Using a Mini Photo Printer in Your Sewing Journal or Bullet Journal | Polaroid Hi-Print Review

Using a Mini Photo Printer in Your Sewing Journal or Bullet Journal | Polaroid Hi-Print Review

As you may have seen in my last blog post, I’ve recently changed up my working arrangements and have decided to take a break from bullet journaling for the rest of 2023. Reducing my freelance workload has done me a world of good already and I’ve found that I’ve got more mental energy left for personal creative projects, hooray! Those who follow me on Instagram will probably know that I was an avid sewist and sewing blogger for many years, but my enthusiasm has dwindled over the years…until now! I’m so delighted to have rediscovered the joy of sewing, and with it, my sewing journal.

A&O Dot Grid JournalA&O Kraft Notepad | Pental Fude Touch | Pigma Microns

I started a sewing journal in 2022, which was originally featured in this blog post, but it’s been gathering dust for the last year, whoops. Rather than trying to “catch up” with the projects I hadn’t documented and continuing to use layouts that weren’t really working for me, I decided to draw a line under what I’d done so far and start over. I created a new cover page and various trackers, which I’m hoping I’ll actually use this time:

  • Finished Projects
  • Project Ideas
  • Refashioning and Mending
  • My Measurements
  • Fabric Stash
  • …and of course, the all-important Project Pages

Why yes, that bit of paper at the top *is* covering one of many mistakes!

One of the reasons my sewing journal fell by the wayside was the faffy and time-consuming way I’d chosen to add swatches and photos. Rather than including actual swatches of fabric, I used printed swatch stickers which I cut on my Cricut. While they did reduce the bulk of my journal, it was a rather long-winded process to photograph, print and cut an image every time I wanted to update my fabric stash or add a swatch to a project page.

I also printed my finished project photos on my home printer and in my infinite wisdom and need for aesthetics, I’d chosen to add a polaroid frame to each one too. The long and short of it was: I couldn’t be bothered, I didn’t always have ink in my printer, and it felt like a bit of a waste of paper if I only had a couple of things to print!


Choosing a Mini Photo Printer

I’d longed for a mini photo printer for years but was completely overwhelmed by the enormous number of options. Spurred on by my renewed love of sewing and innate need to be keeping a journal of some description, I concluded it was time to make a decision! My priorities were:

  • Flat prints. As much as I love the classic Polaroid/Instax-style prints, they do add a lot of bulk to a journal, especially if you’re adding them to most pages
  • Portrait-format prints as these are better for showing clothing and outfits than square or landscape
  • Ideally self-adhesive prints for ease

With the above in mind, I narrowed my decision down to the following three printers: 

  • Canon Ivy
  • HP Sprocket
  • Polaroid Hi-Print

The Canon Ivy was the mini printer that first caught my eye a year or two ago, but I’m not sure if it’s been phased out as it didn’t seem to be readily available in the UK. I did have a look at some of the other Canon models but unfortunately they didn’t tick all of my boxes. The HP Sprocket looked good on paper but honestly, the design really put me off. Why does it look like a rock?! The general consensus also seemed to be that Zink prints weren’t quite as high quality.

After much deliberation, I decided on the Polaroid Hi-Print. Was I largely swayed by the incredibly cute retro design? Absolutely! With an RRP of £89.99, the Polaroid Hi-Print comes in a little cheaper than some other instant printer models but it’s always worth looking at the running costs before making a decision. The film costs £15.99 for 20 prints, which works out at about 80p per print. As I only intended to use this for my sewing journal and knew I wouldn’t be printing more than one to two photos a month, I figured it wasn’t too bad. Zink prints generally work out a bit cheaper so you may want to consider a Zink printer if you’re planning to print more often.

I managed to find a BNIB Polaroid Hi-Print starter set with two packs of film for approximately a third of the RRP on eBay. If you are buying second hand, make sure that it’s in full working order and not being sold for parts. Annoyingly I just missed out on an auction for a second-hand version which would have saved me even more!

Printing with my Polaroid Hi-Print 

The Polaroid Hi-Print is very quick and easy to set up and start using. I just downloaded the app and connected the device to my phone using Bluetooth. There’s very few buttons on the device itself and everything is controlled via the app. The app includes a basic photo editor as well as the option to add filters, text and stickers before printing. Probably not something I’d use but nice to know it’s there!

The printing process itself is fascinating to watch! The Hi-Print all-in-one cartridges contains photo paper and a colour ribbon embedded with cyan, magenta and yellow dye. The dyes are applied in three successive passes through the machine, before a final protective coating. Some reviews criticised the slow printing process but I love to watch it, and Juniper finds it fascinating too, as you can see in my latest reel!

In terms of the print quality, I must confess that I haven’t been blown away, although it’s fine for my sewing journal. I also find that prints come out a little lighter than they appear on-screen, so I avoid pre-lightening before printing which seems to help.

I haven’t put this to the test, but the prints are apparently water and smudge-resistant, which is always good for someone as clumsy as me! The self-adhesive back is really handy, and the slim prints add very little bulk to my sewing journal. I was a little disappointed in the print quality, but overall, I’m really happy with my Polaroid Hi-Print and it’s already streamlined my sewing journal process.

Golden Dots Washi Tape - one of my favourites and currently reduced to clear!

I've also switched over to using physical fabric swatches on my fabric stash page and project pages, which has also saved me a lot of time!


Mini Photo Printer Comparison

As Nikki has a Fujifilm Instax Mini EVO, we thought it might be useful to share a little comparison between the two models. First up, some lovely stats:

Polaroid Hi-Print stats 

  • RRP: £89.99
  • Film: 20 prints for £15.99 (80p per print)
  • Dye-diffusion thermal transfer printing
  • Internal rechargeable battery, charged via USB cable
  • Approximately 20 prints on one charge
  • Print size: 2.1 x 3.4” (54 x 86 mm)
  • Bluetooth connectivity to companion app

Fujifilm Instax Mini EVO stats

  • RRP: £174.99
  • Film: 20 prints for £14.99 (75p per print)
  • Traditional instant photo cartridge printing
  • Internal rechargeable battery, charged via USB cable
  • Approximately 100 prints on one charge
  • Print size: 2.1 x 3.4” (image size 1.8 x 2.4”) / 54 x 86mm (image size 41 x 61mm)
  • Bluetooth connectivity to companion app
  • Camera and printer in one
  • Built-in flash and LCD screen

Here's a little side-by-side print comparison: The photo at the top was printed with Nikki's Fuji Instax Mini EVO and the one on the bottom was printed with my Polaroid Hi-Print. You can see what I mean about the Hi-Print being brighter!


Nikki’s take on the Fuji Instax Mini EVO

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I've used the Fuji Instax Mini 8 in the past, with varying success. I lot of my photos didn't turn out well as it was tricky to frame shots using the tiny viewfinder, and light levels were tough to control. Needless to say, I wasted many prints, which was frustrating as they worked out at around £1 per photo!

Instax Mini 8 Photo

Perfect Pastels Grid Washi TapeRoyal Talens Square Hardback Mini Sketchbook

This is where the Fuji Instax Mini EVO really comes into it's own - as you can review your photos on its digital screen before you print. The camera has a selection of colour filters and creative shooting settings built in too, which are satisfyingly controlled via some lovely analogue dials and levers. 

Fuji Instax Mini Evo
Fuji Instax Mini Evo

There's also an app - which pretty much turns the camera into an Instax Mini printer. This is how I've used this camera the most so far, as I mostly shoot on my phone and then print photos further down the line. To be fair - I'd probably have gotten the same amount of use out of an Instax Mini Printer - which is quite a bit cheaper than the Mini EVO and prints using the same Instax Photo Cartridges. 

The vintage aesthetic and tactile controls of the Mini EVO stole my heart though - I have no regrets!

Instax Mini Photo Prints

I love printing photos for including in my Travel Journals (take a peep at my New York & Gibraltar flip though videos) as it's so nice to have photographic visuals to record special moments. The prints are on the thicker side - and adding a few to your journal pages will definitely result in a chonkier notebook. This is something that I really love though! To me, a chonky journal is one that's seen many an adventure!

Travel Journal - Royal Talens

I did find this camera tricky to find the UK. I was on a waiting list for stock arriving at Jessops for months before I eventually picked mine up whilst travelling in Spain. I did manage to find stock with UK availability here (affiliate link), although sadly the price has shot up a bit!


If you’ve been inspired to make a craft journal or use a mini photo printer in your bullet journal, we’d love to see! Please tag @nikkissupplystore and #NikkisSupplyStore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content and pictures of my cat, Juniper.

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