We have ‘printables‘ for sale in our BlissPlan shop – like the hilarious cat pictured on the left. Doesn’t he look disgusted? He makes me laugh whenever I see him. Funny cat quotes just might be my favorite art.
But what, exactly, is a “printable”. It’s an image that you download and print yourself, on your home computer or you can take it to one of the many professional printers around town, like Kinko. We have two printers and print lots of goodies like these adorable cats. Most modern printers will print images like these.
But if you want to print them yourself, you might be wondering what kind of paper to choose? It matters – it matters a lot. The wrong paper will result in dull and boring prints. Ask me how I know! So here is some advice that just might be the difference between a print you despise and one that really, really pops.
The type of paper you will use when printing your new artwork depends on several factors.
LONGEVITY: Where are you going to hang your art? Will it be in a sunny location? Clearly art that is exposed to sun needs a stronger, thicker paper than art in a light-free hallway.
MATTE OR HIGH GLOSS: Do you love the look of gleaming, shining, high-gloss paper or do you prefer a matte finish? There is no question that light reflects differently on these choices. Matte is NOT the best choice for artwork printing (see below).
COATING: When discussing matte, semi-matte or gloss papers, it’s important to understand that these effects are created by a coating of clay, white pigment, and binder. When paper has a coating, ink sits on the top of the paper, rather than sinking in. This is what makes a print “pop” and be very colorful. With uncoated paper, ink sinks into the paper and the colors are duller. An important point: looking at this kind of paper can be tiring to the eyes so if you are printing text, a duller paper is easier on the eyes.
PAPER TONE: Paper has warm and cool tones. The warmer colors will have more red while the cooler colors contain more blues.
ACID FREE: Those papers that contain acid will yellow as they age. Quickly. This might be fine with you if you like the vintage look. If you don’t, be certain to choose acid-free paper.
THICKNESS: Standard printer paper is flimsy and unsuited to printing art. The print won’t last and it will age and ‘flatten’ much sooner than higher quality paper. Compare your paper’s “photo-thickness” and choose the weight that feels substantial to you.
PRINTER RECOMMENDATIONS: Many printers, both laser and ink-jet, make recommendations for paper choices. These might be helpful for you when choosing.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: We order many items online, as you probably do. BUT … unless you’re familiar with a paper, it’s best to actually check out the ‘feel’ and look of paper in a physical store. Even with consumer reviews, you may find yourself disappointed when ordering ‘sight unseen’.