When selecting papers for a project, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the paper appropriate for the book’s purpose?
- Does the paper help express the look and feel you want your book to have?
- Does the paper compliment the other materials used?
Paper has one common characteristic -- whether it is mass produced or handmade from natural fibers.
The grain indicates the arrangement or direction of the fibers. A book will be stronger, less likely to warp and easier to fold if the grain of all of the papers are parallel to the spine of the book. Often companies label the grain direction on the packaging for the paper.
If the grain is not listed, you can test it by bending or folding the paper. If you fold a piece of the paper and it shows cracking along the crease, the grain runs in the opposite direction of the crease. If you still have difficulty determining the grain, cut a small piece and wet it. As the paper dries, it will begin to bend in the direction of the grain.
Generally, handmade papers do not have a grain, as the fibers lie in different directions.