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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

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Custom Envelope Printing Services: Knowledge Is Powerful

Your envelope printing service can better help you if you understand these basics. Here are some terms you might find useful when specifying envelopes for your custom envelope printers.

Glues Used in Envelope Printing

The glue that holds the seams together is called pattern gluing or spot gluing. It is permanent. Once you break the seal, the glue cannot be reused.

The glue you lick to make the seal on the envelope is called “remoistenable glue.” That means you add water to activate the glue before sealing. (The glue is remoistenable because it was liquid when first applied to the press sheet.) Once you make the seal, the bond is permanent. If you break the bond, it will no longer stick.

“Peel-and-stick” (also known as peel & seal) is a name for envelope glue you don’t need to moisten with saliva. The glue on peel-and-stick envelopes is covered with an extra sheet of glossy paper. When you’re ready to seal the envelope, you remove the paper and press the flap down on the envelope. This is a permanent bond.

Latex glue, on the other hand, can be opened and closed numerous times. When you get a currency envelope at the bank (also called a coin envelope), you will see a rubber-cement like substance on the flap. You can close the flap, open the flap, etc., numerous times. You will notice the glue on both the flap and the body of the envelope.

Booklet vs. Catalog Envelopes

In many cases you will want to choose envelopes that open either on the end (short side of the envelope) or the side (long end of the envelope). These are referred to in two ways: “booklet” or “open side” envelopes, and “catalog” or “open end” envelopes.

Which Paper Weight to Choose?

Most envelopes come in the following weights: 20#, 24#, 28#. These would roughly correspond to 50#, 60#, and 70# text paper. (Their weight is just determined from a different sized parent sheet than the customary 25” x 38” text size.)

A good hefty sheet for an invitation envelope or a durable catalog envelope would be 28#. The usual weight for a regular envelope would be 24#. And if you just need cheap envelopes, you might go to a stationery store for 20# security envelopes (with an interior pattern to hide the contents).

A safe bet is to choose a heavier paper stock for an important printed product or if you need a durable envelope for a heavy product that might tear a thinner envelope.

Envelope Size

Ask your printer for a chart of envelope sizes, and design your enclosure to fit (not the other way around). Make sure to leave 1/4” to 1/8” minimum clearance on all sides. Leave more if your envelope will contain multiple enclosures.

It pays to be knowledgeable when approaching commercial envelope printers). You may also find that a printer that does one thing—print envelopes–will be more economical than a regular commercial printer.

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