Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace Tech Review: Canon Selphy 1300 Printer

makerspacelogo1

When I began thinking of creating a Teen MakerSpace, I knew that one of the things I wanted to include was a digital media lab or station. My goal was to teach my Instagram and meme loving teens how to create their own Instagram worthy pics or memes. And given the number of super cool apps available out there, I thought that using tablets would be a good way to do this. The only problem with tablets is that they don’t print well with conventional public library printing systems. If you have secure access to a wifi printing system, you can get around this, but if you have to hard wire into a printer using tablets for things like photo manipulation and meme creation can be a real stumbling block. Actually, it’s impossible. Printing from a tablet is challenging if you don’t have secure access to an air print enabled printer.

I developed a somewhat doable work around for this problem, but it involved more steps than simply hitting print and it is by no means ideal. This work around involves creating some type of an account, such as a Dropbox or Flickr account, to upload photos into and then logging onto another device to print them. See, not ideal. Too complicated, too many steps, and just too cumbersome. I have spent 3 years researching the best ways to print from tablets.

selphy4

I have recently, however, become aware of the Canon Selphy 1300 photo printer and have found that this is indeed a really good device to help fix the printing problem. The Canon Selphy has a built in WLAN so you connect with it using wifi but it has its own unique password so you don’t have to worry about others jumping onto your connection and accidentally printing. I want to print my pictures, I don’t want others to find the printer and send their own prints to it.

The Canon Selphy works like this: You have to download a print app to print from your tablet or smart phone. There is a Canon Selphy app that you can use, but I have also used it with a generic app called Print to Size. Both worked fine. The Print to Size app allowed me to make my picture smaller on the sheet and make more than one copy as I was printing the image to make buttons out of them.

selphy

The Basics

The Canon Selphy 1300 costs $110.00 by itself.

You can buy a paper/printer cartridge pack that makes 108 prints for $37.99. This averages out to roughly .36 cents a print.

You can print wirelessly through a password secure WLAN.

The Canon Selphy printer prints onto 4×6 photo paper.

It has a few other features that I haven’t fully explored yet, like making photobooth strips.

Mobile & Compact Printer | SELPHY CP1300 | Canon USA

A Few Unique Things

Printing on the Canon Selphy is different than printing on a regular copier because of the printing method used. Here, your paper will make several passed through the printer and it prints one color at a time.

The Canon Selphy paper has perforated edges, which means that your photo doesn’t have crisp edges at the two ends. You can solve this with a paper cutter, but I would prefer clean edges without this extra step.

The Quality of the Photo

selphy3

For me, the biggest selling point was the amazing quality of the photo. It does not compare at all to a standard printer because it is really sharp and clear. I have made a lot of art using a simple smart phone and some apps and I was blown away with the improvement in print quality using the Canon Selphy. I printed several prints in both color and black and white and was very satisfied with the quality of the prints.

So Why the Canon Selphy?

I learned about the Canon Selphy from a friend who is a part of an online button making community. Many button makers use this printer because it is small and travels well. Many in the button making community use the Selphy and they set up quick photo booths, print their photos, and turn those photos into buttons. This is something we do with our Teen MakerSpace outreach, minus the printing, so we wanted to see if this would be a good tool for our mobile photo booths. The answer is yes, yes it would be. It’s portable, easy to use and quick, a great resource for mobile photo booths.

A digital media image becomes a button

selphy2 selphy selphybutton

It also helps us solve the setting up a digital media lab using tablets and being able to print problem. And with the printer being portable, we can store the Selphy when we aren’t emphasizing the digital media lab and bring it out when we are.

Final Thoughts

I recommend the Canon Selphy 1300 both personally, I’m going to print all the things, and for a digital media lab looking to use tablets and wanting a quick way to print quality images using a secure wireless connection. It’s also a very workable printer for mobile printing if you want to set up a photo booth.

Tech Talk: The Ongoing Quest for iPad/iPhone Printing, Or, How I Fell in Love with a Printing App

At home and in my Teen MakerSpace, I find myself on an endless quest to figure out how to print from a mobile device like a tablet or smart phone. This is particularly true when it comes to Instagram pics. For a while I was quite happy using an app called Print Your Insta, but when Instagram updated the app was no longer compatible. Thus began a new quest for wifi printing options. My quest was arduous, but I managed to find an even better app that opened my world to new possibilities.

The Wireless Printing Service

If you work in a public library, the most reasonable suggestion is to use a wireless printing host, such as PrinterOn. One of the library’s that I worked at used this service and it worked fine for us (most of the time). It can have some issues, especially if you have an IT department who is concerned with security issues. This service can be open to the public, which is great for patrons who bring their own devices and need to print.

For something like a Teen MakerSpace, you do not need to have an open wifi printing network, you just need a wireless compatible printer. Sometimes these are called AirPrinters. Whatever they are called, they allow you to send a print job over a wifi network.

The Polaroid ZIP Printer

You can also buy and use something like a Zip printer if you have a small Teen MakerSpace, like I do. The device itself works fine, but the paper is expensive – and small. It’s great for doing something like a remote photo booth and printing off quick pics to send home with your teens, but not ideal for a long term situation.

printing3

The Print to Size App

printing6

Even with a wireless printer, Instagram is not set up to print. It’s one of the main flaws with the app in my opinion. So you have to use a printing app to get your Instagram pic from your device to a printer. Some of the various apps I have tried include HP Snapchats, PhotoPrint LT, and Print to Size.

The best app I have found is an app called Print to Size, which appears only to be available for Apple products (sorry). It allows you to pick your paper size, easily drag and size your pictures, and to place multiple pictures on one sheet of paper. It’s quick, easy and incredibly versatile. You do have to have a wifi/airprint printer to use your mobile device to print over a wifi network. This app is not just great for printing your Instagram pics, it is a one stop app for all your photo printing needs.

Insert and size your image

Insert and size your image

You can then send your image to the printer or export it as a PDF or JPG

You can then send your image to the printer or export it as a PDF or JPG

You can easily print your Instagram pics at a 3.5 x 3.5 size on a 4×6 sheet of paper, trim the edges, and have an old fashioned looking Polaroid picture.

Print, trim & make a classic looking Polaroid image

Print, trim & make a classic looking Polaroid image

You can print in a variety of sizes or make your own collages

You can print in a variety of sizes or make your own collages

This quest has also served as a great reminder to me that sometimes it is a good idea to go out and try new things even if you think you are happy with what you have. I loved my Print to Insta app, but it only allowed me to print my Instagram pics. Now I can print any of my pics, in any size that I want. Being forced to try something new helped me find a better product.

MakerSpace: Unconventional Printing

makerspaceLook, we all know that I am obsessed with photo apps and pictures of my kids. But it’s not just for me, it’s for the teens – I swear. One of my favorite teen programs I have ever done – and I have repeated it several times – is a program called Renovate Your Room. The concept is simple: teens love to decorate their rooms and I love to decorate my house, so we make stuff to decorate. It’s a fun way to get teens creating and while they do this they are engaging in self expression, creativity and more.

As I move more into a MakerSpace model with an emphasis on STEAM programming, I have added more tech to the process, but the end product is still the same: creating original artwork by teens to decorate their space. I would love to be able to create images and cut them into glass or vinyl or even wood, but that kind of equipment isn’t in my future. But I have found a variety of ways to print my images onto things other then paper to take my creations up to the next level.

The first step of the process is to get teens hands on tech to create images. You can do this using a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone. You can use a variety of apps and programs, which I frequently review because I am in fact obsessed. To be completely honest, depending on what I am trying to create, I will often use a variety of apps. Very seldom do I produce something in just one app or program because most of the times they do different things. That’s part of the learning process, figuring out what creates what effect and deciding the best tools to use to create the final product you envision. Sometimes trial and error is involved and that’s okay.

Then, after you create your image, you have to find a way to make art out of it. The most basic thing to do of course is to print it off and frame it. But I have been exploring ways that you can take your creation to the next level with some unconventional printing.

Printing Onto Burlap

unconventionalprinting3Just by chance I stumbled across these burlap sheets that you can feed through your printer. They have a more standard burlap brown color and I bought a white burlap sheet. They came in a set of 3 sheets for under $3.00, which was a pretty reasonable price. I will say that for me, they came out crooked every. single. time. But that’s where you are forced to get innovative. I trimmed the edges to straighten my printed piece out and then fixed it with matting, Washi Tape and more.

It worked pretty well. The only thing I will say is that it works better with shapes and words as opposed to pictures with more finite detail, like faces. I think it would look amazing with silhouettes.

 

Transfer Paper, part 1

unconventionalprinting4The other day I was helping some teens on the teen areas as they set up and tried to print images on transfer paper. This was my introduction to the process and I am totally hooked. So I bought a pack of transfer paper and it comes in a pack of about 10 sheets for $10.00, basically a dollar a sheet.

I then made everyone a t-shirt. And I do mean everyone. For Thing 2’s shirt here to the left, I made my image using the Fused App. She is obsessed with The Flash and is always showing us how she runs fast like him so I incorporated that into my design. After creating my image I downloaded it and added the text using PowerPoint. I used PowerPoint because that is the program that I have on my laptop, any graphics program will do.

To make your image transfer successfully you MUST FLIP IT INTO A MIRROR IMAGE. This is incredibly important if your final creation has words or numbers. If you do not flip your image, it will come out backwards on your final project. No bueno.

Transfer Paper, part 2

unconventionalprinting2A great number of my previous Renovate Your Room projects involved Mod Podging pictures onto canvas. It works, I’m not dissing the process. BUT YOU CAN GET A BETTER FINAL RESULT if you use photo transfer paper.

In order to successfully use the transfer paper to get your image onto a canvas, you should remove the staples from the canvas and put the canvas on a flat surface so that you can get good leverage to iron your photo transfer on. Getting good leverage it very important to the transfer process. After your photo transfer is complete, you can use staple gun to staple the canvas back onto the frame.

Again, if you have words or text you’ll want to flip and do the mirror image thing. I made the canvas above using a combination of 2 apps: Aviary and Hipstamtic. I used the Eiffel Tower sticker in Aviary to create the base image and the Shangai filter in Hipstamatic to make the cloudy pastel effect. I adore this filter.

I did go ahead and Mod Podge over my final image to kind of seal everything in. I also went ahead and painted the edges to kind of blend everything together. In future planning I would size my final image so that the edges folded over the frame edges to give it that gallery frame effect.

Print Your Insta

unconventionalprinting1After finally setting up a wireless printer in my house – to practice MakerSpace stuff – I learned a very hard lesson: If you print your Instagram photos directly from your smart phone photo album they are automatically resized to 4×6 in size. This is not the effect I am going for. But do not fear, if you want the small square sized pictures – there is an app for that! Print Your Insta is a theoretically free app (more on this in a moment) that you can use to print your Instagram pics at home in a 3.5 by 3.5 size. I said theoretically free because you do have to pay for the $1.99 upgrade if you want to remove the watermark off of your photo. I do so I paid the small fee.

I have printed a large number of my Instagram pictures now and they are all over my house and I am in love. I bought a larger frame – I believe it was 16×20 – at a thrift store and made a collage of my prints which now lines my hallway. We have also created our own magnetic frames using duct tape, magnets and clear contact paper to create pics for the fridge. That process is outlined here.

Clear Vinyl Sticker Paper

This is a thing I have not yet tried, but it is right up my alley! You can buy clear vinyl sticker paper and use it to make stickers to label jars, boxes, etc. You could also make personalized candles, cups and more. There is a tutorial here, here and here.

Have fun finding creative ways to take your MakerSpace dabbling up a notch by engaging in some unconventional printing. You don’t necessarily have to buy fancy laser engravers to achieve some MakerSpace type of creations, you just need to engage in some unconventional printing and teach teens how to take that and apply it creatively to the every day objects of their lives. My library doesn’t have the space or budget for laser printers and wood engravers at this point, but we can definitely by some different types of printing mediums and help teens learn to create their digital images and then use some more traditional crafting processes to make their own creations.

And my house is looking great as I experiment and explore at home to take this information back to my teens!