If you don't see the product you're looking for, please call Customer Support at 800-772-2434


Paper is important for defining an image, but in engraving, the paper selected must also be strong enough to accept the extreme pressure that occurs on the press. Coated stocks are likely to crack, and lesser quality papers may break through. Tensile strength of the paper is vital to the desired effect. Cotton content papers with at least 25 percent rag content respond best. Paper selection is so important it could determine the successful execution of the entire project.

Papers Can Be Compared On:

Weight – Either basis weight or substance weight; higher numbers connote heavier paper, which means more prestige.

Opacity – A paper’s resistance to the transmission of light; greater opacity resists show through; heavier paper is more opaque.

Brightness – The measure of diffused light reflectance; the brighter the paper, the brighter the inks appear.

Smoothness – Smoother paper can achieve finer dot reproduction. Ink receptivity or ink holdout relate to smoothness; tendency of inks to dry on the surface without soaking into stock.

Gloss Finish – the amount of shine; gloss is often associated with quality, although matte and uncoated surfaces increase readability; the term refers to coated stock. The finish on the surface of the paper effects how well it will receive ink or whether inks will “feather” around the dies. The engraver may need to run a sample to assure that the desired effect will be produced, since it is often impossible to judge how well the ink and paper will work until actually printed.

The Paper Finishes Are:

Laid finish – tiny parallel lines Satin finish – very smooth finish Linen finish – textured like a table cloth Vellum – slightly rough surface Wove finish – soft smooth surface

Paper Colors

There are no standardized paper colors. They vary from manufacture to manufacture, and are discontinued, changed, and renamed from time to time.

The amount of color in the stock increases opacity (the degree to which ink does not show through), but decreases legibility, because the contrast between the type and background is reduced. The paper color should complement the shades of ink selected.

The Classic Colors Are Subtle Shades of:

  • White
  • Natural white
  • Bright white
  • Ivory
  • Gray
  • Buff or beige
  • Blue

* Tricks and Traps Engraved Business Cards and Stationery by Lynella Grant