Canon PIXMA G620 Photo Printer review (Part 3) – We can make stickers!

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Canon PIXMA G620 Photo Printer

REVIEW – The Canon PIXMA G620 is an inkjet photo printer designed for consumer use.  In a previous article, I reviewed the G620’s ability to print from my personal computer, a Mac mini, where I found that it can print beautiful photos once I made a few configuration changes.  In a separate article, i reviewed the G620’s ability to print photos from my iPhone 13 where I found that I could get great results if I used Apple Photos to edit, and Apple AirPrint to create beautiful prints.

This is the third in a three-part review, and I have a confession to make:  Printing photos is not the real reason that I am reviewing the G620.  My wife is interested in using it with her Cricut to print stickers.  If you’re not familiar, a Cricut is a smart cutting machine that works with an app to help creators design and personalize things like cards, apparel, and more.  My wife uses a Cricut Explore Air 2 and wants to make stickers.  This article will share what we’ve learned and provide Cricut users with a head start on printing their own.

The remainder of the review will cover three aspects of printing stickers:  setting up the stickers using Cricut Design Space, printing the stickers using the Canon PIXMA G620, and cutting out the stickers using a Cricut.  The review is intended for Cricut users, who are already familiar with Design Space and their Cricut but want to learn more about making their own stickers.

Cricut Design Space

Design Space (DS) is the software creators use to design and cut stickers with a Cricut.  These are the steps you need to follow:

You can use a collection of images that are formatted in PNG as stickers.  Websites like Design Bundles allow you to purchase hundreds of images all at once.  Here’s one example of a bundle that has 545 images to get you up and going quickly.  Alternatively, you can design your own.

Then import all of the image files in a new DS-project and add them on the canvas.

Then, using the square-shaped tool, create a rectangle of 6.75 by 9.25 inches. This is your print surface.  This area must be able to accommodate all images that you’ve imported.  Make it gray, so that it’s easier to see, and send it to the background.

To make the sticker easier to see after it has been stuck, you may want to add a border to it, if it doesn’t have one already.  This can be done in two ways.  You can offset the image by 0.25 inches.  Create a shape that is slightly larger than the actual image and put it in front of the image.  In general, an offset is better than a shape. However, if your offset has a lot small, sharp edges, you may have trouble cutting the image unless your blade remains sharp.  It’s up to you to decide which method suits you best.  Set the color to white for the offset or shape.  This can be done with any color, but white is usually the best for displaying the image on the sticker.

Group the images with the border.  Attach the border, then flatten.

Resize the images.

The images will be added to the printed surface.

Use the space as efficiently as possible and try to cover as much of the surface with images.  In other words, don’t print one sticker at a time, unless it is so big that it fills the entire page.  Don’t let the stickers overlap with each other.

Once all images are added to the surface, remove the print and use the Attach tool to select and group images.

After clicking the Make and Continue button, click on the Send to printer button.

Select the G620 printer on the Print Setup page, then check Add Bleed, and Use System Dialog.  Click on the Print button.

The Print dialog box allows you select specific printing options. Unfortunately, it is always behind Design Space.  The Print dialog will appear when you move the DS windows to the side.  Here, you can set the Media Type to Matte (or Glossy, depending on whether it’s sticker paper or not) and the Quality setting to Best.

Before you click Print, use the feed settings on the G620 to change the size to Letter (or Matte depending on the sticker paper) and the type to Glossy.  Click Print in the Print dialog when you return to DS.  The DS window can be moved back into view.

Canon PIXMA G620

We tested eight different sticker papers that are compatible with the G620 or Cricut.  Here’s a quick look at each of them:

Stickers on matte paper work best in areas where they are unlikely to get wet.

  • Matte Paper from Hobby Lobby (Four oh Five Basics)
  • Pros:  Cricut reads the alignment lines
  • Cons:  Print color is muted, Cricut did not always cut completely through the paper

After printing, but before cutting the sticker paper, we laminated it on top to make the matte paper waterproof.

  • Matte Paper by Cricut
  • Pros:  Waterproof (except on the edges), shinier than matte
  • Cons:  Laminating requires another step in the process, lamination can leave bubbles and wrinkles, very expensive compared to third-party brands, print color is muted, Cricut did not always cut completely through the paper, difficult to remove the backing

If you don’t want the stickers to be shiny, a matte finish on vinyl is an option.

  • Matte Vinyl by Cricut
  • Pros:  Thin and waterproof paper
  • Cons:  Print color is muted, very expensive compared to third-party brands

We found this Joyeza paper to be just as effective as Cricuts.

Although some people prefer matte stickers, they are usually glossy.  We have always preferred a glossy finish over a matt one.  However, we did encounter a problem with glossy paper.  Design Spaces places alignment marks at the corners of every printed page in order to improve accuracy.  We found that the Cricut was unable to detect these marks on glossy paper. To darken them we used a Sharpie, which decreased accuracy.

  • Glossy Vinyl from Gwybkq
  • Glossy Vinyl from Lzerking
  • Glossy vinyl by Paper Plan
  • The three brands we tested were all virtually identical.  Paperplan stickers, which were thin and prone to curling when removed from Cricut mats, are the biggest difference.  In the end, we preferred the paper from Gywbkq – what a horrible name! – simply because it was cheaper.

Cricut Explore Air 2.

This is what my wife did to make her Cricut Explore Air 2 cut out stickers.

  1. Line up the sticker paper onto the Cricut mat.
  2. Sharpie can be used to darken the alignment markings.
  3. Rotate pressure dial until poster board is cut.
  4. Press the Feed button to feed the mat through the Cricut.
  5. When the Cut button flashes, press it.
  6. This is when the Cricut tries to read the marks of alignment and if it succeeds, it will cut out the sticker.

My wife usually found that her Cricut would cut through the paper. However, it can happen.  She always checked to make sure the paper had been cut completely before removing her Circuit mat.  She simply pressed again the Cut button.  This usually fixes the problem.  After removing the mat, she also removed the stickers.

Custom stickers printed from your designs is the Holy Grail of sticker print.  Take a look at the stickers below as an example.  Ryan, a free-lance artist, created these images for character classes in a game.  He then added a white smooth border, sent them to my wife who was able print them.  Super cool!

What I like

  • Stickers!
  • Vinyl with a glossy finish
  • Custom stickers can be printed at home.

What I’d change

  • Nothing.  The G620 performed perfectly.
  • (The Cricut needs help with alignment marks on glossy paper, but that’s not Canon’s problem.)

Final Thoughts

If all you need is mass-produced stickers, it’s still cheaper to buy them (by the hundreds) from Amazon.  You can make your own custom stickers from images you have or buy.  After much trial-and-error, my wife was very satisfied with the results from her Canon PIXMA G620.  It’s so satisfying to be able to create our own stickers at home; while the costs are more than printing 4 x 6 photos, it’s still very reasonable.  We highly recommend the G620 if you’re a Cricut user who wants to cut and print your own stickers.

Price:  $299
Where to Buy:  Amazon or Canon
SourceCanon provided the sample used for this review.

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