It's the week before Christmas, the kids are out of school and you haven't finished your holiday shopping. Avoid the malls and baby sitters and check out some of our favorite do-it-yourself holiday projects that can be done with the kids at home!
I spoke with reps from Canon, Epson and HP about some of their favorite products for creating fun, simple gifts from the comfort of your own home, often using the printer you already have set up. Or create a custom project online and have it mailed to you at home!
If you own a newer Canon printer, you should consider delving into the My Image Garden software. You can create holiday cards, fun collages, 2013 calendars and one of a kind photo prints using the Full HD Movie Print and/or the Special Filters.
In order to create these projects on your Pixma at home, you'll need to make sure you have a full set of ink and the correct paper for your project. Up the professionalism of the calendars by taking them to your local Fed Ex Kinko's and have them bound and/or laminated.
You can also check out Canon's Creative Park for more ideas including scrapbooking kits, photo frames, photo albums, photo cubes, downloadable greeting cards and 3D paper crafts. All of these can be accessed through My Image Garden by selected the Creative Park Premium icon. Quick disclosure: Canon says that you won't be able to print items from the Creative Park if you are using generic ink cartridges. Didn't have time to test this out since we only had Canon cartridges in the office but consider that when planning out your products.
Whether you own an Epson Artisan or a newer Epson Expression, you can create a plethora of fun items using their printer including: family/holiday photo collages, holiday cards, calendars, CDs with fun photo prints and place cards, menu cards and party invitations for the holiday dinners and parties. Again, you'll need to check your ink levels and purchase the create consumables but you can get these at any office supply store, online or often even at your local grocery store in the office supply aisle.
And for businesses interested in coming up with a unique holiday party idea, consider the one we got from Epson: Setup up your Expression Photo XP-850 (or other Epson printer) so that employees can print photos they are taking on their phones at the party. In a small office environment, it's easy to do since everyone is connected to Wi-Fi and simply needs to download the Epson iPrint app to their Smartphone or tablet.
You can also head to Epson's Creative Zone for projects and templates for both the home and business. They have seasonal projects available (although you have to dig slightly for the holiday/Christmas projects since they still have the fall stuff up on the front page (or get a 10-month jump on Halloween 2013).
As with both Canon and Epson, HP also offers plenty of creative projects - think holiday coloring pages, crafts and calendars - using your Photosmart or ENVY e-all-in-one printers. Check out the HP ePrint Center Apps for several fun applications for kids including printable content from Mattel, DreamWorks, Disney, Nickelodeon and more. Even if you aren't interested in creating presents, you can set up the kids with Shrek or Barbie coloring pages and get your wrapping or cooking done. You'll also find some generic holiday themed cards and craft apps up there now.
For more professional looking gifts, you can use HP Photo Creations, Snapfish Custom Home Design Shop, or Snapfish by HP Photo Book to create framed photo canvases, children's wall decor, photo panels, photo books and posters for the home starting at just $5. You can then choose to have your gifts sent mail-to-home delivery or same day pickup at retail partners nationwide (depending on the item). But make sure you order this week if you want to receive your packages by Christmas!
Love the ideas but need a new printer to create them on? Check out the PrinterComparison Holiday Buyer's Guide for a list of some of the best consumer and SMB printers available! And get even more great gift ideas with the TechnologyGuide Holiday Buyer's Guide!
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