Print on Watercolor Paper: Tips for Home Printing

Hello friends! Today, I want to address a much-requested topic: printing on watercolor paper at home. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve shared many coloring page printables. If you’re planning to watercolor on these pages, I suggest using a thicker paper that won’t warp easily. Printing on watercolor paper can be a bit tricky due to its weight, but fear not! I’m here to share some tips that will help you achieve great results.

Printing on Watercolor Paper at Home: Step by Step

Before you begin, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Let me guide you through the process with helpful images.

1. Check your printer paper input size

For this example, I’m using my trusty Canon PIXMA Color Printer MG5520. It’s an older printer, but it gets the job done. It can handle paper up to size 8.5 by 11 inches. Make sure your printer can handle the size of the watercolor paper you want to use.

2. You might need to trim your watercolor paper

The watercolor paper I’ve chosen is 9 by 12 inches and has a weight of 140lb. Since my printer can only handle paper up to 8.5 by 11 inches, I simply trim 0.5 inches off the side and an inch from the top. This way, my watercolor paper fits perfectly.

3. Remove your everyday paper from the feed

Before proceeding, remove any regular paper from the input feed. This ensures that the printer feed is empty and ready for the watercolor paper.

4. Insert your watercolor page into the printer input feed

Now, insert your trimmed watercolor paper into the printer’s input area. My printer has a front feed, and I haven’t experienced any bending, tearing, or ripping of the paper while printing. It’s been successful every time!

5. Change the print settings on your computer

Select your file and hit print. In the printer settings box that pops up, I recommend selecting the paper type as “Photo Paper.” This ensures a good quality image each time you print. Then, simply press the print button.

And voila! Your printer has printed your design on watercolor paper. But before you dive into watercoloring, do a quick water test on the paper to see if the ink smears or smudges.

Tips for Troubleshooting

  • Many printers have an optional rear input slot for thicker papers: A quick Google search for your specific printer model can reveal if it has a separate rear input slot to prevent excessive bending of the paper.
  • Feed your watercolor paper the right way: Watercolor papers come with a smooth and textured side. Choose the side where you want to print, but for easier results, try printing onto the smooth side.
  • Always use recommended inks: Using branded recommended inks ensures that you won’t encounter smudging issues. Avoid refilling cartridges or using generic brand inks.
  • If your paper tends to bend or rip a lot, misting it ever so slightly with water can make it more pliable through the printer. However, proceed with caution and try it at your own risk.
  • Consider using slightly thinner paper: While I often use 140lb watercolor paper, a thinner 98lb mixed media paper can also yield great results. Experiment with different papers and inks to find what works best for you.
  • If your printer isn’t compatible with watercolor paper, consider using matte photo paper instead. Although it’s thinner at 45lb, it dries instantly, making it suitable for printing on. Just remember that the paint color may react differently on photo paper.

Printing on Watercolor Paper Examples

Currently, I’m printing these FREE Color Mixing Chart printables on watercolor paper. They’re a great way to explore different color combinations.


I also enjoy printing my Mandala Coloring Pages onto watercolor paper and coloring them in. It’s such a calming and enjoyable activity.


Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for printing on watercolor paper. Every printer is different, and I would love to learn from you. Happy printing!

ALSO READ: Watercolor Lettering: 9+ examples with How-to Videos & Tips

Also Read: How to Print your own Card Sentiments

Quill And Fox