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Paper 101 - Glossary of Terms

We've compiled a list of common paper-industry terms to help you navigate the paper ordering process. As always, if there is something you don't understand, please use our contact form and let us know. We are here and happy to help.

Acid, Lignin and Chlorine Free - paper that is free of these substances, which degrade paper in a short period of time. 

Antique Vellum - also known as Vellum Opaque - not to be confused with translucent vellum, antique vellum refers to the fine-tooth finish on a sheet of paper; the sheet may appear smooth, but a magnified or closer inspection of the surface will reveal a fine and even rough or toothy finish.

Archival - paper that is free of harmful substances l (see Acid, Lignin and Chlorine Free above) and can be used for long-term projects. This paper will not degrade with proper handling and storage. 

Basis Weight - the weight in lbs. of 500 sheets of a grade of paper in its folio or parent sheet size. See our Paper Weight section for more details.

Belly Band - a strip of material that is used to wrap around an invitation ensemble to hold it together, and as an embellishment for your invitation suite. Can be made from any material such as ribbon, lace, twine, paper, or cardstock.

Bone Folde- a tool made from bone or hard plastic used to crease, score, or burnish paper  (see Score below).

Caliper - the thickness of a sheet of paper. 

Cricut - a popular electronic die-cutting machine brand.

Debossing - creating depressed patterns on paper using various methods such as with a blind letterpress (no ink is used) or a metal die.

Die - similar to a cookie cutter, a die is made from metal and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The die is used to cut paper into it's respective shape using a manual die-cutting machine or can be used to deboss paper.

Die-Cutting - a method of cutting paper into shapes with a manual die-cutting machine using plates and metal dies, or an electronic die-cutting machine, such as a Cricut, that is controlled through a computer program.

Embossing- creating a raised pattern on paper using various methods such as dry embossing with a stencil or embossing machine, heat embossing with embossing powders and a heat gun, or paste embossing, 

Engraving - a older method of printing, engraving involves cutting "engraving" the design to be printed into a solid intaglio printing plate or other metal material, then filling the design with ink and transferring it to paper using a printing press (see Laser Engraving).

Euro Flap - the flap of an envelope that goes down to a slightly rounded point.

Finish - the surface texture of a sheet of paper that can range from smooth as silk to patterned finishes and everything in between.

Foam Squares or Tape - A square or continuous tape that is made of foam and used to add height to elements in paper crafting.

Guillotine Cutter - a machine with a heavy blade used to cut paper; available in many sizes from tabletop manual swing arm for home use to electronic stand-alone units for commercial use.

Laser Engraving - A design is engraved into paper using a laser.

Letterpress - the earliest form of printing invented, also known as "relief" printing, a letterpress creates an debossed print into a heavyweight paper, usually with ink, but can be a "blind" press with no ink. Letterpress is a popular choice for high-end invitations.

Matte - the finish of paper that has no shine or light reflection.

Metallic - the finish of paper that has a metallic-like shine or luster; includes pearlescent, mirror, and glitter finishes.

Micrometer - an instrument used to measure the thickness of paper (see Caliper).

Mirror - the finish of paper that provides a reflection resembling a mirror. Keep in mind that this is paper, not glass. However, the reflection of our mirrored cardstock is of the highest quality on the market today.

Ombre - paper that has color gradation from light to dark or dark to light across the sheet, which can be of different colors or in the same color family. 

Parchment Paper - a type of paper that can have varying degrees of translucency, mottled color, and usually an uneven surface; originally made of animal skin, we are happy to report modern manufacturing now uses cellulose fibers from trees and plants. This paper is popular for calligraphy, letters, documents, and certificates.

Pearlescent - also referred to as shimmer or pearl paper; has a finish created by using a fine metallic coating on the surface of the paper so that it reflects light and resembles a pearl. 

Point (pt.) - a measurement of the thickness of a sheet of paper; 1 pt. equals .0254 mm or .01388 inches.

Post-Consumer Waste - refers to recycled materials used in the manufacture of paper that had been previously consumed for a prior purpose.

Pound (lb.) - a measurement of the "basis weight" of a grade of paper.

Recycled - refers to materials used in the manufacture of paper that had been used in the manufacture of a previous product and may or may not include post-consumer waste.

Score - a paper score or scoring paper refers to making a defined crease in cardstock paper, usually with a scoring/folding tool such as a bone folder. The score line allows the paper to be folded into a neat and straight crease without cracking.

Scor-Tape - a double-sided adhesive tape that comes in different widths and has virtually no thickness.

Silhouette - a popular electronic die-cutting machine brand.

Solid-Core - the color of paper is the same throughout the sheet, color goes all the way through the sheet, so the middle, inside or "core" is the same solid color.

Vellum Opaque  - not to be confused with translucent vellum, opaque or antique vellum refers to the fine-tooth finish on a sheet of paper; the sheet may appear smooth, but a magnified or closer inspection of the surface will reveal a fine and even rough or toothy finish.

Vellum Translucent a smooth and transparent (see through) sheet of paper resembling frosted glass; it can have varying degrees of translucency but is never crystal clear; traditionally made of calf skin, modern manufacturing only uses cellulose fibers from trees and plants.

Washi-Tape - a decorative tape that is sticky on the backside.

Wood Veneer - veneer is very thin wood shaved directly from a tree trunk and is available in varying thicknesses. Our wood veneer is very thin and adhered to a cardstock back. It is made to be used like cardstock paper and works with almost any paper-crafting application. It is not intended for wood shop or wood working projects.