of the most insanely useful sites you didn't know about.
It's super simple. Upload your image from your storage or a URL (up to 20MB). Choose the type of paper (you don't have to stick to A4 sheets) and the margins at each side. And then say how many pages you want it. Rasterbator shows a preview of how it'll look with your settings, and even calculates the full poster size.
Once you're set up the way you want, download it as a PDF and print it. The rest is just about combining, and before you do that, read these helpful Rasterbator tips on Reddit.
3. One Paper Games (Web): Free Printable Board Games
Indie game developer Pandaqi created a series of innovative board games that they call One Paper Games. These are all games that you can print on a single piece of paper, and play with the attached set of rules. And yes, they're all free downloads.
Currently, One Paper Games has 10 games (most in English, some in Dutch) with a variety of gameplay styles. Pandaqi gets creative too, like Unstable Universe where you have to cut the actual board as you play. The games can be played completely offline, and usually require only a piece of paper and a pen.
If you liked One Paper Games and the philosophy behind them, check out some other awesome free printable board games.
4. Le Paper Globe (Web): DIY Terrestrial "Globe" to Print and Assemble
Designer Joachim Robert came up with one of the coolest paper experiments. Le Paper Globe is his attempt to let anyone create a globe of the Earth, but with paper. Sure, it's not a perfect rounded globe, but the end result looks funky enough to do it as a weekend project, especially with kids.
Le Paper Globe is a 14-page PDF to download and print, ideally on heavy paper so it holds its shape. The "cutting" step takes the longest time, and you'll have to be a little precise with it, but it's not difficult. Follow the simple 8-step instructions on the website to create a cool paper globe.
5. Gatsby's Party (Web): Printable Place Cards for Parties and Events
If you're hosting a party or a formal event, place cards can add a touch of class (and ensure people sit where you intended them to). Gatsby's Party is a nifty online app to create custom place cards in a simple sheet you can print out.
There's only one free template, but at $3, the others aren't expensive either. Plus, you can upload your own image as a background for the free template if you want. Once that's set up, customize the print options as you would want them, and choose the font and color. Finally, add the list of guests, with each line as one card. If you want two lines on a card, separate it with a comma as demonstrated in the default setting.
6. Printable Paper (Web): Turn a Blank Sheet Into Any Type of Ruled Paper
There are several special paper types for different purposes, like graph paper, lined paper, dot paper, register paper, logarithmic paper, music paper, etc. But unless you're a professional working in one of these fields, you need such a paper only once in a while. Well, you don't need to go out and buy it, you can turn any blank paper into this.
Printable Paper offers a large collection of such pre-made ruled papers for the common paper sizes of A4 and Letter. You can dive into various categories to find what you need, and also filter by paper type.
7. Printer Projects (Web): Free Printable Items for Home, School, and Business
Visit this website and you'll be surprised at the number of common things you can print at home instead of ordering online or going to the store for. It's an especially prudent choice when it's a one-time use or a time-restricted need.
Printer Projects stores a large collection of printable items ideal for home, school, or business needs. You'll find calendars, greeting cards and business cards, banners, charts, decorations, posters, maps, signs, themes, and much more. From a "For Sale" board to a flag of your country, it's all ready to be printed here.
8. PBNify (Web): Turn Photos Into Paint-By-Number Prints With Palette
You can turn your child's favorite characters and photos into a paint-by-number printout for them. Head to PBNify and upload the picture, and then click on various points to create the palette of colors you want to give your kid.
PBNify will then identify those colors across the picture, and divide it into a paint-by-numbers collage. You'll then have three downloads: the outline with the numbers in it, the palette of colors, and a filled image for reference. Download and print them out on regular paper.
Factor Your Ink Cost
Once you know the endless possibilities of cool and useful printable downloads, you might be tempted to print everything rather than buying it. But while paper is cheap, printer ink isn't. Unless you're using a laser printer, the cost of ink cartridge refills can quickly add up.
So use these free printables mainly for situations where it's a one-time use, an emergency, or what you want isn't available to purchase. Apart from those conditions, calculate whether it's cheaper and better to buy instead of print, even if you're using home printers with cheap ink.