Printables are absolutely the best! I love following all my favorite artists on Instagram, drooling over their gorgeous creations, and then getting to use them in my very own projects at a fraction of the cost of other supplies. It is really a genius way to increase your craft stash! However, soon after I dove into the wide world of printables to use in my Bible journaling, art journaling, and memory keeping, I quickly learned that they are not the easiest to organize. At least not at first….
Sunday Secret #8 – Organizing Your Printables
Step #1 – Download your printables right away!
This may seem like a silly reminder to some of you seasoned pros, but I have run into plenty of people that choose to purchase their printables and not download them right away. My personal feeling is that if you don’t download them immediately after purchase, you are likely to forget that you purchased them in the first place! So, take a few minutes, click download, and watch that lovely artwork get transferred to your computer. Speaking of some first steps….
Step #2 – Print your printables right away!
This is right up there with downloading! Seriously, don’t delay….print your printables! Whether you have them sent off to be professionally printed, or you are like me and prefer to print them at home, go ahead and print your pages. I quickly glance at files and decide if I want them on cardstock or sticker paper, and I get them printed as quickly as possible. This does become a bit cumbersome when I do some binge buying during massive Print & Pray sales at Illustrated Faith, but it is well worth my time now to get this art onto actual pages I can use. That way, when I have a few minutes to spend journaling later, I have my printables all ready to go.
Step #3 – Organize the files on your computer
Again, this is a step that might feel a little crazy and time-consuming at first, but if you are hoping to find and print these files again in the future, this is an important step to take. Start by moving your files OUT of the downloads folder. This is generally where any computer saves them when they are initially downloaded from the internet. I organize mine in folders by company, and then by artist. So for instant, I have an “Illustrated Faith” folder that contains multiple folders named for each artist like “Elaine Davis” or “Shawna Clingerman”. If the artist goes by a different name online like “Brave Little Taylor”, I title the folder using the online name because that is what I am most used to seeing.
The next step is a doozy, but can be so beneficial when you are searching for files later on. I add tags to every printable file that I download. A tag is a series of descriptive words that come to mind when looking for a file. For instance, a printable that I download for Lent may be tagged with the following words – “lent”, “spring”, “pinks”, “greens”, “deer”, “Holy Spirit”, “sacrifice”, “refresh”. When you add these tags to the file, you will then be able to search for any of those words and come up with a list of files that fit in those categories. So, next year, when I’d like to search for spring printables that I already own, I will be able to find them really quickly!
Step #4 – File your printables
Remember how I mentioned printing out all of your files as soon as you get them? Well, that does you no good if you leave them in a growing stack on your desk. We all know that sometimes you can’t get around to using a printable right away, so it is important to have a system that you can use to file the printables away. I use a small file drawer next to my desk that holds printables. Every file is labeled with an artist’s name, and holds all the images by that artist. I don’t cut out my printables right away, I prefer to wait until I am planning on using that set. But, as I begin to cut out the images and a piece of paper becomes extra flimsy because of all of the cuts, I generally cut out the remaining images. I store these ephemera pieces in a clear sandwich bag within the original folder. This keeps them from being damaged as I search through the files.
Organizing your printables is an easy way to make sure that you will use them even more in your crafty projects! How do you like to organize yours?
For more posts about digital printables and how to use/enhance them, check out these posts:
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife