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What Is Cotton Rag Paper?

One of the most common questions we get asked is "what is cotton rag paper"?

Cotton rag, also known as rag paper, or simply "rag" is made using cotton linters or cotton from used cloth (rags) as the primary material. Cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability to wood pulp-based paper, which may contain high concentrations of acids, and also absorbs ink or toner better.

Papers manufactured of cotton fiber will last longer and hold up better under repeated handling and various environmental conditions than paper made from wood pulp. Generally, given reasonable care, a customer can expect one year of usable life for every 1% of cotton contained in the sheet.


cotton rag paper

All of our Cotton Rag Papers have archival certification of 100+ years. Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 188gsm is the lightest weight and most affordable cotton rag paper we print on and a great place to start if you have not printed on cotton rag before. If your after something more weighty go for the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm or if you need weight and more texture try Textured Cotton Rag.

What are the main benefits of cotton rag paper?

Archival quality is the number one benefit for printing on cotton rag. So when printing on cotton rag papers you can confidently sell your fine art prints with a high-quality rating. Have you ever noticed when you are in a gallery and an art print will have a description like "Archival Fine Art Print" or "Pigment on Rag"? Both are referring to an art print that has been made using an inkjet printer, archival pigment inks, and cotton rag paper.

Artists selling art prints that are Limited Edition and priced a bit higher will often choose cotton rag papers because of the luxury feel of the cotton, its rich texture, creamier whites and overall archival rating.  

Cotton rag is also easy to deckle. Ever looked at those nice rough edges some art prints have? Well thats called a "deckled" edge. Cotton rag rips smoothly and easily compared to other paper stocks. Grab one of our free paper sample packs and have a go ripping the edges and you will see/feel the difference of cotton vs tree pulp papers.

Deckled Edge

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