How To Choose A Paper For Giclée Art Prints

August 18, 2021

As artists, we understand the role media plays in our creative expression. Printing is no different! We have an expansive selection of printing papers at Opus Print Space and Opus Art Supplies, but how do you know which to choose? There are a few terms and specifications to choose from to enhance your art reproductions, whether it’s a landscape of the Rocky Mountains or a classical portrait. No matter, if you are reproducing artwork or photographs for gifts, home, or for sale, you’ll get impactful, quality, and long-lasting archival results with Opus’ Fine Art Printing Service and the amazing brands of fine art papers we carry by trusted brands including Canson Infinity, Moab, Hahnemühle and our Opus house brand.

Giclée Art Prints

Giclée prints are high resolution, perfect for reproducing the wide spectrum of colour used in illustrations, paintings, photography, and more. Together with our top of the line commercial Epson printers and UltraChrome ink, we can produce these impactful giclée prints on paper (and canvas too)! Our prints are long lasting and archival with the highest colour gamut compared to any other pigment inks. (Read Article: What is Giclée)

How to recognize a good fine art printing paper?

A good fine art paper has several qualities that assure it will be archival, colour accurate, enhance your artwork, and work with your frame or display. For example:

  • The Material (Cotton, Bamboo, Wood Cellulose etc.)
  • Weight (typically 190gsm to 350gsm)
  • Coating (Gloss, Matte, Lustre)
  • Acid Free (pH of 7.0 or greater)
  • Texture (Smooth, Textured, Textured+)
  • Colour (Soft White, Natural White, Warm White, Bright White)

Paper Content

When choosing a fine art paper for giclée printing, be on the look out for cotton/rag fibre and wood cellulose (some are a mix of the two!). 100% Cotton paper is typically more expensive due to their archive ratings of 100+ years without fading or fibre degradation. For example, the award-winning Moab Entrada Rag Natural is 100% cotton and has superb ink handling and archival qualities. There are also bamboo papers like the Hahnemühle Bamboo Matte Fine Art Smooth paper, these are are typically mixed with cotton and meet archival standards. Plus, bamboo is a more sustainable resource as it grows back much faster. 

Opus Cold Press Watercolour Paper
Opus Cold Press Watercolour Paper
Canson Infinity® Baryta Prestige Gloss
Canson Infinity® Baryta Prestige Gloss

In addition to the paper’s fibre content, there is typically a coating finish – like an inkjet coating or resin coating – that assure the colour will look its best and resist fading. Finally, you’ll want to ensure your paper is acid-free with a pH of above 7, as acid will affect the ink causing fading and discolouration. Not to worry, all of the papers we offer through Opus Fine Art Printing service are acid-free.

Paper Weight

The weight of the paper can effect the results  as well – typically a heavier paper is preferred to increase durability and prevent curling. Paper weight is measured in gsm, grams per square meter. Many artists like to choose a paper 290gsm or heavier; the 300gsm Moab Lasal Photo Lustre, 340gsm Canson Infinity® Baryta Prestige Gloss paper or 350gsm Hahnemühle Museum Etching paper are great options for heavier weight prints that exude a quality feel in the hands. Although, we do offer lighter papers if durability is not a concern, like with some framed prints.

See and feel the papers! Visit an Opus store or Opus Print Space to experience our full paper selection!

Paper Surface

The surface type is one of the most important factors, it can effect the look of your artwork or photograph. Typically a textured surface like Opus Cold Press Watercolour Paper is preferred by artists for art prints. Although, smooth papers like Moab’s Lasal Photo Gloss or Opus Matte Photo Paper are favoured by photographers and printmakers for their sharpness and range of matte, gloss, and lustre options. 


We Recommend

Many artists look for our recommendation, and it depends on the artwork and budget, although a few great options we always come back to are:

Paper Finish Weight Whiteness Acid-Free Sheet Size Texture Great For
Opus Cold Press Watercolour Paper Matte 300gsm Soft White Acid-Free Up to 42” Textured+ Artworks like Paintings & Mixed Media
Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White Matte 310gsm Bright White Acid-Free 8.5”x11”
Smooth Photographs, Fine Art, Greeting Cards, and more
Canson Infinity Baryta Prestige Gloss Gloss 270gsm Bright White Acid-Free 8.5×11”
Smooth Great for Photography and Black & White Images
MOAB Entrada Rag Bright Matte 310gsm Bright White Acid-Free 8.5″ x 11″ & 13″ x 19″ Textured Artworks like Paintings & Mixed Media

If you have questions about our paper selection and which ones would give you the result you’re looking for in your fine art printing, visit your local Opus Art Supplies or Opus Print Space. We’re happy to help!