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The Paper Library

~Paper Terms & Definitions~

This section is G through M

All the terms listed here are in some way related to paper or paper products. The definitions are kept simple and easy to understand. Pictures and links to various examples are used in many of the terms. In order to get back to this page you should be able to use your "Back" button. This page is being updated all the time as we discover more words that need defining.

For an in-depth knowledge of any words and topics given here it is best to visit your local library and look under Industrial Paper Manufacturing and Paper Making.

All terms are listed alphabetically

This section is G through M






Glossy- Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here

Grain Direction- Mass produced papers at our US paper mills have a grain to them. This does not necessarily include specialty papers such as Origami or other specialty papers.

You can determine the grain of a piece of paper by tearing it. If you are tearing WITH the grain then the paper tends to tear fairly straight. If the paper tears crookedly then you are tearing ACROSS the grain. You can do this with a newspaper as an experiment.

Grain direction is important if you plan to run paper through a printing press. You can run cross-grain paper through a press but it can get caught up and you will undoubtedly lose sheets when this happens.

It is also important when you make cards or other crafts projects as paper that is cut across the grain can tend to warp and bow a bit. If you make a large card from an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet a paper that is cross-grained you may find that the card starts to warp inwards over time.

When you are buying paper in the 8 1/2 x 11 size you want the grain to run the long direction (top to bottom).


Grain Long - Term used to designate that the grain of the paper is parallel to the longest measurement of a sheet of paper. The fibers are aligned parallel to the length of the sheet.


Grain Short - Opposite of grain long. Grain of the paper runs at the right angles to the longest dimension of the sheet. Fiber alignment in grain short paper parallels the sheet’s shortest dimension.

Hand Block Printing-
Wooden or metal blocks of different shapes and sizes are used in this artform. A pattern is etched or carved on the block with your design. The block is then inked and pressed onto paper. Designs with more than one color require a separate block for each color/pattern. Usually a brayer is used to ink the block and a press is used to achieve the correct pressure on the paper.


Heat Embossing/Thermography- Heat embossing is done with embossing powder and a heat tool. The powder becomes liquid when heated and then quickly dries hard when it cools. The end result of heat embossing is a raised surface on the paper. This process is actually called "thermography" in the printing world.

Heat Tool- This is a tool that is used to heat up embossing powder to a temperature where it become liquid and smooth. There are many brands out there. One of the very best is actually a paint stripper that is used by the crafts industry for embossing.

Milwakee Heat Tool

Humidity- Keep your papers and envelopes cool and dry. Paper does not like moisture and it tends to curl and ripple in the heat. The adhesive gum on envelopes can moisten and stick if it is exposed to moisture and heat. The idea temperature is 75% (or preferrably less) and DRY. You would not want your papers to be exposed to excessive heats of 90% or more for too long. If you live in a high humidity area be aware of where and how you store your papers!

King James Glossy- A brand of "cast coated" glossy paper. It is a very high quality paper that comes in a variety of thicknesses. One of the nice features that this brand offers is that the one side is glossy and the other side is a true matte coated paper. It is like getting two for one!

If you do not know what Cast Coated or Matte Finish is then visit our Paper Finishes section of The Paper Library.

Kromecoat Glossy- This is another brand of "cast coated" glossy paper. It has a nice high gloss finish and it is a good quality paper and works quite well for regular stamping and general crafts. The one nice thing about this brand od glossy paper is that the mill does make it glossy on two sides (in addition to the standard one sided glossy).

If you do not know what cast-coated is then check out the "Cast-Coat" definition above for an important link.

Laid Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here

lbs or Pounds- This is one way of expressing the thickness of a paper. There are lots of other ways too (unfortunately). It can be confusing but once you have worked with paper for a bit you just kind of get used to it.

When you hear that a paper is 65lb then you are talking about a coverstock (a little on the thin side but not quite "flimsy"). When you hear that a paper is 80lb cover then it is a nice standard thick sheet of paper. Anything under 65 is going to be flimsy and not great for cardmaking.

If you have paper that is 100lb or more then you are looking as some very thick cover stocks. Many duplex papers are in this range as they are actually two sheets of paper that have been laminated into one.

(Want an in depth description? Send us an e-mail at


Lignin - The "glue" that binds the cells of the tree and creates its structure. This product is removed in the kraft process. Approximately one third of the tree is lignin.

Lignin Free- Many people who are into creating fine artwork or memory books are careful to avoid paper that contains Lignin. This material can cause paper to alter over time and become unstable.

Many paper mills are creating paper lines that offer lignin free papers.

For gereral crafts and cards that are for fun and do not have to last over the centuries then using "lignin free" papers is truly not necessary.

Linen Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here

Marbling- There are all different kinds of marbling and as many different ways to do it!

A very basic description- To achieve the effect of marbling the paper maker will take pigments and swirl them into random or semi controlled patterns on the surface of water or other agent. When a sheet of paper is placed flat on top of the swirled pigment the paper "picks" up the pigment. The paper is then quickly removed and dried.

Sometimes a pattern is so lovely a printer will decide to mass reproduce it using a printing press or silk screen. You have undoubtedly seen this on fancy notebook covers or on gift boxes etc.

Matte Finish-
Full definition and sample in another section of The Paper Library: Click Here

Measurements- (see rulers)

Moisture- Deadly stuff to paper! If your paper is exposed to moisture it can tend to ripple and curl. Paper likes a nice cool and dry storage place.

Mulberry Paper- This term is given to a wide range of actual handmade and "handmade" papers. "Handmade" meaning that is has the rough look of actual handmade paper but it is in fact mass produced by machine.

Many mulberry papers are made from Kozo and other similar fibers. Some in fact do contain mulberry bark and/or fibers.

It is easy to recognize Mulberry papers as they generally have distinct fibers running through the papers. There are some mulberry papers that have finer fibersthat are not as noticable but a large majority have the easy to recognize large fibers.

It is very pretty stuff and can be used in all sorts of crafts applications.

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