Printer papers appropriate for fountain pens have a poundage of 20 to 24 or more. Specific brands such as HP or Dotmar’s Microprint Laser printer papers exist. But these papers aren’t available everywhere.
The point is finding a smooth, fine surface with a decent thickness, and this will prevent all those undesirable things that can happen when using fountain pens on the wrong kind of paper: feathering, bleeding, blotching, and splattering.
- Can You Use Any Printer Paper for Fountain Pens?
- What to Look for in a Printer Paper with a Fountain Pen?
Can You Use Any Printer Paper for Fountain Pens?
In general, printer papers are unsuitable for fountain pens, and their design is specifically for inks produced by a printer connected to the computer. Therefore, it doesn’t have to be perfect or smooth enough to let the ink transfer.
Fountain pen inks tend to be runny and watery, and they aren’t nearly as vicious as printer ink. They’ll bleed through the paper with feathering, splattering, and blotching. This can stain surfaces underneath the paper and give an awful appearance to the strokes made with the fountain pen.
What to Look for in a Printer Paper with a Fountain Pen?
So, while the average run-of-the-mill types of printer paper aren’t appropriate for a fountain pen, a few out there work like a dream. You want to look for printer paper that doesn’t bleed through. Sometimes, printer papers work just as well, if not better, than opulent papers intended for fountain pens. Plus, printer papers are infinitely less expensive.
All papers come in particular poundage. This indicates how thick the paper is and gives you a good idea of whether the paper can handle the ink wetness for which fountain pens are notorious. Therefore, look for paper with a poundage of 24 or higher. This is usually expressed with a pound sign or abbreviation (# or lbs). It will appear as #24 or 24 lbs
Remember that the paper can be rough once you get to poundage beyond 45. This will make it challenging to write on with a fountain pen. Plus, even if the surface is as smooth as silk, it will absorb a lot of ink.
Ergo, you want to stay in a range of more than 24 pounds but less than 45. It might also be a good idea to experiment with printer papers you can find in a brick-and-mortar store. Search for a better deal online when you have a paper you love.
Which Printer Papers Are Best for Fountain Pens?
To begin tinkering around with printer papers ideal for fountain pens, you can try four. Many pen enthusiasts seem to love these and attest to their beauty. By all accounts, they can handle the nib of fountain pens while producing beautiful results as the ink glides onto the paper.
Microprint Laser Paper by Dotmar
Dotmar’s Microprint Laser printer paper #51350 is a 24 lb paper many fountain pen enthusiasts love. It’s smooth, absorbs the right amount of ink, and never feathers. It’s excellent for testing new fountain pens, where you’re unsure how it feels.
The colors and lines appear clean and precise without ghosting. The paper has a nice thickness without being weighty. But it’s not very readily available, and you do have to hunt around online for it. Staples does carry it, but you won’t find it at every location.
Step Forward Printer Paper by Staples
Staples offers a 21 lb printer paper called “Step Forward,” and fountain pens take well to their smooth surface. It has decent absorption for inks, and it’s pretty silky and has a medium sheen once the ink dries. However, feathering does occur, so the lines aren’t crisp or clear.
But, it does give a desirable writing surface. It’s inexpensive, and you can find it at almost any Staples brick-and-mortar store. The paper is lightweight enough but also at a desirable thickness to handle narrow nibs or large ones.
HP LaserJet Papers
Two other types you should test out are HP’s 28 lbs or 32 lbs Premium Laser Jet Papers. Either is excellent for fountain pens. What’s great is that these are both relatively easy to find and readily available at many big box stores and supermarkets. This means these papers won’t cost very much either.
The 32-pound type doesn’t bleed and provides for a faster ink-drying time. The ink doesn’t feather, and there’s no ghosting, and there’s a little bit of sheen when the ink does dry. It’s smooth, has superb strokes, and provides crisp, clean lines with good color saturation.
The HP LaserJet Paper with 28 pounds makes a great alternative if you don’t like the 32 lb one. But, the 28 lb does soften writing with some feathering. It’s not bad, but it may be ideal for using more narrow and fine-pointed nibs. It has lots of ghosting and bleeding for medium to large-sized nibs.
Which Other Paper Brands Are Ideal for Fountain Pens?
Any paper featuring a poundage between 24 and 45 will be most ideal. That said, fountain pen papers are the best to use because manufacturers create them with fountain pens in mind. But, it’s good to know which ones they are, and this allows you to compare how they function concerning the printer’s paper.
- Tomoe River: This Japanese paper is famous for its superior silky, smooth texture with excellent ink resistance. What makes this great is its ability to be thin yet incredibly durable. No feathering or bleeding but can crinkle under rough pressure.
- Rhodia: A well-known paper for its smoothness and ability to resist ink. There’s minimal bleeding and no feathering that occurs. But, the ink does take some time to dry.
- Clairefontaine: This is made by the same company that produces Rhodia, but the paper quality is slightly more superb. No feathering or bleed-through and it can handle a little roughness.