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paper to print planner inserts

What Paper to Print Planner Inserts? The Complete Guide

Are you looking to create your own custom planner inserts at home? With the right paper and printer, you can design beautiful, high-quality inserts that rival store-bought planners.

But not all paper is created equal when it comes to printing planner pages. The wrong paper can lead to bleeding, ghosting, or inserts that fall apart.

paper to print planner inserts

In this complete guide, as a professional planner manufacturer, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what paper to print planner inserts, including:

  • Paper thickness and weight
  • Paper brightness
  • Coated vs. uncoated paper
  • Acid-free paper
  • Paper size

Plus, I’ll share my top paper recommendations for planner inserts, stickers, dividers and more.

Why Paper Weight Matters for Planner Inserts

When printing planner pages at home, paper weight (thickness) is one of the most important factors.

Standard copy paper and printer paper weights about 20 lbs. This thin paper works fine for basic documents. But planner inserts require special treatment.

After all, a DIY planner needs to stand up to regular use. Thin paper can tear easily when you’re flipping through inserts. Plus, ink can bleed through onto the other side.

For planner inserts, a good baseline paper weight is 28 lbs. But I recommend splurging on 32 lb paper whenever possible. This ultra-smooth premium paper makes inserts look and feel high-end.

Heavier paper also yields more vibrant printed colors. So images and colorful inserts will pop more on 32 lb paper.

Tips for Choosing the Best Paper Brightness

Along with weight, paper brightness impacts the look of printed planner inserts.

Brightness refers to how much light reflects off the paper. Scale goes from 1-100, with 100 being the brightest.

A 100 brightness paper will give you a perfectly smooth, white foundation for any insert design. Colors will seem rich and true-to-life on ultra-bright paper.

Anything less than 100 brightness tends to look more “dingy” and off-white. Lower brightness also makes colors seem dull.

I recommend 100 brightness paper whenever possible, especially for inserts with colorful elements.

What Paper to Print Planner Inserts?

Glossy vs. Matte Paper Finishes

Another vital choice is glossy vs. matte paper finish.

Glossy paper has a coated finish that makes colors “pop”. Photos and graphics look extra vibrant on glossy paper.

The downside is that glossy paper feels slippery. Pens tend to slide around, making it hard to write notes.

Matte paper has more texture, which grips pen ink better. It’s ideal for planner inserts meant for writing tasks, notes, appointments, etc.

I suggest matte finish for most planner inserts. Glossy paper is best reserved for divider pages and decorative inserts.

Why Acid-Free Paper Matters for Archival Printing

Acid in regular paper causes yellowing and deterioration over time. This isn’t ideal for keepsake planner inserts you want to last for years.

That’s why I recommend acid-free paper for any inserts you intend to keep long-term.

Free of lignins and acids, archival-quality acid-free paper keeps inserts looking crisp and bright for ages. It’s perfect for sentimental inserts like vacation journals, children’s art, and photos.

Be sure to store printed inserts properly to get the most life from acid-free paper. Direct sunlight, heat, and humidity can still cause paper damage over many years.

Ensuring Proper Paper Size for Insert Printing

Unlike letters and documents, planner insert paper needs to be precision-trimmed to fit your planner.

Getting paper cut to the exact planner size you need eliminates annoying trimming. But pre-sized paper can jam home printers.

My recommendation: Print inserts on standard 8.5 x 11 paper, then trim to size. This lets you bypass fussy custom paper.

But first, double check your planner dimensions:

Popular Planner Sizes:

  • A5 Planners – 5.8′′ × 8.3′′
  • A6 Planners – 4.1′′ × 5.8′′
  • Personal Planners – 3.7′′ × 6.8′′

Then use the print dialogue box scaling option to shrink inserts to planner size. For example, A5 inserts need to print at 68%.

Now that you know how to select paper, here are my top picks for planner inserts:

Best Paper for Planner Pages Overall

My #1 paper for planner inserts is HP 32 lb Premium Printer Paper. I’m willing to splurge on this ultra-smooth premium paper because planner inserts deserve it.

At 100 brightness and 163 whiteness, pages look professionally crisp and vibrant. And 32 lb thickness gives inserts substance for a luxury feel. Yet it’s still thin enough for most home printers.

With this paper, my DIY planner feels like a high-end store-bought planner. Well worth the extra cost in my opinion.

Runner Up: Hammermill 32 lb Premium

For a slightly more budget-friendly option that still looks fabulous, Hammermill Premium 32 lb paper is fantastic.

It meets the key criteria of 32 lb thickness, 100 brightness, and acid-free construction. I honestly can’t tell the difference between prints on this vs. the premium HP paper above.

Hammermill paper is also eco-friendly, sourced entirely from sustainable forests. So it’s ideal for the conscious planner maker.

Honorable Mention: Epson Presentation Paper 27 lb

Let’s say heavy 32 lb paper is outside your budget. Epson Presentation Paper provides a cheaper alternative that still works beautifully for inserts.

At 27 lb, Epson paper is thicker than basic copy paper without getting too heavy. Uncoated 100 brightness paper takes ink gorgeously while preventing annoying bleeding and ghosting.

For just $10-15 per ream, Epson Presentation Paper lets anyone afford to print quality inserts. Beginner DIY planner makers should start here in my opinion.

Best Paper for Planner Dividers

Dividers lifespan more abuse than basic inserts. Constant flipping and tearing means they need ultra-durable paper.

For dividers, go with premium cardstock in 65 lb + weights. These extra-thick paper stocks give dividers rigidity to withstand manhandling.

I’m currently loving Neenah’s Bright White 65 lb Cardstock. As the name suggests, it has an intense bright white shade that looks so crisp.

And it’s versatile enough for printing, writing, scoring, and cutting. My printed dividers feel like they came right out of a boutique planner.

Astrobrights 65 lb cardstock is another excellent pick. Vibrant style dividers printed on this ultra-smooth cardstock seriously dazzle.

Just be aware that printing cardstock requires a robust printer up to the task. Avoid lightweight home printers lacking enough guts to feed 65 lb paper.

Best Paper for Planner Stickers

For removable planner stickers, invest in premium sticker paper. Labels specifically designed for stickers have:

  • Matte texture optimal for writing notes with pens, markers, etc.
  • Adhesive coating for stickers that adhere securely but remove cleanly.

I’ve had great results printing stickers on Online Labels matte removable sticker paper. Adhesive strikes the perfect balance between stick and release.

And ink adheres flawlessly to matte coating. Printed designs and written notes look bold and crisp.

For glossy stickers, try Gilford’s high-gloss decal paper. Their proprietary adhesive formulation almost melts into a permanent sticker seal. Ideal for decorative planner stickers you “set and forget”.

Paper Recommendations to Avoid for Planner Inserts

Now for a few paper types I DON’T suggest for planner inserts…

Regular Copy Paper

Let’s get this out of the way—avoid basic copy paper whenever possible. At 20 lbs weight, it tears and bleeds way too easily. Ink saturates through to the back, ruins inserts printed duplex.

Harsh but true: inserts printed on copy paper look and feel flimsy and cheap. It’s false economy for planners meant to last across months or years.

Photo Paper

While gorgeous for actual photographs, photo paper is much too thin for functional inserts at 16-28 lb weights. Type of clay coating also prevents pen ink adhesion, making writing notes impossible.

Cardstock Below 60 lb Weight

Be cautious with lightweight cardstock papers. They seem thick in hand but tend to feed poorly through home printers. You could waste good paper fighting printer jams.

I aim for 65 lb + cardstock weights to ensure robust paper feeds smoothly without headaches.

Start Crafting Your Dream Planner Inserts!

Choosing quality paper is just as important as your insert designs when DIYing a custom planner.

With the right paper weight, texture, brightness, and size, your printed inserts rival what you’d find in a store.

I hope these paper recommendations help you create stunning planner inserts that hold up to repeated use. Don’t settle for flimsy paper that compromises your vision—you and your planner deserve quality!

What paper do YOU swear by for planner inserts and stickers? Share your favorites in the comments! I’m always researching new paper types for my DIY planner addiction.

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