Printing, Resizing, and Mirroring PDFs

Printing, Resizing, and Mirroring PDFs

So, you’ve bought your very cute, very pretty, or very ambitious hand embroidery PDF file, or maybe downloaded a PDF template that goes with some of our project instructions, and you’re feeling happy. The only thing is, you want to print it, change the size, or even mirror it, and you’re not quite sure how to go about it. Well, Craft Bunny and I are here to help. We’ll walk you through the basics working with PDFs on common image programs lots of you have at home, or are easily available to download online.

Looking for something specific? Click the links to jump to what you’re looking for.

Printing in Acrobat (or Adobe Reader) Printing in Photoshop Other Programs and Workarounds
Scaling in Acrobat Scaling in Photoshop  
Mirroring in Acrobat Mirroring in Photoshop  

So, let’s begin. You probably downloaded and saved your files to a particular folder on your computer. This, if you can’t tell, is Craft Bunny’s desktop. Before you think too hard about the fact that a small psycho stuffed rabbit has his own computer, I’d move on and click on your folder to get to your files. It’s best not to ponder these things too deeply.

Especially what could possibly be in that “carrots” folder...

Now, your file will probably show up with an icon that’s the default program for reading PDF files. In Bunny’s case, he has Adobe Acrobat installed, so that’s the program that’s going to open it by default. Click on your file to open it.

If you have Photoshop or something similar, feel free to skip down to that section.

All of Urban Threads' hand embroidery files come as PDF files, which are easily read by most image programs. These are different from the stock art files, which are JPGs. If you are looking for how to print and edit your stock art files, click here.

Printing in Acrobat (or Adobe Reader)

So, here’s your PDF file in Acrobat. This should also work the same if you’re a Mac or a PC kinda person.

Surprise surprise, bunny picked a bunny design.

Adobe Acrobat isn’t free, but you can download Adobe Reader for free online. Reader will let you print and open your hand embroidery PDF files, but it will NOT allow you to scale them with as much control as Acrobat. You can fit them to a page, or keep them original size, but you can’t change them any more than that.

Bunny says go to file, print.

Bunny only knows how to give the simple instructions. That’s why I’m here to help.

This is the basic layout of your print screen. That little layout on the right shows what your file will look like printed on a letter size sheet. To make sure you’re printing on a letter size sheet, go up and click “Properties.”

Almost all printers will default to letter size, but to be sure, click “size” and then choose “letter.” Now your printer is all set up to print on a standard letter size sheet. This is also where you’ll want to go if you ever need to print on a different size sheet. If that’s all you want to do to your design, you’re ready to print!

Scaling in Acrobat

So, maybe the question remains ... what size do you want to print it?

There are a couple of different options here. The first is of course to just print it at the size you bought it. Your file is probably already set up to do that, but just in case it’s not fitting on the page properly, you can click “page scaling” and then “shrink to printable area.” That will make sure it prints at its original size, small enough for a letter size piece of paper.

You can also easily set it to print as LARGE as possible on your paper by clicking “fit to printable area.” This will print it as large as it can go without cutting out any of the image.

Is your file printing really funny, like not all of it fits on the page? No problem. That little “shrink to printable” selection will fix almost all problems like that. In other programs, there’s often a little button that says something quite similar, like “scale to fit media.” These should fix any sizing problems you’re having.

So, here’s our image printed at its standard size.

But what if you want to print something at a specific size, like say, to fit your embroidery hoop?

We can do that in Acrobat, though admittedly it is somewhat limited.

Go back to that page scaling option, and this time click “tile all pages.”

No, we don’t want to tile anything, but that’s the only way Acrobat gives us the option to scale things. I don’t get it either.

Once you’ve selected “tile all pages,” it will give you the option to input a scale factor.

I personally don’t think this is as handy as imputing a size, but with a little math you should be able to scale it up or down as needed.

Unless you’re Craft Bunny, who hates math, and then you just play with numbers until it prints out something that looks like a size you could stitch.

I wouldn’t recommend the Craft Bunny way, but in a pinch, it works.

Ta da! Now you know how to either print it at the size it comes, or scale it up or down for your embroidery hoop.

However, lets say you’re moving on to transferring it for embroidering, and you need to mirror it ... how do you do that?

Mirroring in Acrobat

Depending on how you’re transferring your hand embroidery (and you can check out this tutorial for different ways) you may want to mirror your design.

To mirror it in Acrobat, go up to Tools, Advanced Editing, and then down to TouchUp Object Tool.

Psst ... only have Reader but still want to try and mirror? There’s a quick and dirty way that’s available on a lot of printers. Go into your printer’s preferences, and often under various tabs and settings you’ll find a button or a box you can click called “mirror.” This will automatically mirror anything you print, no matter what program you’re printing from! Just remember to un-click it when you’re done, or you’ll really confuse the next person who comes along to use the printer.

Click the image to select it, then right click. This menu will pop up. Scroll on down to “Flip Horizontal.”

Once you click that, your image should mirror itself. That’s it! Now just print it as described before and you’re ready to go!

This next bit is for those folks who have Adobe Photoshop and want to print and edit their file. Photoshop is a very popular image editing program, but it’s also quite expensive. If you’d like to try out something similar, though, there is a program called GIMP (don’t let the name scare you) that’s very similar to Photoshop but can be downloaded free online. This next Photoshop tutorial should still be useful even if you’re using the free alternative.

Printing in Photoshop

Open up your PDF file. Easy peasy.

Head on up to File, and then mosey on down to Print.

This is our print screen. From here, you can just go ahead and hit “Print” if you don’t need to change or scale your image.

Scaling in Photoshop

Photoshop is a lot more flexible than Acrobat for exactly sizing your image, which is nice.

For example, if you want to make your image as big as it can possibly be on your chosen paper, click the “scale to fit media” button, and your bunnies get a boost up to letter size.

Scaling an image up from its original size will mean you will lose a little bit of quality in the image and it will become more pixilated-looking. In general, the print size we offer hand embroidery at is large enough to accommodate even the most ambitious project, and the 150ppi resolution size means even when you scale it up, it should still be plenty clear enough for you to stitch!

Let’s say, though, that you have an embroidery hoop that’s 4 inches wide, so you know you need your design to be a little bit smaller than 4 inches.

Go down to the height and width sections, and input in the exact size you want it to print. You only need to change one number, the other will automatically scale. You can use this same tip to scale something up from the original, but at a more exact size than just maxing out the page.

That’s it! You know how to print and even scale your embroidery to any size in Photoshop. But what if you need to mirror it for some transfer techniques?

Mirroring in Photoshop

Mirroring in Photoshop is nice and easy. With your design open, go up to Image, down to Rotate Canvas, and then over to Flip Canvas Horizontal.

Your bunnies will now be mirrored. Now go ahead and print them like we just described!

Other Programs and Workarounds

Don’t have Acrobat or Photoshop? Well, as mentioned before, you can download Adobe Reader for free as an Acrobat substitute, or download GIMP as a Photoshop substitute. You can also drag and drop images into Microsoft Word and scale and print them in there, though the quality won’t be as good. If you’re really stuck for scaling, you can always print your PDF using one of the free programs and then use a copier to scale it down. Not as simple, but in a pinch it’ll do the trick!


So you’ve printed everything, and you’re all done, right? What’s that? Now you’d like to know some tips on how to transfer hand embroidery? Never fear, the bunny is here to help. Click here for a hand embroidery transfer tutorial!

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Dust Bunnies_image
Dust Bunnies $1.00
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.42"w x 5.87"h | 5.31"w x 4.84"h | 3.86"w x 3.78"h | Hand Embroidery