Paper 101 - Printing

Printing Guide ... test, test, test!

Printing is an important factor to consider when choosing paper for your printing projects.

  • Whether you plan on DIY printing or professional printing, do your homework before buying a large paper supply.

  • Not all paper types are suitable for all printers, especially home printers.

  • It is important to take into consideration many factors when choosing paper for a print project, including but not limited to: paperweight, paper material and coatings, paper grain, moisture, heat, ink, speed, the printer’s paper path and printer settings. Not all printers can successfully accommodate all printing projects.

  • For DIY projects, start by consulting your printer manual and making sure your printer settings are adjusted for the type of paper you wish to use. Keep in mind that you may or may not be able to successfully print all paper types in any printer.

  • For professional printing, consult with your print shop and have them run test prints before purchasing a large amount of paper and ordering a print job. Do not assume that a professional printer can print on any paper as they are also limited by the type of printing equipment they have available.


Printing Types:

Inkjet- Inkjet printers use tiny nozzles to spray ink onto the paper. This liquid ink will soak into the paper and may need some time to dry to avoid smudging, especially on coated or metallic papers. Inkjet is the most common form of home printer, and responds well to most paper types. Inkjet printers are especially successful at printing on textured card stocks.




Laser- Laser printers use a toner cartridge filled with powder and heat to create a virtually waterproof, plastic-like ink that sits on top of the paper. (Flush with the paper. Words will not be raised.) Unlike inkjet ink, laser ink does not soak into the paper, so it is dry right away and allows for printing on some surfaces that inkjet cannot print on such as pearlescent paper.




Inkjet vs. Laser-When viewed at an angle, you can see how the inkjet ink soaks into the paper, while the laser ink leaves a very think plastic-like coating on top.




Letterpress- In letterpress printing, an inked metal plate with the raised text/design is mechanically pressed into the paper to create an impression in the paper. Letterpress is the oldest form of printing and is the height of luxury when it comes to paper goods. (Note that letterpress printing works best on papers 100# or higher.) 




Thermography- In thermographic printing, powder ink and heat come together to create a raised, embossed finish. Thermography is commonly used on luxury paper items and works with almost all paper types. 

  thermography printing

Printing Recommendations* by Paper Type:

    Text, Cover and Pearlescentsoffer a high-quality performance for laser and ink jet printers as well as copiers, provided the proper test runs have been made. Laser, ink jet, and digital compatibilities are subject to individual printer model specifications. Cover paper weights of 100 lb. and above may not be suitable for all home printers. These papers are virtually always compatible with most professional printing application procedures including, but not limited to: thermography, lithography, digital, silkscreen printing, offset printing, letterpress, embossing, laminating, foil stamping, engraving, die or laser cutting, and folding and/or scoring.


      Inkjet printing on French Paper Company


                  Mirror Foilsarecompatible with most printing application procedures including, but not limited to: thermography, lithography, digital, silkscreen printing, offset printing, embossing, foil stamping, engraving, die or laser cutting, and folding and or scoring. 
                        Wood Veneerscan be printed using offset, digital, flexo, screen, flatbed inkjet and letterpress printing processes and can be die-cut, embossed, foiled, scored, folded, laser cut, laser etched, stapled and sewn just like paper.
                          Inkjet on Wood Veneer card stock



                            *Pre-testing and sampling are a must prior to printing and processing applications.