I am a paper craft artist. I have a pdf file which I need to take a printout on black paper. If I take print on black paper, I cannot see the lines and numbers. These lines and numbers, I need for cutting purpose.

How do I print on black paper? I have a Epson L3150 Ink tank printer.

Thanks in advance.

6 Answers 6


Generally you can print with white ink in many inkjet printers. However, there are some very important notes.

  1. Not all printers will work well when this is done. In many cases this is due to the manufacturing of the ink itself. Epson actually makes white ink for some select high-end printers. White will typically be a pigment-based ink rather than a dye-based ink as pigment will generally be more visible on darker colored papers. Pigment-based inks, however, tend to be... "thicker" or heavier or more dense. In some inkjet printers, it simply won't work. In some it'll work but will jam up the print heads rapidly. Even in printers designed specifically to use pigment-based inks, white can still be difficult to work with and require much more care and maintenance.
  2. With most software, even artists software, you typically cannot just have white on screen and print it as such. The easiest way is to replace black with white and make what you want white appear black on screen. In some software, you can also re-key your color space to CMYW rather than CMYK (though the K stands for key regardless of the color, it's typically black and so CMYW is a common placeholder for K = white). Otherwise, anything that's white on screen will not trigger any cartridge or tank to print anything.
  3. If this is something you may need to do regularly, it might be worth looking into dye-sublimation printers. I'm not really so sure what the market looks like for this anymore, but many, many years ago I had an Alps printer that could do this - print in white, or print in white then another color to make the color stand out on black.

Print on regular white paper. Adhere the print to the black paper with rubber cement or temporary adhesive. Do the cutting, and scoring if needed (light scoring can also be used to mark glue edges and similar feature lines). When you're ready to assemble, peel off the white paper.


Printer ink is very hard - if not impossible - to see on black paper, because the ink soaks into the paper.

Laser printer toner creates a very thin layer of molten plastic on top of the paper, so you might be able to see a yellow line on the black paper if you print it with a laser printer. (Unless you have a specialized printer with white toner, "white" is usually not printed at all, so yellow is your next best option.)

The properties of toner also makes a printed line slightly more glossy than average office paper. You might be able to see a black toner line on black paper if you angle the paper so that light is reflected off the print lines. This has the advantage of making any lines you missed while cutting invisible in the finished project.

  • The advice to use a toner process is on point. Yellow is very easy to see on black paper. You can also use white toner from ghost-white-toner.com. I've not tried it but don't expect it'd work any worse than yellow, except being different color :) Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 20:18

I'll go with a completely different idea. Use a laser cutter, or vinyl or paper cutter to do your work. You already have a PDF, so you should be able to open it in a variety of software to send it to one of these machines.

I use a laser cutter to cut a lot of things, from acrylic sheets to leather and paper. It can leave very little residue when cutting something as thin as paper and it can cut it very cleanly, with the right settings. I normally use a 80-100 watt laser, but I've used a 40 watt to do smaller items. They make clean, crisp lines with just the smallest kerf, usually less than a millimeter. They also give you the ability to rapidly reproduce your items. A K40 (40 watt), for example, is only a couple hundred dollars and is small enough to fit on a desk.

A vinyl or paper cutter can do most of the same paper cutting as a laser can, but it'll have the scissor-like lack of kerf. Unfortunately, it doesn't do tiny or sharp corners or backtracks well, or at least easily. There's a variety of these machines around as well, but a popular desktop version is a Cricut. I haven't used one myself, but I hear lots of people like them, as well as some people dislike them. Just like anything else, it's a mixed bag of how people use things. This can also allow you to rapidly recreate your project.

These machines can often be found at maker/hacker-spaces. These are places that have a lot of DIYers who don't have the money to afford equipment or space for themselves, so they band together to pool their resources. Along with laser cutters, makerspaces often have CNC machine, 3D printers, sewing machines, and so much more, as well as the people to show you how to use them. These places can be found all around the world and in most major and medium sized cities.


You have another answer that is 90% there.

You need a black ink cartridge, empty it (print if possible), then fill it with white ink. Most new printers read the codes on the cartridges so you need the black one so that your printer doesn't need 20 drivers and hours of troubleshooting. (I am being very generic here and this will work great for 95% of printers)

You got white ink in black cartridge... put in the black paper and print. You will need to play with the type of black paper that you get. You may need to get glossy or something that doesn't "hold" the ink well so that you can boldly see the white.

  • 1
    Doing this will probably clog/mess up you printer heads as white "ink" is usually pigment particles suspended in solvent, so thicker than the normal ink-jet ink - more like paint - you need a printer that is made to use that type of "ink"
    – Gwyn
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 19:56

Some solutions in addition to the existing answers (that could prove useful for users facing a similar problem):

  • Not sure if this is viable, but this might be the easiest solution: you can invert the picture you want to print, and print everything but the marks on white paper. You'll possibly have to tweak the margins (depending on the size/scale of the PDF), and - I believe - some printers are not able to print across the edges of the paper sheets.

  • Another solution is to get it done at a print shop. This is likely more costly, but a lot less cumbersome, as professional printers will likely know how or have the equipment to perform the task.

  • A theoretical solution: directly after printing, distribute a white or otherwise light coloured powder (chalk, flour, &c.) across the print. The powder might adhere to the drying ink, and the rest will be easily blown away (depending on type of ink and paper - 'rich black' might yield better results). This likely works best on glossy (smoother) paper, as the ink will take longer to dry. The print settings can also be adjusted for this purpose, like setting it to a higher ink usage.

  • Temporarily replace the black ink with another ink, like user blankip suggested. There are several alternative inks you can use instead of the black, and I'd recommend ones that have a high gloss: silver, chrome, gold, and similar metallic hues, or even fluorescent if working in a dim environment is no game-breaker for you. These inks will be less obvious than an opaque white would be, but still fairly visible in the right light at the right angle, so that the print can be cut properly.
    This is completely dependent on the printer model and cartridges it uses, though.

  • 1
    I wonder if normal magenta or yellow ink might fluoresce under deep blue light.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 22:04

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