Specialty papers
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Inkjet vinyl paper, vellum paper, decal paper: 15 specialty inkjet papers

Updated: 2021-06-06

The inkjet printer has become the most popular household printer type many years ago. Unlike laser printers, which use heat to fuse powdered ink (toner) to a surface like paper, inkjet printers spray a fine pattern of liquid ink over the surface. As long as the material is able to absorb and hold an inked image without bleeding or spreading, an inkjet printer can print on almost anything.

Paper specially designed to work with inkjet printers is known as the inkjet paper. It differs from ordinary paper in a number of ways, including its weight, brightness, texture, and opacity. It is recommended that you use an inkjet paper weight between 21 lbs and 27 lbs for basic inkjet office use. It will be best used for printing text. However, the amount of ink required to print a photo can stain, swell and buckle these lightweight papers. Photo paper is very heavy and opaque to the point in which it is even possible to print on both sides without any bleedthrough of the image.

This is why your inkjet printer is set up so that it can handle different types of paper or materials when printing (you can find this information under “properties” or “configuration” in your printer manual). If the inkjet paper you use is lighter-weight, the printer will spray less ink, and to compensate, it will adjust the colors to match the opacity or transparency of the paper.

There are lots of different kinds of paper that you can use with your inkjet printer. Yes, you can print on standard white office paper, however, maybe it’s time to try something else! These are just a few of the options available for your inkjet printer:

Photographic paper

Generally speaking, photographic prints can be achieved with thicker inkjet papers, with a glossy finish that tends to make photo colors more vibrant. Any weight of paper can be used for photo printing, as long as it has high opacity. The best prints come from thicker paper. Gloss or matte coatings give photo papers a unique appearance. Gloss papers are glossy and highly reflective, but do not allow the ink to be smeared during printing. Matte papers come in two types: flat and low-gloss and semi-gloss and luster papers that bridge the gap between the two.

Textured inkjet paper

There are many new inkjet papers that come with a textured paper finish, such as linen weave or canvas, that will give the finished prints a unique character.

Vellum paper for inkjets

I would like to share with you some information about the material – Vellum.

It is a soft, translucent, white paper which has the capacity to mimic the characteristics of animal skin parchment.

Vellum is one of the most important tools for card artist as they enable them to layer and achieve light effects. It is important to consider the quality of the light that will shine through your image when printing on Vellum.

When the image you are printing is meant to transmit light, you can configure your printer to print on “transparency” paper, which will deposit more ink on the inkjet paper and adjust the colors so that they will be more vivid in comparison to a light source.

Metallic inkjet papers

Metallic papers are another special type of paper that can be printed on with inkjet printing. They are generally low-gloss, and come in colors such as gold, silver, and copper. Some of them have self-adhesive backing.

Magnetic paper for standard inkjet printers

The paper-like, lightweight high-grade magnetic material can be used for cool refrigerator magnets, magnetic advertising cards, magnetic systems, and personalized calendars.

Specialty size inkjet papers

In the USA and Europe, 8 1/2″ X 11″ or A4 rectangle papers are the most common inkjet paper sizes, but there are many other sizes available as well. You can print directly on greeting cards and envelopes of all sizes. There is a selection of business cards which are pre-scored or perforated, as well as name stickers, tags, and other shapes.

Waterproof inkjet paper for outdoor Use

In order to be able to use the sheets outside, you should consider vinyl-coated inkjet sheets that are also water-resistant.

Fabric sheets for inkjet printers

A crafter from the past had to use the same method with the image he or she was trying to transfer to fabric – printing the image on a heat-transfer base and ironing it onto the fabric. With today’s technology, you can buy pre-printed fabric sheets and print directly on them with your inkjet printer.

After printing, the inkjet paper backing is removed. There are a variety of light fabrics that are suitably light – such as weight cotton, linen or silk. The fabric is generally white in color. If your inkjet printer does not print white ink, the white parts of your image will appear as the color of your fabric. Also, you should be aware that special photo inks in your printer will not produce as vibrant a print on fabric as standard inks.

Iron-on. Fusible fabric sheets

You can print your image onto fabric sheets to get a custom applique effect. Then trim and iron your printed image onto apparel, fabric crafts, scrapbooks, and other flat surfaces for a seamless, patterned appearance.

Transparent inkjet sheets

On flat standard transparency sheets (such as overhead projector sheets), the high ink smear rate on a non-absorbent surface makes it necessary to use the inkjet method to print. A color transparency sheet is now available with a finely textured surface that helps hold the ink onto the inkjet paper, and prevents smudging or smearing. Be sure to adjust any printer settings to reflect the transparency.

Various types of paper to transfer images to other surfaces

Decal papers

The water slide decals are a type of image printed onto a transparent film, which is then removed from the paper and adhered to a smooth surface with water. This is very helpful if you have uneven or natural surfaces, as well as pottery, ceramics, and glass.

Peel-and-stick adhesive paper

You can print directly on peel-and-stick sheets, trim your images and apply directly onto the sheets. You can also use self-adhesive fabric sheets for making fabric stickers. I am sure there are plenty of crafters and scrapbookers who will love this glossy sticker paper.

Rub-on transfers

Rub-on transfers produce image on a transparent film that can be applied to a surface. This is similar to the application of decals.

Temporary tattoos. Waterslide decal paper for inkjets

If you want to personalize your body for every occasion you can actually buy a custom made water slide decal “tattoo paper” that you will be able to print onto with your inkjet printer.

Heat transfer paper

Images can be transferred from transfer paper to another surface, such as fabric with a bit of heat and pressure, which is done with an iron. This is how iron-on transfers are referred to.

It is important to print the image in reverse (mirror image) to ensure the image is transferred correctly. The end result is a stiff or rubbery film on the surface of the fabric and the colors are typically crisp and intense.

These were several new printables that are now available for you to use on your inkjet printer. You can find the majority of them at your local stationery store, craft store, quilting store, or online from craft suppliers or manufacturers.

Make sure to experiment next time you are working on a craft or scrapbook project. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that your inkjet printer and your imagination can be the best friends.

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