The laser printer was a great advancement for the office, but for home use it had some serious limitations. The heat of laser printers ruined specialized papers used in crafts and transfers, and inks were limited.

The latest generation of inkjet printers solves those problems and opens up a whole new arena for home arts and crafts projects, limited mostly by your own imagination. It’s worth doing a little research and paying more for a multitasking home printer than can make even simple household jobs more fun and rewarding.

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Newer inkjet printers can be used for paper crafts requiring thicker card stock. They can crank out scrapbook items and even whole one-foot-square scrapbook pages, plus generate greeting cards, stickers, transfers, decals and even temporary tattoos.

The best have top-loading paper trays adjustable for a wide range of paper and card stock, sometimes with separate internal trays for standard paper.

Epson Stylus Photo 1400
A top pick for the creative home is the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 inkjet printer. It is primarily a photo printer, capable of making high-quality prints on paper up to 13 X19 inches.

The 1400 will print on the 12 X12 inch card stock favored by many scrapbook builders. It also prints directly onto CDs and DVDs, putting text and images on either full-sized 12cm disks or the smaller 8cm disks used in camcorders. The printer holds both size disks in a special tray in the printer.

The CNET review of the 1400 gave it a top rating, critical only of its performance with black and white photos.

While the 1400 doesn’t have a memory card reader, it does have a front-mounted USB jack for loading pictures directly from a camera or from any kind of storage media.

Epson says the 1400 can handle paper up to 0.11mm thick and sized from 4 X 6 inches to 13 X 44 inches. It comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements.
The Epson Stylus Photo 1400 used Claria High-Definition ink, in six separate ink cartridges, so they can be replaces individually, as needed, rather than replacing a large cartridge when only one color runs out. Epson’s Creative Zone website provides templates for cards, scrapbook pages, letterhead stationery and papercraft toys.

HP Photosmart D7560
Another highly recommended home crafts printer is the HP Photosmart D7560, which was rated excellent in photo quality by Consumer Research. It has a color touchscreen 3.5-inch LCD touch screen for printing directly from memory cards without having to use a computer.

At the HP Creative Studio website, you can make photo books, scrapbooks, cards, calendars and numerous other crafts.

A PC World review points out that the D7560 can print to the edges of paper up to 8.5 X 11 inches, creating images with five ink cartridges with HP Vivera ink. These include standard black, cyan, magenta, yellow and a special photo black to give richer image depth. Like the Epson 1400, it can print directly onto CDs and DVDs.

The D7560 does not have Ethernet or Wi-Fi networking, which would be a limitation for a household that relies on remote printer operations. It does accept SD cards, MicroSD cards and memory sticks.

Canon Pixma iP4700
Another lower-cost option for home craft computers is the Canon ink option Pixma iP4700. It has dual paper trays and an automatic duplexer for easy two-sided printing.

Canon’s Creative Park website provides ideas for cards, scrapbook items, artwork, calendars and many more crafts.
The Pixma also lacks networking ports and provides only a USB port for external access. It can handle photo paper, standard paper, coated paper, envelopes and labels.

HP Photosmart eStation C510a
The last alternative for the early adopters is the HP Photosmart eStation C510a. Reviews of the earliest model warned of bugs and a steep learning curve, but the user reviews of newer models are more positive.

The C510a had full networking features, and a key new tool is a detachable tablet similar to a small tablet or book reader, called a Zeen, that can be carried around the house and employed in a number of ways. It can take images and send them to the printer, and it comes with a suite of specially-designed apps using Facebook, Crayola and Sesame Street kids’ projects.

A key point with any of these new printers is to research sources of specialized ink at bargain prices. A creative user will also have to find the kind of paper and card stock that matches the needs of a project and the characteristics of the ink available.

A final point for the serious home crafts user is to check with updates and new features in all these printer lines. The C510a, for instance, is reported to be greatly improved over the C510, but updates to its software are said to be important to its full functioning.