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Funeral Program Paper and Printing

You've just completed your funeral program, and now it's time to print.  You have several options when it comes to choosing paper to print your funeral program.  Paper has several characteristics that you should understand before you select a paper.  Below are some of the main characteristics of paper explained.  For more information about funeral program printing and printers, see our article on Printing Funeral Programs

Weight or thickness

A paper's thickness is called its weight(stated in pounds).   The higher the weight, the thicker and more durable it is. Higher weight paper also allows less light to pass through (less "showthrough").  Here is a breakdown of some common paper weights:
    a.  20 pounds -- This is the weight of a standard sheet of copy/print paper.  This weight is good for everyday printing
    b.  22 - 24 pounds-- This weight is thicker and better for double-sided copies, and has less "showthrough"
    c.  28 - 32 pounds-- This is the heavier paper and will give the most professional look.  It has virtually no "show through".
    d.  40 - 100 pounds -- This is "card stock" thickness.

When choosing a paper thickness for funeral programs, you should select the highest weight that your printer and budget will allow.  Many people keep funeral programs as keepsakes and save them for many years.  You will want your program to be printed on paper that will be sturdy.  Also, thicker paper will help minimize ink bleeding though the paper, and for double-sided printing, there will be less showthrough on the other side.  A 28 pound paper is a good compromise...it's heavy enough to give a professional finish with virtually no showthrough, but feeds through your printer easily and folds well.

You may be considering using a card stock for your funeral programs.  Although card stock will be the most sturdy and give a nice look to your programs, your home printer may not be able to handle printing a high volume on card stock (100 or more).  Inkjet printing on card stock can have problems going through the paper feed, and may jam easily.  Laser printers often have a 32 pound limit, and cannot print on card stock at all.  Folding will also be trickier for programs printed on cardstock.

Brightness

Brightness is typically associated with white paper.  The brightness of the paper refers to the contrast of the ink or toner against the whiteness of the paper.  Brightness ranges from 80 to 100, with 100 being the highest.  If you funeral program has colorful graphics or photos, choose a paper with a high brightness.  This will give you program clear, sharp look, with graphics and pictures that "pop" or stand out.

Color

You can find a good variety of colored paper at your local office supply store, however, the colors may only be available in a standard weight such as 20 pounds.  You can order colored papers in different paper weights (or thicknesses), but you will be looking and shipping and delivery times.

Printing funeral programs on colored paper can be tricky, especially if you are using a template with colorful graphics and photos.  The ink or toner can mix with the paper color to produce unpredictable results.  Colored papers should generally be used for black and white funeral programs unless you have time to do a test print on colored paper to check how the colors will display.

Finish

Paper finish are typically matte, and gloss.  Glossy paper gives a nice sharp finish and makes photos stand out, however it may not be available in stores.

Texture

Paper may be available in a variety of textures.  These are usually specialty papers that may need to be special ordered, and not readily available in stores.  If you are using a funeral program design with a lot of color and photos, textured paper may give unexpected results with color.  Get a sample of the paper and print a test sheet so you can see the results before you invest the time and money printing on textured paper.

Recycled Paper

If you are planning a "green funeral" or memorial service, you may decide to use recycled paper.   Recycled papers are now high-quality and available in a variety of weights, colors and textures.  Availability may be limited in stores, but can be ordered from office supply stores or the Internet.

Availability

Consider what paper options you have available in your town.  If you are planning a funeral within the next week, You will need to select a paper that is can be purchased immediately.  Most cities and towns have office supply stores that may carry a limited selection of paper in various weights, colors and textures.  If you are planning a memorial or tribute service, you may have more time to order specialty paper from a store or from the Internet. 

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