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Determining the Printable Side of Cotton Rags

16th September 2015 Papers & Presentation


The golden rule of inkjet papers is to always leave your paper in the box it came in (and, preferably, wrapped in the plastic it came in, too).

Face up is always the printable side (i.e. the side coated with an ink receptive coating that allows the paper to absorb more ink and thus express more & deeper colour).

If you have already broken the golden rule, then determining the printable side can be a little tricky. Here are some tips.

On single sided papers, one side of the paper has the raw fibres, and the other side is slightly smoother with a coating over the top of the fibres. It can be quite easy to see, for some people, but if you are having trouble determining the difference, here are some other ways to work it out:

  • Lay a sheet on a flat surface.  Look at which way the paper is curling up at the edges. Generally, coated papers will curl slightly upwards toward the coated side.
  • Try doing the 'tacky test'. With a moist finger, touch both sides of the paper. The coated side should be noticeably stickier.  
  • Do a print. Use the same image and print it on both sides of the paper. The unprintable side will show visible ink bleed and lower saturation/density.
    Keep this test and you can use it as a reference for the rest of the box.