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Paper Types and Testing.

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

I’m asked quite frequently what printing paper I use when printing my linocuts. So I thought I’d share a few examples to accompany my previous blog post regarding wood and Lino cuts.

In this blog I’ll write about the preferred paper stocks I use and why, as well as some more general information that you may or may not find useful when selecting paper stock for your own printing processes. It is worth at this stage to mention that my paper preferences and what I love to use may be different to my readers so it’s a personal process/preference and it may be worth experimenting yourself to find your favourite or what works best for you.


I really like to buy random sheets of paper every now and then to experiment with, which means that this blog post will probably grow in length as I try more and more different types and stocks .


One thing I would recommend is that you purchase archival paper. This is an acid free paper that is very hardy and ages well without yellowing or wrinkling up like some non-archive paper does. This is especially worth remembering if you want to sell your prints, as you don’t want unhappy customers complaining about the beautiful print they bought off you looking faded and stained within a few months. It is also very important to consider the texture of the paper you want to use. Some artists prefer a very smooth lino printing paper and others (like me) like to use a paper stock that has a slight texture to it, this is more often found within hand made paper.

Handmade Paper can be extremely textured, in my humble opinion it can be a bit too textured for the purpose of printing a linocut. The fibres and flecks within handmade paper can make the surface quite rough and this can cause problems when trying to get a consistent/solid print on the surface of the paper. The result is a print with a lot of inconsistencies. You can get a fairly decent finish by running it through an etching press with a lot of downward pressure exerted on the lino as it comes into contact with the paper but I’d personally not really recommend handmade papers.

Most printmaking paper is mould made paper, and is characterised by a very nice consistent surface texture. Some mould made or machine made paper is super smooth, and others have a slight fibrous texture. You can spot the difference between mould made paper and machine made paper very quickly by looking at the edges of the sheets. Mould made paper tends to have an uneven ‘deckled’ edge whereas machine made paper has a really sharp clean edge.

Japanese paper is also definitely worth a mention and I highly recommend it. As masters of relief printing, through centuries of wood block printing, the Japanese know a thing or two about making great paper. There are hand-made ‘washi’ papers you can buy but these are very expensive due to the fact that it’s sadly a craft that is not widely practised today. However, the machine made Japanese ‘Kozo’ papers are great so Id thoroughly encourage you to try them out.


Zerkall Printing Paper

Currently this is my lino printing paper of choice. I tend to use a 145gsm or 155gsm Zerkall Paper stock and I really love the level of smoothness and consistency it has for my prints. It’s nice quality adds a luxurious element to the final print. I tend to work with a lot of detail within my prints and this paper really picks up the smaller details that I want in my prints.


Product Details:

Zerkall is a mould made paper, manufactured in Germany and from a mixture of cotton and wood pulp.

Score: 10/10


Hosho Japanese Paper

Hosho is another paper stock that I always have in my lino printing tool kit. It most often comes in pads that you can tear off single sheets from! It has a great texture and is so delicate yet strong and hardy when being printed on. The pads of Hosho that I buy are 280 x 400 mm and come with 50 sheets.

Score: 6/10




Somerset Satin

Lots of artists like Somerset papers so they’re well worth a mention. They are super smooth and provide an excellent surface to print on. This was one of the first papers I was introduced too whilst printmaking at university and I would say that this paper is brilliant for home printing! Both using a press and/or a baren or wooden spoon to print with. Due to the paper being so smooth means it’s easier to create a uniform contact with the inked print, creating a really nice impression.

Score: 8/10


Disclaimer: Photographs by DrawInkPress

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