The kind of paper you use for printmaking can make or break your artwork. Whether you work with woodcuts, relief printing, or stone lithography, you’ll need some good-quality sheets that can tolerate the weight of ink and pressure (whether from hands or a mechanical press) while offering the right amount of absorbency. When you’re armed with the right paper, you’re likely to pull more accurate and more uniform prints, which ultimately saves you time and money. Find the best option for your needs in our picks of the best printmaking papers, below.
1. BFK Rives Printmaking Paper
Prints look sophisticated and ready for display with this fine printmaking paper, which is mold-made in France of 100 percent cotton. Each sheet has an almost velvety texture and shows off individual fibers that trap pigment beautifully. This popular paper excels when put to use for a range of printmaking techniques, whether intaglio, block printing, linocuts, or lithography, and can also be used for drawing in dry media. Each sheet has been internally sized, which helps to reduce ink feathering as well as excessive ink absorption. This pack contains 10 sheets of 22-by-30-inch white paper with two natural deckles and two torn deckles.
2. Rives de Lin Printmaking Paper
Another hugely popular, artist-grade product, Rives de Lin paper is also mold-made in France, except it differs from the BFK in consisting of 85 percent cotton and 15 percent linen. This gives it a slightly rougher texture than most other printmaking papers—almost like a cold-press sheet. Durable and heavy, the sheets can take multiple layers of ink and can even be moistened or soaked before being run through the press. Each 22-by-30-inch sheet in this pack of 10 is bright white with a weight of 270 gsm.
3. Kitakata Paper
This beautiful paper is made from gampi fibers, which give the sheets a subtle, almost silky texture on one side. These are semi-translucent papers with naturally deckled edges and a warm, almost glowing tinge and are especially well suited for traditional printmaking techniques. The sheets absorb ink very well while showcasing crisp and clear lines. They are quite light, but gampi fibers are incredibly strong, making this a very sturdy paper. Each pack comes with five sheets measuring 16 by 20 inches.
4. Strathmore 400 Series Printmaking Paper
For an excellent student-grade option, we recommend Strathmore’s low-priced printmaking papers, great for young artists as well as newcomers to this medium. While slightly stiff (they’re made of high alpha-cellulose wood fiber rather than cotton), they are surprisingly absorbent, holding ink very well without showing any bleed. They are also acid-free. These cost-effective 18-by-24-inch sheets come in a pad of 15, providing lots of paper for experiments or practice runs, and you won’t have to feel precious about using sheets. Pages are uniform, so you know exactly what you’re working with every time.
5. Black Ink Thai Printing Pack
If your preferred form of printmaking is the highly accessible process of block printing, consider these papers made of kozo, or Japanese mulberry, blended with bamboo. The plant has long fibers and excellent absorbency and is strong to withstand inks as well as heavy pressure. Made in Thailand, these sheets feature one smooth side and one lightly textured side; the surfaces are creamy and almost gauzy, giving your works a refined feel.