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August 2016

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Free Cactus Art to Prettify Your Tech

Hi there! Thank goodness it’s Freebie Friday! (It’s been a few months, eh?)

Scroll down to see what I’m sharing today. This one should be fun for those of you who want a quick art fix!

Free Cactus Art to Prettify Your Tech • Wallpaper / Screen Saver • Little Gold Pixel

That’s right, I’m sharing some wallpapers today!

This is just a little cactus art I created in Illustrator. It feels light and airy and lazy summer, which really lit a fire under me this week. I thought I’d better post it quick before the sun starts setting at 5 p.m. and everyone wants to change out their screen savers for illustrations of fall foliage and fireplaces.

For some reason when I think fall I think “burnt sienna crayon.” Tell me I’m not alone.

Free Cactus Art to Prettify Your Tech • Wallpaper / Screen Saver • Little Gold Pixel

Anyway, I’ve been challenging myself to do more and more in Illustrator. In case you didn’t know, my comfort zone is Photoshop and InDesign. I love making illustrations in Photoshop, even though it isn’t the most intuitive choice for most designers.

But lately I’ve felt like stretching my legs into more vector-based art. I credit it to the pattern-making I have been doing this year.

It’s been so freeing to learn new shortcuts and techniques. And simultaneously frustrating when I forget said shortcuts overnight. Before you know it, I’ll have a cheatsheet for every aspect of my life, from my passwords to my tech shortcuts to my leaving-the-house routine.

If it isn’t written down, it isn’t getting done!

Free Cactus Art Wallpaper/Screen Savers

Fine print: For personal use only. Do not redistribute or pass Go.

Tools used: Illustrator, Photoshop, Skillshare

Free Cactus Art to Prettify Your Tech • Wallpaper / Screen Saver • Little Gold Pixel

Download Desktop Wallpaper

(Desktop version: Right-click on the image and Set as Desktop Background)

Download Phone Wallpaper

(Mobile version: Save image to your device and set as wallpaper.)

 

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Free Cactus Art to Prettify Your Tech • Wallpaper / Screen Saver • Little Gold Pixel

How to Print Printables: The Complete Guide

How to Print Printables • Little Gold Pixel

How to print printables … variations of this question pops up in my email over and over again, and I’ve worn my keyboard out writing replies. It dawned on me that perhaps a post outlining the process would come in handy.

At first I was a little confused as to why I get this question so frequently. But I soon started noticing patterns. It’s not as though people do not know how to hit the print button on their computers; in fact, it’s a little more nuanced than that.

It’s that there are so many options on HOW to print in this fine digital age.

Some people are looking for professional quality from their home printer. Some do not have a home printer. Some want to scale the art larger.

I’ll try to hit all of my FAQs in this post. I’ll continue to add more answers to the inevitable new questions here, so make sure to bookmark this page for reference.

How to Print Printables — At Home

Q: How can I adjust the size of the printable before printing?

I usually offer PDFs at 8×10 (U.S. standard frame size) or 8.5×11 (U.S. letter size). Let’s assume we’re starting with a PDF in one of those sizes, and let’s assume you aren’t using Photoshop (highly recommended!) or a comparable file-handling app. Printing the PDF from default programs (Reader, Preview, Word) should give you a dialogue box that allows you to adjust sizing by percentage.

Here’s a quick guide for reference. Caveat: Changing an 8×10 into a 5×7 is very approximate because they are different ratios. Therefore you will need to trim from the sizes to get the artwork to fit in a 5×7 frame. This will rescale enough so most of the artwork will make it into the frame.

8×10 PDF

Resize %
8×10 to 8.5×11 110%
8×10 to 5×7 70%
8×10 to 4×6 60%

8.5×11 PDF

Resize %
8.5×11 to 8×10 94.5%
8.5×11 to 5×7 64%
8.5×11 to 4×6 55%

If you’re interested in resizing art to a larger scale to print outside the home, you’ll want to check out this tutorial on resizing printables using free tools.

Q: What paper should I use?

You can use your regular weight printer paper! Really! The idea of a printable is that it’s artwork that might be temporary or easy to switch out for something new. However, if you’ve fallen in love with one of my printables (aw, shucks!) and would like a more permanent piece of art, I recommend photo paper (matte), cardstock, premium (heavyweight) paper or archival paper. Make sure to check your printer settings and adjust the paper accordingly so it will not get stuck inside your printer. This is especially true for thicker paper.

Q: Should I buy an ink jet or laser jet printer?

Honestly, if you have a printer that was made in the past 5 years, you should be fine. I have an ink jet printer, which was great when I printed less often and more photography. I want a laser jet printer because now that I design a lot at home I am printing more, and using up so much ink.

Laser Jet

Ink Jet

Faster/good for bulk Slower/watch out for wet ink
Expensive toner/change less often Less expensive ink/change more often
Best for: anyone who needs to print lots of pages Best for: photographers

Q: Why does the color look different on the printout than it does on my screen?

Computers and devices are backlit and look different depending on your personal level of brightness. Additionally, computers are capable of displaying more colors, especially brighter tones, than CMYK ink is able to replicate. When it makes sense, I convert files to CMYK to get a more accurate print rendering. Sometimes I will keep the file in RGB to give you more control over how to print it (some online vendors only accept RGB files).

Q: How can I get this 8.5×11 printable to bleed to the outer edges of the paper?

In most programs, it should bleed by default. I’ve noticed that in Preview, you will need to change your paper size to US Letter Borderless:

How to Print Printables • Little Gold Pixel

 

How to Print Printables — Via Local Vendors

Put the file on a USB thumb drive and take to your neighborhood printer for a more professional result.

The best places to go are Staples, Office Max, Kinkos. They are prepared to deal with any size paper you are looking for, and in various textures and weights. This is a good opportunity to scale up the artwork to a size you wouldn’t be able to print at home. Perhaps 11×14.

I caution against printing too large to avoid pixelation, especially if the art is a scanned image or was rasterized in Photoshop. It might not bother you, but then again it might.

How to Print Printables — Online

Finding physical print shops is almost like finding unicorns nowadays. They’re disappearing at alarming rates, being outpaced by online printing.

Q: What’s the best online printer?

For photo printing:

  • Mpix. By and large the best!

For business cards/postcards:

For digital printing/posters:

For photo books (when one print won’t suffice):

Q: My online printer doesn’t allow me to upload PDF files. What do I do?

Follow my advice in the first part of this post about resizing printables using free tools. There are several online converters that can turn a PDF into a JPG. Make sure to pick the “highest resolution” option.

Pro tip: Tell the vendor not to color correct the file or you might get strange colors.

How to Print Printables — Conclusion

I hope you feel better about your printing options now. If anything is unclear or you have additional questions, please email me for clarification! Happy printing!

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How to Print Printables • Little Gold Pixel

First Day of School Printable Signs

Today I’m going to share some First Day of School printable signs.

First Day of School Printable Signs • Little Gold Pixel

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

The time of year in which kids dress in brand-new fall clothes when it’s 100 degrees outside.

When every parent makes said kids hold up First Day of School signs.

When said kids awkwardly grimace whilst standing with the signs in the driveway because it’s so early that it’s still dark outside.

I know it’s the time of year for these things because I have a kid who starts kindergarten on Tuesday.

What?!

I’m not sure how we got here. I mean, I know how we got here. Time marches on, and I have the random gray stray hair to prove it. It’s just that kindergarten snuck up on me.

We had a routine, a very comfortable preschool routine with teachers and kids we liked, and then all of a sudden she graduated from preschool. At the same time, Facebook began reminding me that, hey, remember when your kid was a newborn 5 years ago today?

Unacceptable!

Because of this, I may have deleted Facebook off my phone. Facebook’s crime? Being a smug jerk that dares remind me that it’s First Day of School printable signs time.

So I made some signs. From preschool to kindergarten to senior in high school, it’s all there.

Now it’s up to you to make your kids hold one up at 6 a.m. while they’re projecting major stink eye. I get the pleasure of doing this for the first time in a few days. Wish me luck!

First Day of School Printable Signs

First Day of School Printable Signs • Little Gold Pixel

High-res PDF has 14 pages, one for each grade. PreK-12th grade. Signs will print on standard size paper (8.5×11). For personal use only. Not for resale or redistribution. Contact me if you have any questions concerning usage.

Don’t forget to tag me on social media if you use these! Grumpy (and happy) overdressed students make me smile!

Fonts: Nickainley, League Spartan Bold
Tools: Illustrator

Download

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First Day of School Printable Signs • Little Gold Pixel

Stranger Things Free Art Printable (Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation)

Welcome to Film & Frame, where movies meet free printables. This is the feature where I create a printable that suits a fictional character or show. Today I’m sharing a Stranger Things free art printable. (Keep reading & scrolling to download.)

Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

If you tell me about a movie/show that begins with friends riding bikes in the dark in 1980s suburbia, chances are I’m going to have to watch it. I really don’t even care if there is a faceless monster (there is!) or Winona Ryder (double cool!).

There’s just something about stories that harken to my youth. To that blissfully carefree world of riding bikes, and “be home by dinner,” and no adults keeping tabs on you at all times. Never mind that no child had any business riding a bike on an empty road after dark, near a potentially creepy wilderness.

… Not that I would know anything about that …

I grew up a block from an overgrown wasteland we called “the Big Ditch.” If that didn’t sound ominous to me at age 7, it certainly sounds ominous at age 37.

Anyway, if you haven’t already, watch Stranger Things on Netflix. It’s eight episodes, which means two nights of binge watching in my world.

First, let’s dig on these vibes to get us in the mood:

Stranger Things • Little Gold Pixel

Stranger Things • Little Gold Pixel

Stranger Things • Little Gold Pixel

Normally this is where I’d leave you with a free printable, but I felt like shaking things up a little bit and re-creating a little bit of the Stranger Things early 1980s home decor. Nostalgia overload? Nahhh, no such thing.

Home Decor Inspired by Stranger Things

Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

(1) String lights for speaking to the Upside Down • (2) Macrame plant hanger because this is what we did in the Eighties • (3) Another macrame plant hanger so you look like you have a real green thumb! • (4) Rotary wall phone for obsessively calling the police • (5) Cozy yellow blanket for those sleepless nights • (6) Tufted sofa that looks like something you wish you had from your grandparents’ house

Wall Art Inspired by Stranger Things

In my obsessive Stranger Things internet searching, I found so many pieces of fan art that I absolutely had to share some of them. Also found? Free compass art. We’re going in circles!

Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation (made by me, free download below) • Red ElevenLightbulbCompass (link works for both) • Night DreamsTurquoise ElevenThe Upside Down

Stranger Things Free Art Printable (Mornings are for Coffee and Contemplation)

Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

I got a chuckle out of Sheriff Hopper’s wise words. Of course this needed to be my Stranger Things free art printable.

Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

This freebie includes a watermark. For personal use only. You may not redistribute or do anything the faceless monster would do. For watermark-free versions, head over to the shop.

Typefaces used: Molesk & Matador

Download Here

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Stranger Things Free Art Printable Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation • Little Gold Pixel

 

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel

Have you ever downloaded a freebie and found out that it was an awkward size? For example, 8×14 instead of 8×10. Or 8×11 instead of 5×7. Or some random size like 9×12.

Yikes. You’re definitely going to need to crop and resize these to get them to fit into your standard-size frame.

I’ve heard from many of you who are looking for an easy solution to resizing a printable without using paid apps like Photoshop. I admit, Photoshop is my go-to for resizing and cropping files.

But I recognize that sometimes you need free. Sometimes you need the on-the-go luxury of using web-based apps.

So today I’ll show you how to work with PDF printables to resize for a standard frame, using two very easy sites: PDF 2 JPG and Canva.

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools

I’ve noticed that free printables come in odd shapes when they’re vintage images or clip art, like my favorites from The Graphics Fairy. In fact, I’m going to grab this gorgeous tropical leaves printable from The Graphics Fairy to use as a demonstration.

We lucked out, and it’s a standard 8.5×11 size. But, alas, I have a 5×7 frame.

The first thing to do is go to PDF 2 JPG and follow the instructions to convert your file into a JPG (you cannot upload a PDF into Canva, where we’re going next). Make sure you choose the “Excellent – 300 dpi” JPG option to ensure a crisp, high-res JPG.

Let’s move over to Canva, starting on your “create a design” page. Take a look in the upper righthand corner and select “use custom dimensions.” Type your dimensions (don’t forget to change the units to inches). Ta-da! You’ve created a template in the correct size for your frame.

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel

Next, upload your newly created JPG. Then drag and drop onto the template, and resize by manipulating the corners of the image.

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel resizeincanva_4 How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel

Last, download as a PDF: For Print.

How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel

There you go! Now all you have to do is print and frame — and you did it all for free.

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How to Resize Printables Using Free Tools • Little Gold Pixel

P.S. Like these easy design tutorials? Try making a circle photo.

P.P.S. Learn even more cool stuff on Skillshare.