Papers for carbon printing

Fine art paper is my favorite surface for carbon printing. It has a subtle quality that other papers, like fixed out photo paper, simply cannot match. However,  printing on hand coated papers introduces a level effort and difficulty that can be discouraging. It's maddening to put the effort into preparing and sizing paper only to find out that the paper won't print well. 

Like my post on methods for hardening gelatin sized paper, this post is a running record of papers I'ver used for carbon printing and how well they have worked for me. I'll also include some reports from others. I'm omitting fixed out photo paper from this list since that's an entirely different animal. If you have an experience, with a particular paper you would like to share, drop me a line.

Arches Auqarelle

This paper was one of my favorite for Kallitypes. It has a nice smooth finish and great wet strength, but, despite being tub sized with gelatin, the sizing seems consistently inconsistent. Spots can been seen when the paper is wet and, although these spots disappear when the paper dries, these areas can often shot up lighter in the final print and ruin it. I think this problem is mitigated if you heavily size the paper with 7% gelatin or greater. However, with thinner sizing you run the risk of an inconsistent printing surface.

Arches Platine

Like Fabriano Artistico I've had great results with this Platine. It's originally designed for platinum printing, and is expensive. However, I've tried it for it's quality and the fact that it is supposed to have internal sizing that will help it dry flat even after multiple washes. This paper is smooth, strong, has consistent sizing, and seems to dry relatively flat even with heavy sizing. While not as heavy as the Fabriano it has good a good weight and feel.

Fabriano Artistico

I've had great results with this paper. I am hard pressed to tell you the specific type, but what i have used is the 100% cotton variety in natural and bright white. I believe this is different than the F5 variety which is only 50% cotton. This paper is smooth, strong, has consistent sizing, and seems to dry relatively flat even with heavy sizing.

Magnani Pescia

I had high hopes for this paper. It's 100% cotton and smooth hot pressed. It's also has a heavy weight and a feel of quality at an economical price. 

Unfortunately, after the rigors of sizing and carbon development, it delaminates and peels into layers - particularly at the corners. it also had a nasty tendency to get creases easily when bent. This problem seemed to be a symptom of the first. The paper seems to be pressed in layers instead of moulded. When the layers start to come apart, the paper can buckle and crease. It's probably great for some uses, but I won't be sing it for carbon again.

Stonehenge

I just recently tried Stonehenge again and realized why I stopped using it in the first place. The wet strength is terrible. If you can get it sized and hardened without tearing it, the gelatin will give it more strength, but it's risky and just not worth the bargain price.

Adox Baryita

You can print on it right out of the package. No sizing required and no need to fix out like silver gelatin. However, I wasn't wild about the finish. It yielded what I thought was a rather boring finish. Kind of dull and flat.

For me, Arches Aquarelle had been a trustworthy paper with great wet strength, but here, in a wet print, you can see evidence of inconsistent sizing that can cause light spots in the final print.

For me, Arches Aquarelle had been a trustworthy paper with great wet strength, but here, in a wet print, you can see evidence of inconsistent sizing that can cause light spots in the final print.