Printmaking Paper

The distinguishing features of a good printmaking paper are its ability to withstand soaking and to absorb a lot of ink, often with multiple runs through a press, without disintegrating or deforming. Fine printmaking papers are made from archival fibers, which in the European printmaking tradition is usually 100% cotton. Japanese paper for printmakingcan be made from bamboo, kozo (mulberry bark), gampi, hemp, or other fibers, which are usually combined with varying degrees of alpha-cellulose (wood pulp) for stability or to create different finishes. Some printmaking papers have also become favorites for drawing or mixed media techniques.

Blick offers a wide variety of printmaking papers for screen printing, block printing (also called relief printing), lithography, monotype printing, intaglio, and etching, plus stencil papers and acetate (and acetate alternative) films. Plus, with our decades of experience, you can trust that your printmaking paper order will reach you in the condition you expect. To learn more about our specialized approach to storing, packing, and shipping paper, visit our Expertly Shipping Delicate Paper Products Page.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it mean that a paper is sized or unsized?

    Sizing is a treatment added to paper to control its absorbency. Whereas watercolor papers are heavily sized, printmaking papers may be moderately sized, lightly sized, or even "waterleaf" (unsized). The level of sizing in the paper influences how it performs for various applications. For example, high absorbency will facilitate absorption of ink, but may make the paper more fragile if soaked.

  • Can I use printmaking papers in a desktop printer?

    For the most part, these printmaking papers are not manufactured with desktop printing in mind. They may still work, but you will need to test with your printer prior to committing to any large projects. Be sure to consult your printer's specifications to determine what thickness of paper will be compatible.

  • Can I use other media on printmaking paper?

    Moderately sized printmaking papers can often take a light watercolor application. In addition, the soft surface of many printmaking papers can lend itself to colored pencil, charcoal, and light pastel. Bear in mind that printmaking papers often have a delicate surface that doesn't stand up to erasure like drawing or bristol paper, and they aren't usually well suited to pen and ink or marker. Have fun experimenting!