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December 2003
This Month's Tip:
Choosing the Right Substrate

Substrate selection is critical to both the production and overall appearance of any finishing project. The reasons for choosing one substrate over another may be mechanical, economical or aesthetic.

At Diecrafters, we can help you select the best substrate for your application based on these and other factors. To get the ball rolling, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding substrate selection for several common production services:

Die Cutting – Be aware that even when die scoring some sheets with laid or heavily-calendared finishes, the edges of the folds may appear as if the scores are cracking. This is simply a characteristic of certain calendared sheets, and cannot be reversed by scoring.

Mounting – There are several options available when you want to mount a printed sheet to a backing substrate. Chipboard is a common and effective mounting substrate. Corrugated board is another option, and while it will provide more rigidity than chipboard, the uneven surface may result in a rippled appearance - especially if a thinner top-sheet is used. Foamboard is also popular for mounting due to its smoothness and light weight.

Planning Tip - One way to take advantage of the benefits of corrugated while reducing rippling is to use a heavier cover weight topsheet rather than a text weight (see illustration above).

Foil Stamping – Substrates with smooth surfaces, such as a coated cover, will typically offer the most attractive foil stamping results, as they offer greater reflection – especially from metallic foils. Foils applied over dark ink or stocks may yield insufficient opacity, which could alter the color or appearance you’re trying to achieve.

Embossing – As the amount of detail in an embossing image increases, so too should the thickness of your substrate. Steep bevels, multiple levels and delicate curves won’t transfer to the paper unless the stock is thick enough to be pressed into the entire surface area of the die without splitting.

When selecting stocks for embossing, try to find alternatives to coated sheets and darker colors, as they will compromise the level of detail and overall appearance.

Ask Diecrafters
When it comes to selecting an appropriate substrate for your project, be sure you partner with a finisher that can offer you a complete range of choices. At Diecrafters, we’re capable of working with both thin and thick stocks to give you plenty of design freedom. Keep in mind that there are many variables to consider when planning a finishing project. Let Diecrafters test your designs to help your customer visualize the finished product and address concerns before it’s produced.


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