Paper Textures and Finishes: A Complete Guide

Paper Textures and Finishes: A Complete Guide

Shopping for paper online is a bit of a catch-22. It’s convenient, but unfortunately there is no way to tell what the paper looks and feels like until it is physically in your hands. That’s why we will break down all the different paper textures and finishes here. Hopefully we will make your online shopping experience a bit easier!

There are four different types of paper textures: smooth, embossed, uncoated, and coated. Each type of texture has multiple paper styles. Paper textures the JAM way!

Guide to paper textures

Smooth

There are three basic paper styles that fall under the smooth category:  wove, smooth & vellum. They typically have no raised ridges or watermarks.

smooth paper texture   smooth paper texture   smooth paper texture

Wove – This style of paper is very smooth and doesn’t have watermarking or any type of ribbed detailing. During the paper-making process the paper maker uses a brush with woven wires that creates this smooth surface.  This is what is used by most printing paper. It’s important to note that if a pack of paper does not specifically say the type of finish it has, you can assume it is a wove finish.

Smooth –  This style of paper is created by running paper through sets of rollers. The paper pulp is flattened over and over again by rollers creating one ream of smooth paper.

Vellum – Vellum is a type of finish applied to all purpose paper. It has an egg shell look and feel and is very durable. This style of paper appears to be smooth but has a subtle roughness making it a little rougher then smooth paper. Vellum paper is made naturally from pure cellulose fibers. It is also recyclable and acid-free.

Check out our wove paper here.

Check out our smooth paper here.

Check out our vellum paper here.

Embossed

Embossed paper consists of paper that has raised detailing that can be both seen and felt.

embossed paper texture   embossed paper texture  embossed paper texture

Linen – Linen paper looks and feels like much like the linen fabrics in your home. Chances are that nice linen tablecloth you use for Thanksgiving has a similar raised crosshatch pattern. Linen texture paper is frequently used for when you want an elegant look. It looks great on personal stationery, business letterhead, and restaurant menus. Some people even use it for business cards! Linen paper is made from the flax plant.

Laid – The laid finish also gives the paper the look and feel of a quality hand-crafted paper from ages ago. This is a type of finish that is applied to the paper during the paper-making process. While the paper is still wet, the paper roller is pressed against the wet pulp, creating fine lines running the length of the paper. The paper features raised horizontal and vertical lines, also known as “chain lines.” Again, this type of finish works well with personal stationery, business letterhead, high-quality menus, and business cards.

Pinstripe – This paper has a ribbed texture. Long ribbed lines run parallel down the length of the paper, giving it like its name suggest subtle pinstripe markings. These are lovely paper textures.

Check out our linen paper here.

Check out our laid paper here.

Check out our pinstripe paper here.

Uncoated

Uncoated paper simply means that there is no coating applied to the paper.

uncoated paper texture   uncoated paper texture

Parchment – Parchment paper, sometimes referred to as marble paper, has a bit of of a rough texture. It is made by running paper pulp through a bath of chemicals breaking down the papers compounds. This process gives the paper a smooth marble like texture. Good for certificates, menus, personal stationery, and newsletters.

Cockle – This paper has a handmade, uneven appearance. It is created by drying paper under minimum amount of tension causing the paper to ripple.

Check out our parchment paper here.

Coated

Coated paper is paper that has a layer of coating applied to it. It can be used to improved brightness & durability or even add color & shine to paper.

coated paper texture  coated paper texture   coated paper texture

Foil/Metallic – This paper has a thin film of plastic or metal in the same color as the base paper. This film creates a shinny, smooth coating.

Stardream – This paper finish comes in three verities (metallic, iridescent and pearlescent). All finishes are relatively smooth to the touch, but have a shimmery coating.

Glossy – This paper texture is very smooth. One side of the paper can be uncoated and rough while the other is coated with a surface gloss. This gives it a shiny coating.

Check out our foil/metallic paper here.

Check out our stardream paper here.

Check out our glossy paper here.

Whether you are looking to buy laid paper for scrapbooking  or glossy paper for creating a brochure, understanding the paper textures and finishes can help when selecting paper online.

Author: Steve Levine

Self-proclaimed stationery guru. Maybe my words can help you solve a problem.

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