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The Paper Library




~Paper Terms & Definitions~


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All the terms listed here are in some way related to paper or paper products. The definitions are kept simple and easy to understand. Pictures and links to various examples are used in many of the terms. In order to get back to this page you should be able to use your "Back" button. This page is being updated all the time as we discover more words that need defining.

For an in-depth knowledge of any words and topics given here it is best to visit your local library and look under Industrial Paper Manufacturing and Paper Making.


All terms are listed alphabetically

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Text Weight- This is just another word to describe thin paper (as opposed to cover which is thick). Some people call this weight of paper "stationery weight". It comes in a variety of thicknesses from 13lb to 26lb.


Texture- The definition of texture that we are using here is: "The visual and tactile quality of a surface" In other words how does it feel when you touch it and how does it look. With paper we are interested in both!

Sample of textured paper.



In paper making the word texture can refer to the "finish" of a paper. For an in-depth look at paper finishes visit that section of The Paper Library. Finishes


True/Authentic Felt Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here


Thermography/Heat Embossing-
Heat embossing is done with embossing powder and a heat tool. The powder becomes liquid when heated and then quickly dries hard when it cools. The end result of heat embossing is a raised surface on the paper. This process is actually called "thermography" in the printing world.



Tooth- This is a very important term to know if you are going to fall in love with paper. The tooth of a paper is simply the roughness of a paper. For example- when using colored pencils or chalk you want the paper to have a tooth (some roughness) so that the paper grabs onto the pencils and chalk a little. This is also true for watercolor artists- again you want the paper to grab at the brush and hold onto the paint.

The best way to discover the tooth of a paper is to try it out. Take a piece of smooth finish paper and then a piece of vellum finish paper and then matte finish paper. Try colored pencils on all of them and see the difference. They all seem to be really smooth papers but boy does the tooth make a difference!


Translucent- Material that is translucent cannot be seen through clearly but light can pass through it. For example if you have ever seen sandblasted glass or white plastic skylights. Those are both examples of translucent material.

Vellum paper is also an example of a translucent material.

Because of the light catching nature of translucent paper you can create amazing effects. If you have a light source from behind it can give an ethereal look to the surface. It is worth playing around with if you are into 3D paper crafts!


Transparent- When this word is used it means that the material is completely clear and you can see through it with no obstructions (like a sheet of glass).

Acetate sheets, overhead projector film and polypropylene bags are examples of transparent materials.


Vellum Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here


Vellum/Translucent Paper- This is a kind of paper that is somewhat opaque when it is held off a surface and becomes translucent when you set it against a surface. It comes in different thicknesses and colors. The paper is very interesting and can be decorated and stamped easily.

Many envelope converters are offering matching envelopes in various sizes. These are quite fun as you can see the contents of the envelope!

This paper has been around a long time in white and off-white colors. Recently it has begun to be made in a rainbow of colors (and even blind embossed to give it wild textures).

Many manufacturers make it acid free and chlorine free too.


Wove Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here

 


Writing- This refers to a type of paper and/or its thickness. It is traditonally thin and is often used as stationery. It commonly comes in thicknesses from 13lb to 36lb.

It can have a watermark (a mark that a mill will put on a paper when it is made). You can see if the watermark is there if you hold the paper up to the light.

When you hear someone talk about résumé paper they are often referring to "Writing" paper.

 

Yellowing - Describes a transformation inherent to all vegetable fibers which is caused by aging. Paper made of vegetable fibers will turn various degrees of yellow as its environment couples with aging to produce this phenomenon. Yellowing is very evident in groundwood papers and only a few hours in direct sunlight is enough to yellow newspaper.

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