Best paper for printing your own greeting cards

I’ve been running my greeting card business for almost two years and for most of that, I’ve been outsourcing the printing. I was really struggling to find the exact kind of paper I was envisioning for my cards. But the cost of oursourcing the printing was really cutting into my profit margins (which are pretty slim on greeting cards to begin with), so I’m really happy to say that I’ve found a paper that actually works for me.

My paper criteria

There are a lot of types of paper out there and I know that fellow greeting card sellers use a wide variety.

I think most people use a matte cardstock because it is easy to source, prints well on a home inkjet printer, and is easy to write on the inside.

However, I really wanted my cards to have a more glossy finish like a card you would buy at the store.

Not glossy like photo paper, but sort of… semi-gloss?

This was really hard to find, so any kind of gloss was really okay for me.

My other criteria was that this glossy side was only on one side of the paper.

I really didn’t want to have two-sided gloss because then the inside of the card could only be written on with something like a sharpie or other permanent marker. That seemed less professional to me.

I also wanted the paper to be thick enough to stand up on its own, without being so thick that the fibres splintered when it was folded in half.

That’s kind of a lot of criteria!

If you want to watch my video review of this paper, click the image above to watch it on Youtube!

Translating into “paper-speak”

Despite knowing how to describe what I wanted, I had to figure out how to translate that into the codes and terms used in the paper manufacturing industry.

Weight

Since I wanted a heavier kind of paper, I wanted it to be cover stock. Cover paper is usually measured in points rather than gsm or lbs like other paper.

I would say that anything from 10 point to 14 point would work for a greeting card.

My favourite paper weight for my cards is 12 point cover. I think that’s the sweet spot for durability and foldability.

Size

Since I’m printing these on my home inkjet printer, I wanted to ensure the paper was a size that would fit.

That means I was looking for 8.5 x 11 inch paper ideally (though the longer legal-sized paper would work too, if convenient).

Coating

This is the part that really mattered when it came to selecting my greeting card paper.

I wanted one side of the paper to be coated (aka glossy), and the other side to be uncoated (aka matte).

The “code” for this, I learned, is C1S instead of C2S.

As in, “coated one side” or “coated two sides”.

Once I figured this out, it made it a lot easier to navigate paper suppliers to find exactly what I was looking for.

The paper I chose (and love!)

This leads me to the point of this post, which is the paper that I’m using and love

It is Kromekote 12 point C1S White 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

This is the same paper that my external printer was using, and it has a great finish. I’m really happy with the end result from using it on my home printer.

From what I’ve gathered, Kromekote was an older paper brand that made glossy papers that closed down, and was then bought by CTI Paper USA and brought back to life.

I’m really happy with this paper for my cards. I should note that I print and cut the cards out from the larger sheet; I have seen that they do sell a greeting-card sized paper, but I haven’t tested that out yet. You might want to try it for yourself.

The only problem I’ve really encountered with this paper is that it’s really difficult to get my hands on in Canada. I’ve managed to get some of it through Amazon, but the seller has raised the price significantly since my last purchase… so I’ll have to explore some other ordering options once I’m out, or import it from the US.

This paper does require some strategy to use optimally, so I’ll share my tips for using it.

Using this paper correctly

So one of the things I learned about this paper is that it is designed for offset printing. However, I’ve had great success using it with my inkjet printer.

The only issue I’ve encountered is that I set my printer (which is an Epson ET-2400) to the highest photo paper quality setting, and some of the colours feathered out after printing. I think this is just because too much ink was deposited into the paper.

I’ve switched to using either the normal “bright white” paper setting at the highest quality, or the standard glossy photo paper setting at the highest quality. I haven’t had any colours bleeding ever since and the cards don’t smudge.

I do let the cards sit for a short time before touching them just to ensure the ink is dry, just as I would for any photo paper.

The other issue I’ve encountered is more specific to my printer, which is that the printer doesn’t like how thick this paper is. I’ve heard from other people that other models of the Epson Ecotank don’t all have the same issue with cardstock, so that may not be a problem for everyone.

As it is, I can only really feed in one page at a time, and sometimes have to give the paper a helpful nudge when the wheels are trying to feed it in.

This just means that the printing process is a little more hands-on and would potentially be annoying at a different scale. If I was having to do this for hundreds of cards at a time, it might be too tedious. At the size that my card business is at right now, it works just fine.


Well, that’s about everything I can think to share about this paper! I’m really happy with it and hope you like it too if you give it a try. It was hard to find and now that I know specifically the terms that I’m looking for, hopefully I can find more accessible comparable kinds of paper too.

Let me know what you think if you try it out!

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Hey there!

I'm Rebecca, a Nova Scotian writer, designer, and entrepreneur. This website is my personal blog and creative hub. I hope you find something cool and inspiring here!

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