Monday, 30 March 2009
Choosing Card & Paper
Monday, 30 March 2009
Which is best for printing on? It's another question I'm asked a lot. And a very important one. If our printed papers & images are of a poor quality, then it will be impossible to produce the professional looking cards we all aim to create.
And I'm afraid it doesn't have a simple answer because it depends on a lot of things ... the type of printer you like to use, the quality of colour your chosen ink cartridges produce, what exactly you want to use the printed design for, even what will fit into your printer ... all these things & more will all affect the type of card & paper you choose to print onto.
But, I do think there are some definite answers I can give.
I think it is true that specialist inkjet or laser papers will give you the brightest colours and sharpest prints on home printers. Especially if you choose the papers recommended by your printer manufacturer, so Epson paper for Epson printers etc. I think it's easy to believe these manufacturers just want us to spend our money on their own very expensive papers & that's why they constantly recommend them. But in reality, these printer manufacturers undertake an awful lot of research into producing papers that produce near-perfect printed results for their specific inks & printers. They do produce without any doubt, superb quality prints. Home printing has come a long way.
And I would be happy to use them. But for me, they are not always cost-effective. And, I prefer the slightly gentler prints that using less expensive card & paper produces.
At the other end of scale, I think very cheap paper & card does produce a lesser quality print. It tends to be more fibrous & more absorbent with inks so the colours & designs have a lesser clarity. I have never found a very cheap brand of either card or paper which gives me results I am happy with, with Pink Petticoat designs.
So I tend to purchase somewhere in between the two. And for me, using my Epson printer & both compatible & Epson branded inks ...
... for card bases, I use 300gsm Exclusive White Card from Century Paper Sales. This is the card I use for all the cards on the web site & here on the blog, where I print the card base myself. Which is almost all of them : )
It is a natural white colour which I like, not bright white. And it has a smooth finish which I think is better for my clean & simple card making style. It's also acid-free, which is a bonus : ) Because I print a LOT, I tend to buy it in boxes of 1000 sheets at a time. This gives me, personally, greatest value. But it is also available in packs of 250 sheets too.
I print image stamps onto this too.
For printing a design onto paper, I really liked Tesco 120 gsm Photo Paper & I used it all the time. It printed well, tore well etc, I really liked the results I got with it. But I haven't been able to get hold of any for a long time. I did hear that they no longer offer it for sale. But if you can still get it, I am very jealous : )
So I now use 120gsm smooth white paper which I buy from Staples - either Staples own brand or Xerox. I am happy with the results I get with both of those.
They are both matt finish. Glossy finish papers do print beautifully, and the colours are always slightly softer than with a matt finish card. And I do have some. But I very rarely use them.
I do also, sometimes, print on textured card - linen, ribbed, felt card etc. But I don't have a particular brand which I like to buy. Usually, I will buy it if I see something I like, at a good price.
I think with textures, there is a little more scope for the print to be less than perfect than there is on a smooth finish card. Any faults 'disappear' into the texture.
So that's what I choose for basic card & paper.
Of course the ultimate answer to the question is to use whatever gives you results you're happy with, given the printer & inks you use, the finish you like, and the budget you have of course.
But I think it is very helpful to have an idea of where to at least start to find something which we'll like.
If you'd like to share your own personal paper & card choices, then please do. And I'll create it as another FAQ so the information is easy to find. I know there are other mediums we can print on but if we stick to card & paper here, I can cover other mediums on another post.
posted by: Liz Armstrong