Textured papers are an exciting way to bring interest to a scrapbook, or they can make for distinctive wedding, graduation or party invitations. A journal can reveal the writer’s personal style with backgrounds or borders made with fancy papers of different textures and colors. Variations in paper can include homemade papers, rice paper, papyrus, or even real vellum made from animal skins. Printing by computer on these papers, however, can be troublesome.
When printing on textured paper with a laser or ink jet printer, you can’t expect the result to be as clean and clear as with smooth paper. It used to be that you could get clear text on rough paper with a printing press, because the inked surface of the press actually touched and pressed the paper. But with electronic printing the ink or toner is sprayed on in minute amounts. If the surface is extremely rough and covered in deep recesses, the ink may not reach parts of it and there will be gaps in the text. This will make small text illegible, and even large text will not be sharp. Sometimes this can be an interesting effect, if that's what you want. In general, ink jet printers are thought to be more effective than laser printers, since ink adheres more readily to a rough surface.
Most printer manufacturers will tell you not to use paper other than that meant for their printer. Sometimes they say that because the print quality will be poor, and sometimes because the paper will damage the printer. Take caution in using alternative papers in your printer. Some textured papers are available for use in ink jet printers.
Remember that regardless of your printer or your paper, printing on paper not meant for electronic printing will produce an image that might be fuzzy, off-color, faded or even incomplete. Sometimes these factors can be used to good artistic effect, but only experimentation will show what your particular printer will do. Experiment with the “Quality” setting on your printer. Setting it to “Draft” might enhance the worn, rustic look of your printing, while a “best” setting might clean up an image enough to print smaller text.
It is not recommended you print resumes on colored or textured paper because it makes them less legible and harder to photocopy, scan, fax and file.
Julianne Ross has been writing since 1994. First as a journalist for the Hendersonville Star News, and "Starlog Magazine" writing actor interviews. She sold her first novel in 1999, and since then has written and sold the rights to more than a dozen historicals and historical fantasies. She holds an Associate of Arts in theatre art.