Plantable Paper Printing Guidelines
Can you print on seed paper?
Yes. Botanical PaperWorks seed paper sheets contain seeds that have been selected because they are easy to grow and smaller in size so the paper is smooth and more suitable for print. However, there are some important things to note such as avoiding laser printers which kills the seeds. Learn more about the acceptable methods for printing below.
First of all, the sheets are approximately 85 lb cover weight but will vary slightly in thickness. They have smooth, trimmed edges and can be used for a variety of printing methods, however, results will vary. Read the tips below and always be sure to test seed paper with your printer.
When printing on plantable paper, we recommend using one the following methods of printing:
- Inkjet (preferred for home or office)
- Offset printing press, 1, 2 or 4 color
- Screen printing
If you're not a professional printer and plan to print on the seed paper yourself at home or at the office, we recommend using a top loading inkjet printer for best results. Below are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use an inkjet printer that has a straight paper path that doesn't bend the paper over itself when feeding (most HP desktop printers do this).
- Because of the varying thickness of this special paper, you may have to help your printer feed the sheets through when it tries to grab a sheet by holding the paper straight. Don’t expect to be able to put a pile of paper in the rear tray and walk away! Most desktop printers are designed with plain paper in mind, which slides easily. The seed paper does not slide easily so, therefore, you have to watch and occasionally help the printer along.
- Some machines will have a setting for less abrasion, which means thicker paper. This setting will lessen the chance of a head strike, which appears as smudges on the paper.
- Test your print settings to see what works best for your design. If you have heavy ink coverage, be sure to print on HQ settings and always run a test print.
Offset printing (1, 2 or 4 color)
- Most of our double thick stock’s caliper is around 20 - 22 pt. Use a micrometer as you would with any stock.
- Heating the seed-embedded paper can affect the seed germination, therefore we recommend turning off IR lamps. To assist with the drying process, add dryer to the ink.
- Waterless Offset is preferable to conventional.
- To ensure accurate alignment, we recommend printing 4-color jobs on a 4-color press, rather than doing two passes on a 2-color press.
You can screen print on seed paper but you’ll see some white around the seeds as the surface is not perfectly flat. The use of a soft squeegee is recommended.
Letterpress may crush some of the seeds so germination may be affected, especially when the seeds are larger like some of the herb or veggie seeds. Try to use ink that is low tack.
- Plantable paper is uncoated so some slight bleeding will occur. Be sure to keep that in mind and avoid printing very small text on dark colored backgrounds. We recommend at least 8 - 9 pt.
- Avoid using heavy ink coverage if you can.
- If using photos of people, be aware that the seeds may show through on lighter areas on the face, eyes and/or teeth.
- Design pieces to be trimmed down in case there is any shifting of the paper and be sure to use at least a 1/4" inch margins rather than trying to print too close to the edge.
If you would like personal assistance with your plantable paper printing project or would like to learn about custom printing options, please contact us.