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How To:
Choosing The Perfect Printmaking Paper

Fine Art Papers:

Choosing paper for printmaking is an art form just like the printmaking itself, learn how to choose the perfect fine art paper for your printmaking here.

Kozo Awagami Paper - Melbourne Etching Supplies - Fine Art, Printmaking, Paper, Painting & Drawing materials online


Papers are made from all sorts of different fibres. For printmaking, and for many other fine art papers, they are often made from cotton, wood cellulose, and a range of plant fibres such as Kozo (pictured above). Some papers, such as our Khadi range, are made from the fibres of discarded 100% cotton garments - making them beautifully absorbent, as well as being sociallyresponsible.

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Paper Surfaces:

Choosing the surface of a printmaking paper is a very important decision as the surface texture will affect the way ink is picked up, how the colour will look when printed, and of course, how the paper itself looks. A smooth paper, such as the Somerset Satin range, will work best for lithography and silk screen prints, whereas a fuller bodied textured paper is more suited to a deeply etched intaglio print. There is also something to be said about the colour and light reflection of your paper, for example, smooth papers are generally more bright than the diffused surface of a textured paper.

Khadi Fine Art Papers  - Melbourne Etching Supplies - Fine Art Materials Online


How and what you are printing will dictate this choice. A thicker plate, such as 1.2mm Copper, lino or wood relief blocks, and collograph plates, will generally require a heavier weight paper, such as 300gsm. Lighter weight papers, like those in our Japanese Paper Range, start as light as 36gsm, and are perfect for hand pressed (using a baren) relief prints, for delicate drypoints, and for chine collé. We also stock a range of Light to Mid-Weight Papers, such as the Hahnemuhle 150gsm Warm White, which makes an excellent choice for printmakers who are making books. 

Paper Edges:

Firstly, what on earth is a deckled edge! Deckle edges are generally made during the mould pressing of individual paper sheets, and they can be a sought after feature of hand made papers. Some papers, like Velin d'Arches come with four deckles, and some such as the Fabriano Rosaspina range will have two deckles and two cut edges. Fabriano Unica is a proofing paper that has 4 straight cut edges. Each paper, and paper manufacturer, will have its own characteristics, and if you are curious about the edges of the papers, you can always ask us - if we don't know, we can have a look for you!

Fine Art Papers - Melbourne Etching Supplies - Fine Art, Printmaking, Paper, Painting & Drawing materials online

Paper Colour

In many ways, this one really comes down to personal preference, but when choosing a 'white' paper, it is useful to know that bright whites are often paired with cool black inks (tinted blue), and that warm whites are often paired with warmer black tones (perhaps with a tint of sepia). The Hahnemuhle Warm White is one of our most beloved papers - it's gentle warm white, soft toothy texture is infamous for printing detailed intaglio works. Stonehenge provides a range of smooth surfaces in either 250gsm and 320gsm, with a variety of different colour options such as White, Natural, Fawn, Grey and Black!

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