I'm always on the search for the holy grail of colouring card. It has to have the right amount of bleed for blending, a good weight and give me value for money. I know some people try one brand and swear by it never trying anything else and blindly recommending it as the bees knees to anyone that asks however I and several of my fellow colourists are always searching, always trying to find the best of the best so I've brought some together with the results below. If you are a company wanting to be road tested and added to the card wall of fame then feel free to send me a sheet or two for comparision.
The basic requirement of colouring card is that it is smooth and flat. Its how its finished on the surface that makes the difference.
The views expressed below are my own personal findings from somebody who colours in markers every single day with nearly 3 years colouring experience. The test involves holding the pen at the same angle and tension for 10 seconds to assess the bleed, Drawing a straight line down over 5 seconds and colouring 3 colours to feel the surface of the paper.
I am not affiliated with any company below.
You can click on the pic for a larger view.
BASIC COPIER PAPER
I thought I'd start with the basic of the basics in that its smoothish and flat and yes you can colour on it. On the dot test it gives 4mmx5mm which is quite a lot so you'd likey run over the lines all the time. Its certainly not ideal for colouring or blending and the surface feels pretty rough.
COLORTECH (XEROX) 250GSM
This is my favoured or has been for the past few months. Reams are about £15 for 200 sheets and the card gives good results for blending, not too much bleed 3.5mmx4mm and is a nice weight for regular stamping, base card and digital printing. Ive found it to be a very versatile all rounder.
DIAMOND WHITE (THE PAPETERIE 300 GSM)
This is one of the newer ones hitting the crafting market lately. Made by Argo Wiggins and available via The Papeterie, this card comes per box, which is a generous size and in 300 GSM which is pretty thick or 160 GSM which is just a bit thicker than paper although I hear they've brought out a middle range 250 GSM which will be perfect. It performs well, bit less bleed than colortech, feels nice and smooth and blends well. This is about £6.95 per box but watch out for offers such as 2 for £12 and delivery I think is £6.95 for up to 6 boxes so get together with your crafting buddies.
This is an excellent performer and fantastic value for money.
NEENAH (CRAFTERS COMPANION 216GSM)
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. This didn't perform well at all. I tried using this the other day and the ink was feathering over the lines. It had the highest bleed of all, even higher than basic copier paper and is marketed as suitable for use with marker pens. At around £4 for 20 sheets its an expensive, poor performing card which will leave you immensely frustrated. On the plus side its a nice weight to print digital papers and decoupage, if a bit expensive, but for markers, avoid!
PAYPER BOX BASIC SMOOTH WHITE
This is one I picked up in a pick n mix by Payper box. Its around 220gsm as feels about the same weight as Neenah though could be a little less but I bought it in mind for printing digi papers on. I gave it a whirl for colouring on and it performed alright, it had a fair bit more bleed than the xerox and diamond white but if you want something to practice on at low cost its a pretty good buy although the diamond white from Papeterie is much more generous on the box sizes I have to say as its about the same price for half the size of box. Its lovely to print digi papers and decoupage though.
WHISPER WHITE (STAMPIN UP 220 GSM)
Well what can I say, this is by far the best performer, gives the least bleed of all and blends really well, feels as smooth as a babys bum and I've long been a fan of it BUT yep there is a big BUT it is so expensive! Last time I bought it, it was getting on for £7 a pack of 40 which is very very expensive and some people dont like the colour as its nowhere near as white as the others. I think this is a save for best ie magazine submissions but for your general colouring you get far better value for money with the diamond white moreso if you buy in bulk with a friend.