watercolor paper?

this may be crazy, but i was browsing the art supply section at hobby lobby and noticed a wide variety of paper for watercolor painting. it comes in pads or packages of loose sheets, and is very similar (in appearance) to papers like lettra or other thick cotton papers. some of it was crazy thick, too. anyone tried printing on this stuff? if it’s suitable, i sure would like the price of buying 50 or 75 sheets rather than a case of lettra for my small projects. is this a bad idea?


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I don’t know if studio paper like that has sizing. Sizing keeps the ink on the paper not into and spread in the fibers of the paper. Most commercial papers have sizing. Lettra does not. What does that mean? Well, the ink holdout is not very good. The ink can bleed on occasion because the fibers in the paper haven’t been sealed. If you took a loupe to a printed sheet of Crane the character is not as crisp as some other sheets. I like Mohawk, Strathmore, Fox River, French and many others. I would hope Crane would some day put sizing into there sheet.

May be worth a try but I would buy a limited amount to try first.


I had this same curiosity last time I printed. I was prining with Crane Lettra and snuck in a few sheets of Strathmore Watercolor paper.

It did not work. The watercolor paper has a much stiffer and harder character. As a result, when it went through the press, it did not have as much “give” so portions of the paper did not get the proper pressure against the plate. I attributed this to the stiffness of the paper.

I think watercolor paper has different properties causing it to be more stiff and durable or have a harder surface. When watercolors are applied in layers, the paper has to hold up against “pilling”.

Casey is right, watercolor paper has a good deal of sizing (starch or gelatin) both in the paper and on the surface. It prints quite well if properly dampened, but the sizing does not accept the ink well when dry and as SWDH has said, if not dampened, it is very hard surfaced. Most watercolor paper has a very pronounced texture as well.

Give it a try, but dampen it before printing.

I just ran a job for the first time on Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper and I thought the results were fantastic. I admit I like Lettra better, but Strathmore did a pretty good job. I am going to continue to experiment with that paper because I can buy it relatively cheap at Michaels using my 40% coupon! ;)

You can look at the process/photos on my facebook page

I’ll have to try the Strathmore 400, your printed pieces look great aheser.


nice, thanks for the input everyone. it looks like it’s definitely worth experimenting with. i will give the strathmore 400 a shot for starters. thanks!