How to print eco-greeting cards

Posted by Penny on February 01, 2012
Craft, Information, Recycled Paper, Recycling

Greeting Cards by Madeleine Stamer – Little Circus Design. For sale here. Printed on 100% post consumer recycled card.


Hello! Let’s talk greeting cards! The cards I design and create for my business, Pocket Carnival, are as eco-friendly as I can get them (with fairly limited resources!) They’re printed on 100% post-consumer recycled card, with the same sort of envelope, and packaged in a biodegradable cello sleeve.

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been using recycled since I started printing them commercially, and I market that fact! So, over the past couple of years I’ve had lots of queries about how artists and designers can print their own recycled cards. I’ve put together a tiny guide to help you get started.

Decision One: Home Printer vs Professional Printer.

If you’re starting out producing greeting cards (or if you’re switching over to recycled card) you have to decide if you want to print the cards yourself, or if you want to get them printed by a printing company. There are pros and cons to both. I print all mine in my studio on what is essentially a photo printer. If you print at home you will initially have to spend a little to get a good quality printer, but I love printing myself as I’m in control of quality and quantities. I love that I can print to order, rather than needing to get a minimum quantity done by a printing company. However, this does mean I need to print, fold & package all the cards. No biggie, I can do this while watching dvds!

There are also archival ink home printers around – Epson is a favoured brand. This can be a bigger investment, but archival ink is what a fine artist would use for an art print. The good stuff.

The main problem with home printers is the eco-cred of the ink – I am not even sure if it’s possible to get soy or vegetable based inks for a home printer, whereas an eco-friendly printing company will have that stuff by the bucketload.

Printing companies to try: Arena Printing (Melb), Print Together (Melb), The Environmental Printing Co (Perth), Maleny Green Printery (QLD).


Inaluxe range of Earth Greetings Cards – printed on 100% post consumer recycled card.

Decision Two: Cardstock.

This is the tricky bit. I’ve talked a bit previously about the difference between regular, FSC certified, recycled and 100% post-consumer recycled. Generally 100% post-consumer is easy to find in an office or printer paper, but much harder in cardstock. I purchase mine wholesale from a paper company, and if you’re going to produce much of a quantity of cards or paper goodies, you’ll want to as well. If you’re using a printing company, make sure they offer 100% post-consumer recycled card, and ask them to send you some samples of different weights and brands so you can decide if you like any.

If you’re printing yourself, any decent wholesale paper company will be able to send you samples of cardstock with environmental impact statements of the different paper. You’ll then want to print samples using your printer to determine which cardstock you’d like. Then you’ll be at the ordering stage! This is the part of the process where you can pretend you’re an extra on The Office, and an encounter with Dwight Schrute is just around the corner. No?

Paper selectors to try: Raleigh Paper, K. W. Doggett or Dalton.

Blueberry Paper Greeting Cards printed on 100% post-consumer recycled card. For sale here.

I hope this has helped a little in the inspiration and information departments!

If you have any questions, or if I’ve left anything out, please let me know!

6 Comments to How to print eco-greeting cards

  • I can recommend the recycled range from Doggett’s Paper… i’ve used it heaps and the quality is wonderful. They also have recycled envelopes too.

  • Penny, thanks for this post. I’ve been toying with making cards with my photos for a while, but haven’t been sure where to start. This has helped me heaps!
    Tasha xo

  • Kat says:

    Penny, this was such a helpful post given that I am currently weighing up these decisions for myself – i.e. what card stock and print at home vs a commercial printer… A questions I have is do you recommend any particular card stock that is 100% post consumer recycled but suitable for printing photographs onto for the card? For example a lighter,naturally unbleached card as opposed to darker brown?
    Thanks in advance for your help,

  • alana says:

    Hi there,
    Is there a certain epson scanner/printer i can look for for doing my cards and prints? im new to this :)

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