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Paper Characteristics: Paper Grain Direction

HomePaper IdeasPaper Characteristics: Paper Grain Direction

Paper Characteristics: Paper Grain Direction

This is a continuation of the two previous blogs on this subject, so hopefully you’ve had a chance to read those as well.  A lot of information to consider when planning a printed project. These are some characteristics that should be considered, when selecting the paper:



Paper Grain Direction

Paper grade

Paper weight



Paper Grain Direction

Paper grain direction refers to the direction the fibers lay in a sheet of paper. The paper travels through the paper manufacturing machines moving forward along the forming wires.  The fibers in the pulp align parallel to the direction in which the paper travels through the machines, as the paper is being formed.

The two basic classifications of grain direction are short grain and long grain.  Paper that is long grain indicates the fibers run parallel to the longest side of the paper.  Short grain, meaning the fibers run parallel to the shortest side of the paper.  The last number of the paper dimensions indicate the grain direction of the paper, for example:  8.5”x 11” would be long grain.  Paper dimensions of 18” x 12” is short grain.

Depending upon what your printed project consists of, grain direction can be a very important influence on the outcome. The grain direction will determine how the paper reacts when binding, folding, and scoring, especially when printing on heavier weights.

If your project includes binding, such as in a book, the paper grain direction needs to be parallel to the book’s binding edge, sometimes referred to as the book’s “spine”.   Make sure the paper direction is consistent throughout the book, otherwise; there may be a resistance when turning the pages, and the paper may crack. Going against the paper’s grain direction can also create a bulky binding edge and the pages may stick out when the book is closed.

Heavier-weight paper such as cover, and Bristol may fold without issues if the fold is parallel to the grain direction.  If the fold is against the grain direction it may have a very visible un-appealing appearance. Scoring may be needed if the folded crease runs across the grain.  Scoring is a process of making an appealing crease.  The paper score is a ridge that is indented into the paper, where the folding will occur.

When you have selected the correct paper for your creative project, you can order @ DefyPaper.  DefyPaper stocks the leading brands from the leading mills, across the world:

About DEFYPaper

DEFYPaper is proud to offer a large selection of paper products to meet all of your printing needs.  DEFYPaper makes high-quality printing projects fast and simple. Do you have any questions?  Or perhaps you need help selecting the perfect product for your business or organization.  Maybe you would just like a sample of Neenah Environment.  For this and more, contact one of our DEFYPaper experts.  Call 1-800-486-3435 or email Info@defypaper.comVisit us at