FlowOneLineDrawings: Tips & tricks for printing your artwork

Great, you have your drawing! But what now?

Michelle Gemmeke
Oct 9, 2018 · 8 min read

There are endless creations you can make with your one line drawing. I’ve listed some of those options below, to inspire and give you tips & tricks for the execution.

But first I would like to note that you should use your PDF version to print. This format will stay sharp at any size and guaranty the best quality. The other files you received are good to use online.

Quick overview:

  • Print it on paper
  • Print it on canvas
  • Tips for mounting artwork on the wall
  • Make cards
  • Put it on a shirt
  • Engrave your drawing in a product
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Print it on paper

Printing it yourself can be very easy, as well as tricky business. It just depends on what you would like to achieve. Let’s look at options for the kinds of paper, a frame with or without a mat (passe partout) and the size.

Printing at home versus help from a professional

You can easily print the drawing at home or the office. But for a more professional look or additional options your local copyshop can help you out. My advice is to ask the staff for their help and opinion to get the most out of their services.

What paper to choose

In Europe, the thickness of paper is referred to in gsm (grammes per square meter). As far as I know a standard home/office printer usually can handle 75 gsm to 160 gsm paper. But to be sure you can check the specifications of your printer. For thicker paper you can go to a copyshop. If you are thinking about putting it in a frame 80 gsm to 160 gsm is fine. But in case you would like to put it up without anything (like on a clipboard) I would advise 160 gsm or thicker. If you would like to print the artwork as a card you should use 260 gsm to 300 gsm.

Type of paper
Next to the weight you can also consider the color (white, off-white, black, color) and finish (matte or gloss). This is really a personal matter and you can make your choice based on the frame you have in mind or your interior. I prefer printing my work black on white matte. When using a mat (passe partout) I would advise natural colored paper over bleach white, since the strong white will look blue-ish compared to the off-white mat. Without a mat the bleach white will probably be fine.

Did you know you can also make the line in the artwork any color you would like? Check your PDF reader/edit software for the options or ask me to change the color for you.

Picking a frame

You are free to pick any kind of frame at any size, whatever suits your interior. Though here are some tips based on my own experience framing the one line drawings.

Color and boldness
I find with a regular black frame can take the attention away from the thin lines, so it might be better to use a light colored frame, silver or gold one. Or you could try a very thin frame. Especially beautiful when it is a deep frame (the width from the wall), but thin on the front (the width of the frame on the front).

With or without a mat
A mat, also known as passe partout, can really add some dept, breathing space and make the work look more elegant. This does mean that it will take up space from the artwork and you don’t want the lines to end up too thin. So I advise only doing this with big frames (at least 30cm x 40cm / 11” x 14”).

Paper, image and frame size

What size you want to print probably depends on the space you are going to put it up and the frame you will use. The artwork can be printed at any size.

The artwork comes in vector PDF which means that the image is not just set pixels, but actually a calculation from anchor point to anchor point. This way it does not matter what size you make your artwork, it will always stay sharp.

One thing that might be good to take in account is the smaller you print the work, the thinner the lines will get. To make the work stand out from a distance it is better to print a bigger size.

Example of a frame without a mat
US: In case you would like a 8" x 10" frame you would just have to cut the letter in the size, I have a cut-out included in the PDF that should fit when printed at 100%. For other sizes just make sure your paper is big enough to fit.

EU: A3 size is 29.7 x 42 cm, usually fits in a 30 cm x 40 cm frame, you just have to cut off a centimeter from the top and bottom. A4 size is 21 x 29.7 cm, usually fits in a 20 cm x 30 cm frame, you just have to cut off a half a centimeter from the sides.

Example of a frame with a mat
US: I case you would like a mat, make sure to look at the inside dimensions of the mat. You could for example get a 11" x 14" frame with a 8" x 10" mat.

US & EU: Make sure to have the paper a bit bigger than the mat, but with the line-work still fitting in the opening of the mat.

Printing it on canvas

Another great way to print your artwork is putting it on canvas. In The Netherlands I know that Albelli and Hema offer such services. Also online there are many other companies (maybe closer to home) that offer photo printing services.

Mounting artwork on the wall

There are many ways to hang artwork on your wall, let me mention a few. I personally really like using “sticky nails”, the second method mentioned below.

Standard nail in the wall
It is effective, but labor intensive and you need the right tools. For example don’t use a regular drill for a concrete wall. If you do not have the tools at hand, you can most likely rent them from your local construction market. (In The Netherlands stores like Praxis or Gamma.) You don’t want the nail to fall out the wall after a while, so make sure to use a plug in a porous wall. Also make sure you do not hit any pipes or cables hidden in the wall. You can use a small detector for this. This is also available for rent.

Sticky nails
If drilling in the wall is too much fuss, I would recommend “sticky nails”. I personally use the “verstelbare klevende spijkers” from TESA, and it has been a great success. No holes, stayed on the wall so far, easy to install and easy to remove. These “sticky nails” are available

  • in construction stores (again like Praxis or Gamma)
  • some copyshops and office article stores such as Bruna
  • online at bol.com/amazon.com

I have them with a small white ‘hook’ and with a larger gray ‘hook’, I would recommend the larger gray hook because the frame has more surface to hang on to and won’t fall off.

Rail system
A hanging system with a rail on the wall, just below the ceiling. These are very handy to hang multiple frames and is very flexible as you can adjust at any time. Though it can be tricky to hang everything straighty and you will see the fish lines when you come closer.

Printing cards

I briefly mentioned it above, but you could also print the art on a card. Cards are great to send to loved ones or to put on the wall. Make sure to print it on thick enough paper to stay nice and firm. I would advise printing it on 260 gsm to 300 gsm paper or just use the standard ‘Print postcards’ option at your local copyshop. Since you probably have to print this medium at a copyshop anyway, make sure to check out the endless print possibilities they offer. Various kinds of paper such as white, colored and even metallic. But also exotic shapes, or special ink like ‘glittered color’. Get creative!

Put it on a shirt (or other clothing)

One of the best applications for your one line drawing is putting it on a shirt. You can turn your plain shirt into a personal, unique piece of clothing that really represents you. And it is not even that difficult! You can do it yourself or let it be printed for you.

Doing it yourself (DIY)

When you want to do it yourself, and you don’t have any professional equipment, you can use t-shirt transfer paper. I bought mine at HEMA, but you can also get it anywhere online. The advantage of this technique is that it is cheap, an easy at-home solution and you have more freedom where you place your design. Disadvantages are the limitation of size A4, the quality is likely less good and it is less durable. For this technique you need:

  • Light colored, (preferably cotton) t-shirt
  • T-shirt transfer paper
  • An inkjet printer
  • Scissors
  • An iron

Please follow the instructions that come with your transfer paper. This is just to give you an idea of the process. Put the transfer paper in your inkjet printer (it only works with inkjet, not laser) and print your design mirrored. It is important to mirror the design, because else it will end up mirrored on your shirt. Just look for a “reverse” or “mirror” setting in your printer. In case you are having trouble with this, please reach out to me and I can mirror it for you. Print the design, put it on your shirt and iron it.

Let professionals do it for you

There are many offline and online solutions to get your print on a t-shirt. Just Google what solution suits you best. Personally it is very important to me what kind of shirt it will be printed on, therefore I do not like ording the print including the shirt. I rather go with my own shirt to a local copyshop and get a custom solution. It might be a little more costly, but you are sure to get a shirt you feel comfortable in.

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Engrave your design in products

So get your own engraved, personal analog notebooks, cutting boards or one of the other products.

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Surely there are many more options with your one line drawing, but this is it for now. Good luck with making your drawing come to life!

With the project “Flow by Gemmi Art” you can get a custom hand made one line drawing based on a photo you upload. In case you are looking for a unique personal gift — or — art to upgrade your interieur,
make sure to check out my
Etsy Shop

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