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How to Print Art Prints You Bought Online

Art print with motivational quote

Purchasing digital artwork from Etsy or various other websites has become increasingly popular due to its affordability and accessibility. I have offered my artwork as a digital download for years as an easy way for people to spruce up their walls (also a way they can get my artwork without having to worry about a physical print getting damaged during shipping). So chances are if you are reading this, you are either contemplating buying digital art prints and are trying to figure out how to get it from the computer screen to a physical print you can frame and hang on your walls, or you have already purchased something and are trying to figure out the best, most reliable, or maybe most affordable way to print your newly acquired little artistic gem. Whether you plan to print at home or seek professional printing services, this guide will help you navigate the process and ensure you obtain high-quality prints for your home or office decor.

So here is a quick yet comprehensive guide on how to get quality prints in any size and for any budget.

1. How to Download Artwork you purchased from Etsy or a Website: Downloading your Etsy digital art or art from a website such as mine is a straightforward process - but it can be a bit confusing if you don't know exactly where to go to access your artwork. Here's how you can do it:

How do I print an art download from Etsy?: If you have an Etsy account and you just purchased the digital download and haven't left the confirmation screen yet, you can quickly download your art by clicking on the "View Your Files" link after your payment is confirmed. You can also expect an email with a download link. For non-account holders, the download link will be sent to your email after payment is completed. Save the digital file to your preferred destination on your PC. Alternatively, if you are logged into your Etsy account, click on Your Account button in the top left corner and go to "Purchases". You will see a full list of your Etsy order history, and scroll to the order you want to download and click Download Files, like I've shown here.

Example of how to download files you purchased off of Etsy

How do I download a print I purchased from If you purchased one of the prints from my website, the process is relatively similar. Immediately after you purchase the print and the payment is confirmed, you will be taken to a confirmation page where you can immediately download the files.

Example of how to download digital files purchased online

If you have already left the confirmation page, then you can find the order confirmation email and download directly from there.

Example of how to download digital art print

So now you have the downloaded files, what next?

2. Options for Printing Digital Art: Now that you have your digital files, you may wonder where to print them. Here are four options to consider:

  • Local Print Shop: For high-quality art prints, local print shops are an excellent choice. Although they may be slightly more expensive, they use archival inks and fine art papers, ensuring superior results. Search online for "art prints near me" or similar phrases to find local printing services.

If you are going to print at a Local Print shop, here are some questions you can ask them to ensure they provide the type of prints you have in mind:

  • What is the difference between the different papers you print on?

  • Can you match the colors of the digital image exactly?

  • What print sizes do you offer?

  • Will the print fade over time?

  • What type of ink do you use?

  • What are the costs?

  • Can I see an example before making a purchase?

Art Print of a Hipster Giraffe
  • Office Supply Stores: Office supply stores like Office Depot, CVS, Staples, Cosco, and FedEx also offer printing services. While the print quality may not match that of specialized printing companies, these stores are more cost-effective and very often are a perfect option for printing art prints you bought online. Bring your digital image on a USB drive or upload it directly to their online platforms to place your order. To get an idea of the cost of a store such as these, I have printed my own prints at FedEx on cardstock for less than $2.00 each. Simply upload the print to their online site, print and pick up the next day, ready to frame.

One thing you may encounter when printing at an office supply store is limited options when it comes to sizing. So for example, you may want a print for an 8x10" frame, but they can only print in 8.5x11" standard paper sizes. It can still be a good option though especially if you have access to a quality paper cutter.

3. Printing Large Prints of downloadable Art: If you're interested in larger prints, consider the following factors:

  1. Aspect Ratio and Print Size: Ensure the seller provides information on the aspect ratio and recommended print sizes. This information will help you determine the ideal size for your prints.

Art print framed in black picture frame; LEGO art work hard play harder

A ratio is generally more important than an indicated "size" of a print since that determines how you can scale the print up or down. For example, a ratio of 3:2 an give you a print size of 12x18, 16x24, 20x30, 24x36, 28x42 or 32x48. A ratio of 4:3 can give you a print size of 12x16, 18x24, 24x32, 30x40 or 36x48. A ratio of 5:4 will give you an 8x10 or a 16x20. So make sure the print you are getting is the right ratio to fit the frame you are looking to fill if you already have a frame or a certain size print you need. Otherwise you can buy the frame to match the print size.

  1. Digital File Size: Check the digital file size provided by the seller or reach out to them for clarification. The file size determines the print quality for specific sizes. Inexperienced digital artists may design a piece of art that looks great on the screen but may only be a DPI of 150, or be far too few pixels for it to print or enlarge and still appear very crisp and clean (you will start to get blurry/pixelated prints if you buy art that has a file size that is too small). You want to make sure your artwork has a DPI of at least 300 to get a high quality print. Here's a standard resolution/file size guide for common print sizes:

  • 4" x 6" print: 640 x 480 pixels

  • 5" x 7" print: 1024 x 768 pixels

  • 8" x 10" print: 1536 x 1024 pixels

  • 16" x 20" and 20" x 30" prints: 1600 x 1200 pixels

4. Choosing the Best Paper for Art Prints: Before printing your digital downloads, you also want to consider the paper type and weight:

  • Paper Types:

    • Alpha-Cellulose Papers: Common for fine art prints.

    • Cotton Rag Papers: Textured paper that emulates the appearance of original artwork.

    • RC Photo Papers: Resin-coated paper. Generally speaking when printing on paper you will come across a few standard descriptions: glossy, matte, uncoated. Glossy has a sheen to it, like a photograph. Matte has a subtle finish but not what you would consider to be glossy. Whereas uncoated does not have any finish, sheen or coating - it

  • Paper Weight. Printing on Canvas from Etsy or Website prints: Canvas prints offer durability and aesthetic appeal. Here are some benefits and care tips:

  1. Durability: Canvas prints are long-lasting and resistant to fading over time, making them a popular choice among artists and collectors.

  2. Stretching and Framing: Canvas prints can be easily stretched or framed without damaging the image, allowing for versatile display options.

  3. Frameless Display: Canvas prints can also be hung without a frame, providing a clean and modern look to your artwork.

  4. Easy Maintenance: Cleaning canvas prints is simple - a gentle wipe with a damp cloth is usually sufficient if needed. Several of the printing options listed above offer canvas printing as an option. It will be more expensive than printing on a quality cardstock and having it framed, but it is also worth it in the end if that is the look you are going for with your decor.

Digital art print printed and turned into a Christmas greeting card

5. Printing Greeting Cards from Etsy: Sending unique greeting cards to loved ones is a thoughtful gesture. Downloadable graphics make for a very cute way of creating unique cards that are sure to wow your loved ones. To print your graphics in a greeting card format, consider the following:

  • Online Printing Services: Many companies offer online printing services for greeting cards. Explore print-on-demand (POD) sites for convenient printing and shipping options.

  • Print at Home: as with traditional prints discussed above, you can easily format greeting cards at home by printing your design on half of the page, slightly scoring down the middle and folding over.

6. Printing Large Poster Prints from digital downloads: For artists seeking large poster prints, here are important considerations:

  1. Printer and Materials: Find a reputable printer that uses high-quality ink and archival paper to ensure long-lasting, fade-resistant prints.

  2. High-Resolution Files: Provide the printer with high-resolution files of your artwork, preferably at a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.

  3. Test Prints: Before committing to a larger order, consider ordering a few test prints to assess how your artwork looks when printed at a larger size.

7. Cheapest Printing Options: If you're looking for cost-effective printing solutions, keep the following in mind:

  1. Print Size: Larger prints typically come with higher production costs. Consider the size carefully to manage your budget effectively.

  2. Paper Quality: For promotional purposes, you can opt for lower-quality paper. However, for professional results, consider using fine art paper, which is thicker and more textured.

And there you have it! Let me know in the comments if you had any additional questions about purchasing digital downloads online and printing them!

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