What kind of paper should I print on?
April 14, 2018 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I've gone to restaurants that clearly don't change their menus often and their menus were printed on extremely heavy, supple paper. Not laminated in any way, but so flexible that it resisted creases or even tears. I have no idea what this paper is, but I'd like to print on it. Ideally A4 size but normal 8.5x11 will work in a pinch. Could you suggest a place to find this sort of paper and (better yet) a service online that I can use to print with it?
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You might be looking for something like Xerox Never tear.
posted by Ms. Next at 12:44 AM on April 15, 2018

Could also be Teslin, Yupo, or a type of stone paper (there’s a few) if there’s no visible fibres. If there’s fibres visible, then it’s most likely Tyvek.
We print on them using digital offset, but there’s inkjet and laser coated versions as well. Except for Tyvek. Oh my goodness gracious me, never run Tyvek through a laser printer.
posted by antipodes at 5:32 AM on April 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Go to a printer or two and ask them what paper they recommend. It's worth checking if having it printed by them would be cheaper than doing it in house. they should be happy to demonstrate what types of paper they would use and let you examine a sheet of each kind to compare weights and finish. And if it's not cost effective to bring your print job to the printer, you will have taken notes about the paper along with the pricing info, so you know what you want when you go to order the paper for yourself.

It's worth noting that the printer might be able to get a better deal on certain sorts of paper than you can, because they buy in a higher volume than you will, so not impossible that it would be cheaper if they do it. This is especially true if you will need to purchase less than a case of the paper.

Never tear is a fantastic paper.(It's actually plastic) The print shop where I worked would give you a sheet and invite you to try and tear it. It is, of course, much more expensive than your standard 20lb printer paper. so we sold very little of it. The only recurring job we had for it was a truck mechanic who used it to tag things under the hood and in the undercarriage and it happily survived oil, road dirt, grease, rust and weather. This puts it as the choice for uses more durable than menus which only have to survive French fry grease and fingering. But never tear is so expensive that we used to buy it by the ream, instead of the case. For most of our customers getting a heavyweight paper laminated after it was printed was much more cost effective.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:27 AM on April 15, 2018

Oh my goodness gracious me, never run Tyvek through a laser printer.

QFFT. Just one sheet is enough to kill a printer. You'd be as well laserprinting with cheese slices.

DuraBook is another option. I think it's similar to Never Tear. I found that it's staticky, though: check out a copy of McDonough's Cradle to Cradle (the first big-name book to use DuraBook) from the local library, and you'll be able to tell the colour of every cat in every household it's been read in …
posted by scruss at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2018

I've used "rite in the rain" paper, which is waterproof and tear-resistant (sounds very similar to Never Tear). It's great stuff, but it definitely creases. I've gotten it from Amazon, and it is expensive in small quantities—about 50¢/sheet.
posted by adamrice at 8:03 AM on April 15, 2018

Nobody would mistake Tyvek for anything like normal paper imo. It’s waxy and eerily tear-proof, it stands out, and it would be a very odd choice for menus. I wouldn’t call it ‘supple’ either. Same for the Xerox never tear- these are high tech plastics paper products.

I’m thinking classic heavy weight high cotton paper/cardstock is more likely for nice restaurants, and it is resistant to creasing and tearing while still being ‘normal’ paper without polymers that will feel weird.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:50 PM on April 15, 2018

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