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How to Load Canvas Sheets in a Desktop Printer


Tricks and tips to make loading and printing canvas sheets into a desktop printer easier.

If you have a desktop printer and are looking to produce modern canvas art, this article will help you understand not only how to utilize it’s loading capabilities, but also how to get the most out of each sheet of canvas print paper that you print on.

Did you know that how you load a canvas sheet directly affects the printable area of that sheet? For this tutorial, we will be using the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 desktop printer.

This tutorial will show you how to load canvas sheets with ease AND expand your printing capabilities.

First, let’s understand the various loading methods with this printer:

Auto Sheet Feeder: Primarily used for photo paper or standard copy paper. Works best with thinner stock.

Front Manual Feed Slot: Loads thick media (1.2 – 1.5 mm). Works with canvas and fine art paper. This option does not allow a user to utilize the full size of sheet since it sets a .75″ margin. Border-less printing is not available with this loading method.

Rear Manual Feed Slot: Your best option for loading fine art paper and canvas. This option allows border-less printing and utilizes the entire printable area of each canvas sheet.

Using the Rear Manual Feed Slot, you will be able to load canvas easily AND utilize the most of each sheet. However, sometimes a sheet of canvas on it’s own may be somewhat difficult to load properly.

Here is a comprehensive guide to loading canvas effectively, every time. In the following example, we are using 13” x 19” sheets of Lyve Canvas.

1. Grab your sheet of canvas.

2. Grab some plain copy paper (or similar paper). Cut 2 strips about 1″ wide to make 1” x 11” leader strips (from a standard 8.5″x11″ sheet of copy paper).

3. With your canvas sheet face down, place the strips along the leading edge of the sheet. The leader strip must be the same width as the sheet of paper, so in this case we’ve used 2 strips to cover the 13″ width of the canvas sheet.

4. Tape the leader strips to the back of the canvas sheet. Be sure that the leader strips are flush against the edge of the canvas sheet.

Note: If the paper leader is not straight OR flush against the sheet, the printer may not feed the sheet through, resulting in a paper feed error or skew error.

5. Feed the canvas into the Rear Manual Feed Slot, inserting the leader side first. The printer will automatically grab the leader and begin feeding the canvas sheet.

We are now ready to print our image. In this case, our image is 12″x18″ and we want it to print centered on a 13″x19″ sheet. In order for our print to come out properly (at the correct size and centered on our sheet), let’s open our file in Photoshop to adjust our image so we can achieve the maximum printable area on our sheet of canvas:

6. Open your image in Photoshop. Click on the Image pull-down menu and choose Canvas Size.

7. In the Height box, add 1” to the existing dimension. Our image will fit centered on a 13” x 19” sheet because we are adding 1 inch to the height (this accounts for the paper leader). Notice the arrows next to the word “Anchor”. These represent anchor points which allow you to add space to any side of your file. Click on the anchor that points straight down, which will add 1” on top of the image (and keep everything centered).

8. Go to File>Print. Set the appropriate Print Settings (Video tutorial HERE). Click on the “Print Settings” button (“Page Setup” if using a Photoshop version prior to CS5) to access the Epson print driver.

9. Under Paper Settings, set the Source to “Manual – Rear”. Next to Size, click on the “User Defined…” button.

10. Enter the Paper Size Name (13×20), and enter the Paper Width and Height. Click Save, then click OK.

You are now ready to print your image. The end result is a true 12″x18″ image print that’s centered on our sheet of canvas!

Do you have any questions regarding the steps above? Do you have your own loading method? Let’s hear them!


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