Paper Printing Guide

Paper Printing Guide

Read Time: 6 Minutes


06 Jun 2019

Updated: 01 Feb 2023

When it comes to online printing, with so much choice on offer, knowing which type of paper or stock to go for can be a little confusing. We’ve created a simple paper printing guide to cut through the jargon, showing you which options are available as well as how to print on special paper types.

We source all of our timber-derived products from FSC certified suppliers, ensuring our paper supply is as sustainable as possible.

Types of Paper

Here are all the types of paper types we offer for each piece of print.


115gsm Silk

115gsm silk printing paper

This ultra-thin silk-coated paper is most traditionally used for low-cost magazine and sales brochure printing to keep costs down. We recommend pairing it with a thicker cover for added protection!

150gsm Silk

150gsm silk printing stock

This lightweight paper is best for cheap flyer printing. The silk coating means it boasts a slight sheen and the thickness is similar to a takeaway menu. It’s ideal if you want to print your flyers and leaflets in bulk to deliver out to customers in your local area. 


170gsm silk printer paper

Slightly thicker than a cheap flyer, 170gsm silk is generally used for short-term poster printing. This stock still has a classic shiny finish associated with silk stocks, but due to its thinness, we recommend putting posters printed on this stock in frames to keep them in tip top condition.

250gsm Silk

250gsm silk paper stock

Slightly thicker, this paper is a great midweight option and has a similar thickness to a paperback book cover. It’s perfect for handouts to let people know about sales and promotions or even club nights.

350gsm Silk

350gsm silk paper

This card stock is a fantastic choice for premium flyer printing. Its thickness means you can create free-standing folded menus, and it’s traditionally also used for greetings cards. However, for premium brands, we recommend this stock for a wide range of marketing collateral including vouchers.

450gsm Silk

450gsm card stock for printing

Our thickest silk stock is a thick card used for a number of print items, including our iconic premium business cards. This sturdy card won’t easily bend or break, making it the best option for print you want your clients to keep for a long time.




thin uncoated 90gsm printer paper

This thin, uncoated stock closely resembles the paper you’d use in your home office printer. Because it hasn’t been coated in a silky finish, the paper is slightly rough to the touch and porous, meaning it’s highly absorbent and writable.


120gsm uncoated paper type

Slightly thicker, 120gsm uncoated stock offers less transparency than the 90gsm option. This gives it a more premium look and feel, which is why it’s often chosen for business letterheads and documents as well as CV printing.


160gsm thick uncoated printing stock

This paper thickness bridges the gap between paper and card, making it an excellent option for good quality flyers or even wedding and funeral orders of service where guests will keep the print as a keepsake of the ceremony.



350gsm Recycled

A thick, uncoated stock with a quality and ink absorbency that matches our classic uncoated range like for like. This slightly rough, writable paper is made from 100% recycled fibres and is ideal for a wide range of printed products, including flyers, business cards and greetings cards. 



225gsm Kraft

brown kraft printing paper

Create a rustic, hand-crafted impression with this natural brown paper stock, that has an unmistakably earthy texture that’s strong and tear-resistant. Due to its naturally dark shade, this stock looks best with dark blocky colours and shapes that will stand out against the background.

350gsm Gold Dust

Gold dust metallic printing stock

Add a subtle sparkle to your print with this shimmering stock. This option reflects pearlescent gold in the light, giving print designs a warm glow that enhances any colour palette. Great for special greetings cards and metallic business cards.

300gsm Accent Antique Magnolia

warm white magnolia printing stock

A warm-coloured, lightly textured card with a luxurious matt finish that oozes quality. This stock boasts a stunning pale cream colour that’s perfect for wedding stationery and greetings cards that stand out.

350gsm Conqueror Wove

conqueror wove textured paper stock

A thick stock with a lightly wove texture and bright white colour that’s uncoated for easy writing making it ideal for premium stationery and cards. It has a naturally matt finish giving your printed products a luxurious quality.

270gsm Colorplan Bright White Stucco

warm white textured printing paper

This heavily textured white stock features a unique bumpy hammer effect that adds an extra dimension to any print item. This is particularly striking when used as business and wedding stationery due to its impressive look and feel.


PVC Stocks

440gsm PVC

Ultra thick PVC stock with a durable and almost coarse texture. Ideal for long-term outdoor banners, this is a tear-resistant, water-resistant and fade-resistant option that won’t let you down!

500mic PVC/Latex Hybrid

This strong and sturdy material has a scuff-resistant finish which makes it a great option for print you’ll take to events time and time again, which is why we offer it on our exhibition stands.

220mic PVC

Thin 220mic PVC is great for permanent indoor posters as they’re easy to wipe down and they’ll last. This PVC stock option also works well for temporary outdoor posters but won’t last as long as our 400mic option.

400mic PVC

This poster stocked is designed to last. It’s ultra thick and feels slightly course to the touch. We recommend 400mic PVC for long-term outdoor posters.

200mic Waterproof PVC

200mic waterproof synthetic stock is a durable option that’s suitable for cleaning and reusing over and over again. A perfect option for restaurants looking to reduce their single-use menus and stay hygienic!


Signage Stocks

3mm Composite Aluminium

This stock consists of a polyethylene core, surrounded by aluminium sheet either side to give an ultra-durable, corrosion-resistant finish. Great for outdoor business signs and road signs, this material is made for long-term signage.

2000mic Cardboard

Printed on thick, 2000mic stock, cardboard signs make a fantastic, more durable alternative to paper posters. As they’re recyclable, they also make a great choice if you need to promote a one-time-only sale

3.5mm Correx by Corplex

This is a white, fluted plastic material. As well as being lightweight and weatherproof, correx signage is fully recyclable. It’s generally used on a short-term basis, for estate agent signs and safety messaging around building sites. You could also use them at sporting events like marathons as directional signs. 

3mm/5mm PVC Foam

A lightweight PVC foam board sheet that’s popular for banners, cut-outs and safety signs. Despite its name, this material is firm and rigid as opposed to soft. Its weight makes it easy to transport and install, plus you can cut it and punch holes in it.

0.85mm Magnetic Vinyl

This thin, flexible and weatherproof magnetic stock attaches easily to the side of your car, van or lorry. Simply peel away for a mess and fuss-free removal!



Our embellishments are available on the following products when you choose 350gsm or 450gsm stock and matt lamination:

  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Perfect bound booklets
  • Presentation folders
  • Folded leaflets
  • Greetings cards

Low Spot UV

flat spot uv effect on a black piece of paper

This is a more affordable embellishment option, whereby we add a standard single layer of spot gloss to specific areas of your design, meaning it’s nearly flat to the card. This is a great way of adding interest to your print even if you’re on a budget!

Raised Spot UV

raised spot uv embellishment on a piece of black paper

For this option, we’ll give your print a double shot of spot gloss, meaning the spot UV will be higher and more prominent. This is the more premium option (as well as being the most popular) as it’s highly noticeable.


silver foil circles on a black paper background

Foiling is a finishing technique where heat, pressure and glossy UV are used to bind a thin film of metal (foil) to paper or card. Foiling is generally used to create a memorable and high-quality finish and is popular for premium businesses’ print and wedding stationery. 

It’s applied to specific sections of a design rather than the whole design, meaning you can use it to highlight text or logos against a contrasting matt background.

Foil is available in the following colours:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Holographic




matt finish on print

This is a great no-shine finish that gives a subtle, smooth texture to your print. A very common finish that adds a professional and sophisticated finish to your print.


gloss finish on print

The opposite of matt, this is a high-shine laminate like that used on glossy magazine covers. This finish brightens colours and is highly reflective for an eye-catching finish.


soft velvet print finish

This is a luxurious matt finish with a soft, almost peach-fuzz like texture that is often used on novel covers. This finish deepens colours for a luxurious look and feel.

Antibacterial Gloss

glossy antibacterial finish

Antibacterial lamination is a plastic film that’s applied to your print using heat. It’s specially designed and tested to have surface protection qualities and has been found to eliminate 99% of bacteria. This type has a high-shine glossy finish.

Antibacterial Matt

matt antibacterial finish

If you want the benefits of an antibacterial finish without the glossy look, our matt coating is a great option!

We hope this extensive paper printing guide gives you a clear idea of what your prints will look and feel like. Need some more help deciding which stock is best for you? Get in touch with our team today through Live Chat, or order your free sample pack here.



About the Author

Hi! I’m Jennie, and I’m the eCommerce Manager at instantprint. I'm passionate about creating the best website experience for our customers.