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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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Archive for the ‘Envelope Printing’ Category

Commercial Envelope Printers Can Custom Print Envelopes on Cover Stock

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

A client recently asked me to recommend a custom envelope printer for extra-heavy envelopes. The client wanted to print envelopes on 65# cover stock and then convert them. Keep in mind that most envelopes are 20#, 24#, or 28#, much thinner than 65# cover stock.

Why would anyone want custom print envelopes like these? Because they are extremely durable and they give the impression of opulence and prosperity. In certain cases this is important, depending on the clientele receiving the envelopes.

That said, there are certain things to keep in mind when printing envelopes like these:

  1. Extra-heavy envelopes need to be printed and then converted. Converting includes the folding and gluing steps involved in turning a flat piece of printing stock into an envelope. You can’t just buy envelopes like these and then print on them. Therefore producing high-end custom envelopes of this caliber is an expensive proposition.
  2. The heaviest stock that can be converted is 8 point cover, and the envelope must be larger than 6” x 9”.
  3. If you keep the size under 6” x 9.5”, you will stay within “letter” (rather than “flat”) rate postage and save a lot of money.
  4. Remember that if you are coating the press sheet with varnish or aqueous coating to avoid scuffing the ink, you will need to knock out (i.e., not print the coating in) the area on which the address will be inkjet printed. Otherwise the inkjet pigment will not adhere to the envelopes and will smear off.
  5. Postage is based on weight (and in some cases also the distance the envelope travels). Custom envelopes made of 65# cover stock may look beautiful, but they will cost a premium to mail since they are heavy, even before you insert the brochures or other contents.
  6. If you want to address these envelopes in your office laser printer, you’re probably out of luck. Most small laser printers will not accept such a thick substrate without jamming. Therefore, you will need to print address labels on peel and stick paper and then hand-affix the labels to the envelopes. This can take time if your mailings are large.

For aesthetic reasons and durability, there are good reasons to print and convert envelopes on 65# cover stock. But it behooves you to consider the costs involved and perhaps even give an unprinted sample to your postal representative to gauge the potential postage costs and to make sure all US Postal Service requirements for size, thickness, etc., have been met. Dedicated custom envelope printers, companies that focus exclusively on how to print envelopes, can be invaluable resources in producing such a job.

Custom Envelope Printing Services: Knowledge Is Powerful

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

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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