Great Things You Traditionally Would Purchase You Can Get Virtually Free By Printing Them At Home

by Jerrico_Usher

The digital age is upon us and in full force... Piracy aside, there are a lot of great things you don't have to purchase and in a pinch can simply print out

We all know we can download music MP3's, Movies, Books, and more as opposed to owning the hard copy (I'm talking here in the sense of LEGALLY downloadable media, not piracy) and that's made our lives a bit more digital and convenient.

But have you ever thought about all the things you can also print out that you'd normally buy that can save you a ton of money?

In this article I'm going to cover some of the things you may not of thought of and some resources you can utilize to get them, print them out, and use them for the mere cost of printer ink and paper.


A Primative "Replicator" (Star Trek) In It's Ancitent Form Is A Standard Printer


Printers were the first really cool concept in Star Trek Replicator coolness to hit computers in the sense that you could take a physical product, scan it into a digital form, and transfer it to another computer anywhere on the planet with internet access, then replicate it with precision and the full potential of the original.

I'm talking about, of course, Books and CD's, although CD burning came later it's interesting to note that a book's entire contents can be duplicated from one printer to another in full color and with a few materials like cardboard and glue you could literally replicate a book into an exact copy of the original in physical space.

CD's were next, and required (to get the same exact version as the original i.e. inserts etc...) the printer as well to fully "replicate" the original into an almost flawless version of the original. This is what really started the hardcore piracy of CD's and Books by the underground.

Piracy aside, you really have to admit that this is, if you really visualize it's potential, the worlds first replicator. It spawned the seeds that later would become "3D printers" as they use the same technology as bubble jet printers (with some modifications for different materials like titanium powder, and even organic ingredients like in the food printer.

That Said, Let's See What We Could Print Out That's Useful And Money Saving...

Print Out Things You'd Otherwise Have To Purchase

While paper versions of products you'd normally purchase are not always going to be as high quality as those you'd buy at the store, they don't always have to be. In a pinch, sometimes, printing out some basics can not only save you money, but gas, time, and it's disposable (although you can laminate and make it permanent. This also makes it more waterproof and sturdy.



There are a lot of times when you may not have a ruler around and don't want to drive to the storeRuler Printout Schematic to get one. Sometimes you just need a quick ruler you can use and throw away or maybe print out and laminate as an alternative to buying one. There are a lot of different types of rulers out there as well so this could give you a try before you buy a real one opportunity as well.

This won't be a thick sturdy version you can use for professional application but for things around the house or just a quick measurement tool- a printed out ruler will work just fine. You just do a Google search and there are plenty of sites offering printout schematic images that are designed to be accurate. They are designed for printing out and cutting out or even folding (see image above) into a multi-ruler tool you fold so one is showing and the rest are hidden. Efficient!


Tape Measure Another option you may not have thought of is:

Tape Measure!

Just like the ruler you can find virtual tape measure printouts in a Google search.

It's an image you print out, cut the pieces, and staple, tape, or glue together to create a physical tape measure.

You can laminate the pieces so you can collapse them together, just be sure the ends match up with no boarder space.


(you can get that particular one here: Paper Tape Measure)


List Pads

Why purchase checklist pads or stationary when you can find a variety online free and in some cases full color and print them out yourself? The beauty of this option is you get to customize the final output.

You can use Photoshop to design a checklist then print it out and using a cutting board at Kinko's cut them into pads. Some rubber cement found at can easily be used to create a professional quality pad!

This is something I'd think would be most useful for cool/personalize factor as it's likely cheaper to buy a pad than to make one but if you're like me and love to dazzle guests with your personalized and unique home and it's aesthetics, or you want to do this as a personalized gift to a list maker- this will definitely come in handy!

A Google search will yield thousands, if not tens of thousands of list types that people are offering up free, just download the image and print it out- cut it to shape- if you want just a basic one. You can also, with some Photoshop tweaks use ready to use versions into personalized versions by adding images, text, etc... to it before printing it out.

For a basic checklist no frills you can create then print out Try this tool.


Specialty Papers

Some paper is specialty not so much in the sense that it's actually physical properties are any different than white printer paper but in that they have special designs on them that devices read so they can function. One such device is a pen that memorizes everything you write and utilizes a special graph design to tell the pen in physical space where the drawing, words, or anything you draw or write with it exists. This is to make editing easier and to reproduce the drawing or words to specs when transferred to the computer.

The problem is you have to purchase the pre-printed graph paper to accurately use the pen. Other specialty paper is not so digital as it is useful due to the printing on it such as a graph paper with varying sizes and types for different uses. You don't have to keep purchasing this specialty paper for often higher prices than is necessary because you can just scan the page and print it out as many times as you need without any need to purchase or order more "copies".

There are, for less propitiatory types of specialty paper types places online you can find the designs and print them out at home as well.

One source is: Printable Graph Paper

If you use a LiveScribe Pen

You can print out their paper (free) instead of purchasing theirs here: Dot Paper

A great resource for finding any type of printable specialty paper is: Printable Paper's Site


Planners, Diaries, and Productivity Helpers

You can purchase these at the store but you can also make your own at home. This can be cheaper and gives you the ability to personalize them as well.

Your not limited to the designs and even things in the design of the store bought versions that you don't need and just take up space.

Often you will have a better idea of how you want your planner/diary/or productivity helpers to look and function so this is a great way to do that.

You can also find pre-made versions you can print out and even refill later when you need more page without incurring the expense of expensive refill packs you often have to buy to replenish yours when they run out.


Some Great (free) Resources:

Hipster Habit: For helping you either break a bad old habit or create a new one in 30 days

Hipster PDA: Printouts to help you (much like a PDA was used back before the iPhone) In DIY productivity planner version.

PocketMOD: Used for tracking your workouts

PocketToDo: For Simple Schedules

Scription Chronodex: Nice Day Planner Templates

Printable Maps: ( [the page takes a second to load which is why it's not a hyperlink here wizzley won't wait long enough to see that it's a valid link]) For printing out street maps. Google Maps also has some great printout resources

Note: If you need waterproof map printouts you can print it out onto a standard paper bag like the ones (or exactly the ones) you get at the grocery store (we used these in high-school to create book covers for our text books because it would protect them from elements even rain)



There are a lot of great games you can print out as well such as cards (standard or other games like Magic)

Cards Against Humanity: This is a popular game you can download as a PDF file and print out if you don't want to buy a store version (you download it from their site linked above)

You can also print Scrabble, dice, and a deck of cards by following those links (they have others there too). You can also do a Google search to find more.

In Conclusion

There are many more things than listed in this article that you can download and print out, including paper constructs and craft projects (i.e. in games, dice and other things). You can Google it and find an enormous amount of projects to print and build.

Just ask yourself the basic question- does this object work if printed out (even 3D if built)

Now All You Need Is Paper In Bulk :)

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Updated: 06/30/2012, Jerrico_Usher
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