How to make lapbooks the most cost efficient

For science this year, I’ve chosen to do some more delight directed learning and just print off lapbooks/notebooking pages for our unit of study (depending on which route we take for each topic), but it seems to use up a lot of ink! What would you say is the most cost efficient way to make/print lapbooks? Is it best to just use a printer at home, or is there a way to print them at an office supply store that would be cheaper? Any other options I haven’t thought of?

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I print at home on draft setting and use no colored ink usually. Also, some of the templates you may not want to use, so be sure to look through the whole packet and print only what you need or what your child might enjoy.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the ink used.

  1. Really ask yourself if this needs to be printed, or if your child can draw it or write it or cut out a piece of notebook paper in stead of printing out a lined graphic to print on. Maybe even cut stuff out from a magazine (buy magazines cheap at garage sales).

  2. There’s a lot of “notebooking” resources that are basically lined pages with overlayed pictures at the top or corners. You can often look up clip art of just the picture, and cut that out and put it on lined paper.

  3. This takes work, and may not be worth it for you, but you can save money by printing resources in grey in stead of black (and have your child trace it, or color it). I WISH there was a simple way to do this in the print dialog (maybe there is in some systems). What I do is open up a pdf, page by page, in the Gimp (a free graphics program) and then open levels and them move the output slider level from black towards the white til it’s the level of grey I want. It’s not worth it to do this on everything, but on especially dark lapbook pages, or coloring pages with a lot of detail, it can be. Occasionally you can find resources that are already grey like this. There might be a simpler way to do this…like I’d love to figure out how to do this for a phone PDF.

  4. Shrink it. THIS can be done from the print dialog. I usually do lapbooking with these square blank books from the dollar store at targert, and the things fit better smaller anyways then. Printing at 80% or 90% saves ink and is easy to do.

  5. Back to graphics editing, if there is a page full of ink heavy lapbooking features and I only want to use one of them, I will go into the gimp and remove the rest from the page. No need to print things I won’t use.

  6. Look for cheap workbooks on your topic…almost always cheaper to buy workbooks than print them. Try used books stores too. Coloring books too. Like if you’re doing dinosaurs, you’re bound to find a dinosaur coloring book that you could use pictures from in stead of many of the things that might be in a lapbooking resource.

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The cost of ink for my printer is over $70.00 at Walmart. So, I buy ink from eBay instead and it works great and costs me less than $10.00! (You may already do this, but in case you don’t, you can great prices on ink through eBay and save money on ink!)

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