Print Like a Pro: How to Get the Best Results on Specialty Paper

Does this sound familiar? You feed your beautiful specialty paper into your printer, hit CTRL+P, and wait with bated breath as your project slowly emerges, only to discover that the words are illegible and there are weird marks all over your paper? Talk about frustrating.

Printing on specialty paper is different than printing on standard white bond paper. If the paper you’re printing on isn’t ideal for your printer, or you haven’t handled your specialty paper properly before printing, your print job might not turn out as beautifully as you expected.

Paper Choice and Print Quality

The key to a perfect print job is to understand your project and your printer and to find the ideal paper for both.

The Paper Mill Store sells papers that are designed for most major printing methods, including offset and digital printing, as well as laser and ink-jet printers. Not every paper is suited for every printing process, so it’s important that you do your research and choose the right paper to ensure a clean, successful print job.

Printing & Handling Tips

PrinterOnce you’ve chosen the perfect paper for your project, make sure you’re handling it properly. We’ve worked with paper mills and printers to assemble downloadable printing and handling tips for our most popular specialty papers and envelopes, but there are a few universal tips you can employ, no matter what your print job is:

  1. Always do a print test. A print test will tell you right away whether your printer and paper are well matched, or if you need to adjust any settings to perfect your print job.
  2. Keep specialty paper wrapped in its packaging until the moment of printing. This will protect it from dirt or other markings like fingerprints or water damage.
  3. Let the paper acclimatize to the conditions of the room for at least 24 hours before you open the package, and even longer in colder weather. This allows the paper to adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity level without damage.

For paper-specific printing and handling tips, take a look at our list of downloadable guides.

Printing on our Most Popular Papers

Metallic paper, ultra-lightweight onion skin paper, the classic smooth finish, and super bright colors are always popular choices for both graphic designers and paper crafters. Here are some tips for printing and handling these specialty papers:

ASPIRE Petallics Paper

ASPIRE Petallics papers provide a shimmery backdrop for your designs and paper crafts.

Ideal Uses: Petallics papers are suited for almost any use, from business cards to greeting cards. Check out our post on using metallic paper for more ideas on how to use ASPIRE Petallics.

Printing Methods: ASPIRE Petallics papers are compatible with both digital and offset printing.

Special Notes: Petallics paper has a totally non-absorbent surface, which means any printed ink will sit on top. Be sure to use ink that dries by oxidation and which is 100% VOC free.

Here are some of our most popular ASPIRE Petallics papers:

Download printing and handling tips for ASPIRE Petallics.

Onion Skin Paper

Onion skin paper is very different from regular paper. It’s very lightweight and thin, but because of its fiber formation and content, it’s very strong. It’s also translucent.

Ideal Uses: Because of its light weight and translucency, onion skin paper is ideal for calligraphy, tracing, and a variety of paper crafting uses.

Printing Methods: You can print on onion skin paper just like you’d print on any conventional uncoated paper. Because it has such a low basis weight, be sure to do a print test to make sure your offset printing press can handle the paper.

Special Notes: Onion skin paper may not work with all printers because of its light basis weight.

Shop for onion skin paper.

Download printing and handling tips for onion skin paper.


CLASSIC CREST by Neenah Papers is available in a variety of basis weights for any usage. And because CLASSIC CREST papers are all FSC certified and made with 100% renewable energy, you can feel confident that you’re using a paper that’s both beautiful and sustainable.

Ideal Uses: CLASSIC CREST is ideal for almost any use, from branding and identity packages to office stationery and personal correspondence. It’s available in a number of colors, and can be used for a variety of crafting and design techniques like Letterpress, foil stamping, engraving, embossing, and die cutting.

Printing Methods: CLASSIC CREST papers are print performance guaranteed, and are compatible with offset, laser, and ink-jet printing. You can treat CLASSIC CREST papers like any conventional uncoated paper for offset printing, but if you’re following your lithography with xerographic or laser printing, use a heat-resistant, wax-free ink.

Take a look at some of our favorite CLASSIC CREST papers:

Download printing and handling tips for CLASSIC CREST papers.

Astrobrights Paper

When you really want to catch someone’s eye, Astrobrights paper are just what you need. Astrobrights papers are available in more than 25 vivid colors, as well as in multiple basis weights.

Ideal Uses: Astrobrights papers are ideal for posters, fliers, announcements, and a variety of paper crafts. If you need to catch someone’s attention, Astrobrights is the paper for you.

Printing Methods: Astrobrights papers are laser and inkjet guaranteed on 60 and 70 lb. text weight papers and 65 lb. cover weight papers, subject to printer restrictions. They are also laser, inkjet, and copier guaranteed, and you can use them like any conventional uncoated paper for offset printing.

Special Notes: Astrobrights papers contain water soluble dyes, so do not use them where moisture or light may cause bleeding or fading of the dye.

Here are some of our most popular Astrobrights papers:

Download printing and handling tips for Astrobrights papers.

Print Away!

Never worry about an imperfect print job again! Before you hit CTRL+P, take a moment to review your specialty paper’s printing and handling instructions. Treat your paper right and it will reward you with a beautiful printed product.

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