Got Prompt Cards? Here’s everything you need to know about printing and cutting them!

This post will cover supplies, materials, and tips for printing to help make the printing & cutting process as easy as possible for you to DIY at home.

Supplies & Materials for DIY Printing and Cutting

Printing at home is easy to do if you have a printer that is fit for the job. You don’t need a state-of-the-art printer, but for best quality results you will need full ink levels and enough paper to print on.

There are thousands of choices for paper, which means unlimited possibilities! Of course, unlimited possibilities can also be very confusing!

If you plan on using plain paper, I recommend using a thick 110 lb cardstock. I usually use whatever my local big box stores have – just make sure it is 110 lbs! 60 lb cardstock will also work, but 110 lb cardstock is going to be sturdier.

The prompt cards are also the same size as the standard business card file size of 2 inches x 3.5 inches.

This size is compatible with most standard office supply products for printing business cards at home. This type of paper has perforations to separate each individual card.

Another option to explore is to print out the cards onto sticker paper, cut out from stickers and then affix them to larger and sturdier cards, such as index cards. This set of business card label sticker sheets are perfect for this!

Always Print a Test Page First!

All of my digital prompt files are formatted to be printed on a standard U.S. letter-size piece of paper measuring 8.5 inches x 11 inches. If you need to print on another size piece of paper (such as A4), you can usually adjust for this in your print settings.

I recommend printing a test page first before printing out multiple pages at once. Some printers may need calibrating before printing to make sure the lines and text are properly aligned with the paper.

Printer models and software can vary quite a bit between different manufacturers and computer operating systems. I recommend contacting the manufacturer of your printer with any specific questions when troubleshooting print errors.

For best results when printing, make sure you choose the “Borderless” Print option and print at actual size. This will help keep everything to scale and prevent distortion.

Note: If printing double-sided, you may not have the option to print borderless – this is okay but you won’t be able to use it with products such as the Avery Business Card Sheets.

If you are printing on cardstock, your printer may have a setting for thick paper – be sure you select it in your printer’s menu settings for paper types!

Tips for Cutting Out the Cards

After you print out your cards from the included PDF file, you will notice registration + crop marks on the margins of the page. These lines are what you will use as a guide to cut out your cards.

Cut on the Black Links

Here is a quick screenshot of an example page that shows where you will be cutting when you use the black lines in the margins of the page.

Where to Cut

This Westcott paper cutter is one of my best friends in my art room for cutting all sorts of things.

If you do a lot of paper cutting, you’ll also want to pick up a set of replacement blades to have as a backup just in case the blades would become dull in the middle of a project after extended use.

Protecting Printed Items for Group Use

If you are printing on standard copy paper, laminating the sheets is an inexpensive option that will protect the cards from extended use by groups.

Amazon offers this inexpensive thermal laminator along with laminating pouches that can be a worthwhile investment if you frequently print items out for your personal or professional use.

If laminating, I recommend printing a test page first and laminating before cutting. If the cards are not thick enough for your liking, you can laminate the cards twice before cutting for extra strength or print onto a heavier cardstock-weight paper.

Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions for any type of lamination machine you may use.

Another option to explore as an alternative to laminating prompt cards is to use individual business card protector sleeves such as these ones.

If you’re super thrifty and don’t want to run out to the store to get specific supplies for laminating, you could also just use clear packing tape that you tape over the cards before cutting.

{Tape and I don’t get along very well, but I’m throwing it out as an option also in case you are way more coordinated and patient than me!}

Storage & Containers

There are plenty of great ways to store and organize your printable items. Here are some fun ideas for storing business card sized cards:

Rolodex Business Card Holder: This would be a super cute and easy way to always keep your prompt cards on display and within reach. Most Rolodex systems come with sleeve protectors, so this can also be a good alternative to laminating cards.

MaxGear Wood Business Card Box: This beautiful and sturdy wood box would make an excellent home for your prompt cards.

Book Binder Rings: If you want to keep all of the cards together while easily flipping through them, book binder rings are another great choice for storage and portability.

You can of course also reuse and recycle any materials you might have around your house, such as storage tins, baskets, and containers you already have.

Another fun idea if you like to sew, crochet or weave is to make a pouch or zipper bag to hold all of the cards.

For more supplies & other options for printing, cutting, and storage, visit my Amazon storefront idea lists for my favorite supplies and materials!

Customizing the Design Files

Many of my prompt card products contain a plain text file and design source files you can use to customize for your own designs and needs.

For example, let’s say you download the One Word Prompt Cards but you want to print them onto a circle-shaped card instead of a rectangle-shaped card. The design files make this possible for you to do easily!

Here are some of the types of file formats you may find in your download, depending on what product you purchase.

.txt files: Plain .txt files contain only the words, with no HTML or formatting embedded into the document. These are ideal for copy and pasting the prompt text into any word processing or design software you like. All computers can open these files.

.pdf files: PDF files can be copy and pasted from, but may cause extra work for formatting. If you use any type of Adobe design software, such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe Acrobat DC you will be able to edit and change these files as you wish.

.csv files: These are files that are most often used in spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Apple Numbers. This type of file allows you to easily do a data merge in Microsoft Office or Adobe InDesign so you don’t have to necessarily cut/paste/format every single item – just the first one!

.indd files: These files can typically only be opened and easily edited in the Adobe InDesign software program, which is part of the Creative Cloud suite of products. These files can be useful to have if you want to tweak individual cards or want to have items professionally printed at your local print shop.

Anytime you design something for printing, it is VERY important that you design for print resolution and not web resolution.

If editing in Photoshop or other Adobe products, be sure the resolution for any files you edit or design and save is set for a minimum print resolution of 300 PPI. This will help ensure a high-quality print!

I hope these printing tips are helpful for you, and of course, if you have any questions about printing or storage solutions I am happy to answer them.

You can reach me anytime via my contact form here.