Getting the Most Out of Your Dot Matrix Printer
by Jon Tewksbury
Part 6: Wall Banners
We all use printers to print documents from a word processor, but did you know that with a little bit of time and creativity you can also print decorative wall banners?
Your printer paper comes packaged as a large stack of pages… or so it seems. Look closer. Upon further inspection you will notice that each page is actually connected with a slight perforation that allows the paper to feed through the printer as one long piece of paper. It is this “flaw” in the printing process that lets us create fun, festive wall banners for use in everything from high school dances to retirement parties.
Let’s go through this in a few short steps and then hopefully, if you follow my tips, you will end up with a great looking wall banner for your work or home or school. (I’m trying my best with this guide, but just so you know, our cat passed away last night and it has been really hard on the whole family. I know I have a deadline to meet with this article, and I’m going to stick to it, but I just thought you should know that, in case my tone seems less chipper than usual. It has been especially hard on Carol. She had that cat when I met her. Her and her ex had a pretty messy break-up, but she demanded that she keep Marlow because she thought she would be able to take better care of her. Brad was really not happy about that, especially since he was the one who had found Marlow in the alley behind their condo, but eventually he was okay with it because Carol let him keep the projection TV. This has been so hard on all of us. Emma stayed home from school and has been crying all day. We had Marlow when Emma was born, so she has been around that cat her whole life. I’m sure she’ll eventually get over it, but it’s just so hard right now. I talked to Carol last night about adopting another cat, you know, from the shelter. She reminded me that we made a deal that after Marlow died we wouldn’t get another cat. It’s hard now with Emma in school and now that Carol’s gone back full-time. It just wouldn’t be fair to the animal to be stuck at home alone all day, and then neglected when we are around because we’re busy with everything else. I suggested to Carol that maybe we could get Emma an easier-to-take-care-of pet, like a guinea pig or a turtle or something, but she thought that for right now it would be best just to let the healing process happen and to not try and mask it with a replacement pet. Though I know Marlow could never really be replaced. It was really like she was part of the family. It’s so sad. I mean, she had a good run for a cat, and a good life, so I can’t really feel that bad for the thing. It’s just Carol and Emma who I really feel bad for. Carol has put on a brave face (I think she’s doing it for Emma’s sake) but I know she’s suffering inside. She loved that cat so much–I know this must be so hard on her. She’s buried herself in her work, I think to try and not have to think about it or deal with it, but eventually she’s going to have to accept it and move on. I wonder if she told Brad? They haven’t spoken in a few years, but I think he would want to know about Marlow. I remember during the break-up, I was sitting at the kitchen table in their condo while Carol and Brad were fighting in the living room. I thought that there was no way Brad was going to let her take Marlow–I was really surprised when Carol told me that she was keeping her. I had always thought of that cat as being “his,” but then suddenly she was “ours.” I was never much of a cat guy. I had a dog growing up, but I hadn’t had a pet since high school and I never felt like I missed having one. When I moved in with Carol it kind of felt like I was moving in with two roommates: Carol and the cat. It took a bit of getting used to, having a furry feline prancing around the house like she owned the place. It was normal for Carol because she had already had her for a few years at that point, but for me, not so much. Still, I adjusted to life with Marlow really quite fast, and soon it just became second nature to empty the litter box and to fill her food and water bowls when Carol forgot. And it wasn’t just a one-way street; Marlow really helped us through some rough patches. When Carol’s mom passed away, I remember Marlow being there, ready to console whenever we needed a good cry. And when my brother told us that he was going ahead with the sex change operation because he “hated his penis,” Marlow was there, too. Always ready to cuddle when we were going through life’s little challenges. I don’t know how things will be now that she’s gone. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to. I can remember when Emma was born–we brought her home from the hospital and both Carol and I were concerned that Marlow would start resenting us, or resenting the baby, or just acting differently with this new little person living with us. But Marlow was totally fine and acted like nothing was different, and she never did anything to Emma. She was really great with babies and kids. I know with time, Carol and Emma will get back to their happy, normal selves, but when will that be? What’s the grieving period for losing a member of the family, because that’s what she was. She was a member of our family. And when am I going to get over this? Oh, God it hurts so much. I miss you, Marlow.)
For starters, enlarge the font size of the word or words you want to print on your banner. Usually somewhere between 296 and 500 point font works best depending on the size of lettering you want. Then, choose “Page Setup…” and click “Vertical Document.” Your words will shift on the computer screen to a vertical layout. And that’s it! Press “Print” and in a few minutes you will have your banner ready to hang on the wall.