I get lots of random emails from companies pitching stuff to me (like one asking if I plan on writing about World Coconut Day..?!), but I got one in July that got my attention because it involved printing my own ribbon at home. Ribbon? Home? Personalized? Sign me up! So, the kind folks at Epson sent the LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit for me to review and try out.
First Impressions: I love that the kit is literally a kit. The container is reusable and it’s easy to carry around the printer, cartridges, manual, etc. for a crafting party. You even have a bit of room to add tape, scissors, measuring tape (you’ll see why below) or other crafty supplies.
The kit I received came with two ribbon packs– a gold on navy ribbon and a black on beige (ivory-ish). There are lots of other colors, including gold on black, which is (of course!) the one I want next. The ribbon is 1/2 wide by 16 feet long, so it’s a beefy size that’s perfect for personalization. The “ink” and the ribbon are all in one spool. The kit uses 6 AAA batteries, or you can use an AC adapter.
Initially, I installed the navy ribbon to just play around with functions like text size, frames, graphics, fonts, etc. I quickly printed these two ribbons. I was really surprised that the gold was as nice and bright as it was. It’s not a dull faux gold/mustard color, it’s legit gold. Not super shiny, but a nice matte finish.
As you can see, I used a frame on the top one and smaller text. On the bottom, I inserted a graphic. These graphics come pre-loaded and there are a ton of them. There’s icons for occasions like birthdays, weddings, babies, plus more everyday stuff like arrows, smiley faces, and sports stuff. Honestly, these graphics aren’t super fabulous, but they are cute enough. I don’t think I’d personally use them that often, but I wanted to at least try them out.
After those initial trials, I was ready to get down to business. One of my 2015 goals was to stop being a closet blogger. What I mean is that in my “real life” I don’t really tell people I am a blogger. I am painfully shy about it, although I do believe I provide good content. So, I’ve decided I want to host a launch party for my new blog design once it launches in late 2015. It’ll be a black, white and gold soiree (obvi!), and I want to give my guests cute favor boxes filled with treats.
I bought these cute boxes at Hobby Lobby for $2, and I wanted to print MWI and my URL on some ribbon to wrap the boxes. This required a bit more thought because I needed to make sure the ribbon was long enough to wrap around the box. What I did was use a piece of white cheap ribbon (the 44-cent spools from Walmart) and wrap it the way I wanted it. I then undid the bow and measured the ribbon length in inches. It was 23.5″, so I rounded it up to 24″. This ribbon is used just for getting the measurement since you must use a ribbon cartridge to actually print the ribbon (see my 3rd pic in this post).
A great setting on the Epson LabelWorks printer (the button with the A in the magnifying glass over on the right hand side) allows you to see the length of the ribbon BEFORE printing it. I had typed out “MWI MONICAWANTSIT.COM” in the middle font size, font Roman, and the length as is was 3.5″. I then divided 24″ by 3.5″ to get how many copies I needed (more on that in a second).
The total was 6.85, or 7 copies– BEFORE printing, you can tell the Epson LabelWorks printer how many copies (as few as 2 or as many as 9), or repeats, you need it to print. It’s the button that looks like a bunch of stacked pages (copies) in the far right corner. I hit that button, press 7, and then press the green print button.
It starts printing away! Woo. It took maybe a minute to print the 7 copies. It’s fairly fast.
I LOVE IT! The fonts included are pretty awesome considering this little printer doesn’t connect to a computer. It has both serif and sans serif fonts, script, UPPERCASE, shadow, outline, italic, bold…so many options. When you add in that you can customize font size, too, well…it’s amazing. And useful.
Once my printer finished printing, I pressed the blue arrow on the bottom and the green print button to advance the ribbon another inch so my text wouldn’t be RIGHT on the edge. I then punched the big green button on the side to cut it. I measured it to see if my math worked properly, and it was right at 26 inches. YAY! Success.
I do want to point out a HUGE advantage of the Epson LabelWorks printer…it doesn’t HAVE to be used with just their ribbon cartridges. They also sell regular label cartridges and iron-on cartridges perfect for moms who need to label sports uniforms or also perfect for Etsy sellers who want to brand their cloth items.
-Easy to use, lots of options that are easy to access
-Versatile uses (ribbon, iron-on, labels)
-Can print in horizontal or vertical orientations (Vertical would be great for DIY Christmas ribbon ornament hangers)
-Lots of fonts, icons, and frames
-Can print on up to 2 lines
-Can save up to 30 designs for repeated use
-Easy to plan your length before printing (use my tip above^^)
-Printer can make copies/repeats for you
-Ribbon cartridges are a bit $$. They average $20 each. I would be able to make about 7 ribbons out of one cartridge based on my example above. I’d likely have 25+ guests, so I’d need another 4 cartridges which would be $80.
-You cannot use your own ribbon…you have to use a ribbon cartridge.
Overall, I do recommend the Epson LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit for people wanting to make small quantities of personalized ribbons for parties, showers, holidays, crafts, etc. The printer itself is a great investment that will last many years for many different uses. Thanks to Epson for providing this kit for me to play with– I can’t wait to see what other crafts I can come up with!
What do you all think? Who wants to come to my launch party?
Be back soon with a pumpkin tutorial. (No kitchen update this week, sorry guys!)