Frequently Asked Questions

We've collated common questions and concerns to ensure you know everything you need to before trying our paper – whether it's technical details, printing guidance, where to place an order, or understanding our shipping options.

Our Range

Where is your paper made?

Our paper is made at Sri Aurobindo Handmade Paper in Pondicherry, south India. They have been making handmade paper from cotton since 1959 with a small team of local papermaking artisans, some of whom are now 2nd generation papermakers.

The factory is part of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, to which it gives 100% of its profit.

What sizes do you make?

We make 7 sizes from place card up to A4, with select paper sizes accompanied by a deckle-edge triangle-point envelope. Our full list of sizes are available to see in our size guide which also shows the proportions between sizes.

It's worth mentioning that our "A"-sizes refer to the ISO paper size standard and not the US announcement paper size convention.

What colours do you make?

We make 8 colours including White, Ivory, Blush, and Dark Green. Our full list of colours are available to browse in our online catalogue.

What is the difference between 150gsm and 210gsm?

If you're unfamiliar with paper weights a good way to compare the difference between these numbers is with normal printer paper which you may have at home. Normal printer paper is around 60gsm, so our 150gsm paper is just over twice as thick – take 2 sheets of printer paper and feel the thickness between your fingers. Our 210gsm paper is just over 3 sheets of printer paper.

Unless you have a specific need for thicker pieces over thinner, it can be hard to choose one over the other. We recommend picking up a small sample of each to give you a chance to feel the weight and texture of both.

It's worth noting that as our paper is made by hand, there is an inherent variance of ±10% in the thickness between pieces.

Do your envelopes come with paper?

No, our envelopes and paper are sold separately, allowing you to mix and match different colours and weights if required.

Why do your sizes, weights, and colours vary between pieces?

There are some slight differences in our pieces between batches due to the handmade nature of our paper. There can be a variation in size, weight (±10%), and even colour shade as everything we do is by hand, from colour mixing to lifting each sheet.

Do you make custom colours?

We are always exploring new shades, so if you are looking for a colour which we don't currently offer please get in touch with us to see if it's something we're already working on.

What chemicals are used in your paper?

There are two main chemicals/additives used in our papermaking:

  1. An internal sizing agent to help bond the cotton fibres. Our internal sizing is acid-free making our final pieces neutral in pH, which helps with longevity as it reduces degradation over time. Good handmade cotton paper will last a few centuries
  2. Dyes. The dyes used in our paper are from the textile industry as they are the most durable against fading. However, our factory is in the process of sourcing natural dyes for our papermaking.
Our factory also treats and recycles the water used in the papermaking process, removing stray fibres and colouring. The treated water is used in the grounds of the factory, watering its gardens and coconut trees.

Do you make custom sizes?

Custom sizes are available but unfortunately have a high minimum order quantity, a custom equipment manufacture charge, and a lead-time of a few months.

We recommend viewing our sizes as we hopefully make something which suits your need. If you're keen to learn more about a custom size please drop us a line at [email protected].

Alternatively, we can recommmend other papermakers who might be able to help you. Submit details of what you are in need of and we will send you some recommendations of other papermakers.

Artwork

Is your paper suitable for calligraphy?

Yes, our paper is suitable for hand calligraphy by ink-artisans. Our internal sizing and finish provide a fine-tooth to our pieces, making the texture nib-friendly, even on the up-stroke.

If you are using our paper for the first time, we do recommend picking up a small sample of pieces in order to try your specific inks and nibs. Guidance from artists familiar with our paper is provided in our guide for calligraphy on handmade paper.

Is your paper suitable for printing?

Yes, our paper is suitable for digital printing and we recommend using an inkjet printer if you are printing on our paper at home. A guide featuring advice from professional stationery designers is available in our guide for printing on handmade paper.

Most modern printers will have an envelope setting which tells the printer to expect the paper to be fed in manually. Only feed a few sheets into the printer at a time or even individually if you need to. Due to the handmade nature of our pieces we advise printing 5-10% more than you need to in order to ensure you can test and calibrate your alignment and feeding.

Is your paper suitable for letterpress?

Yes, our paper is suitable for letterpress, however we recommend our thicker grade of 210gsm pieces. Our 210gsm pieces can come up thicker, sometimes up to 300gsm, making them the better option for letterpress. Get in touch with us if you are in need of our thicker pieces as we can set these aside for you and your project.

Is your paper suitable for watercolour?

Yes, our internal sizing and finish will accommodate light watercolour, however we do not recommend our paper for heavy or wet paint work.

If you are using our paper for the first time, we do recommend picking up a small sample of pieces in order to try your specific paints and techniques.

How can I print on your paper at home?

We recommend any modern inkjet printer, such as an HP. Most modern inkjet printers will have an envelope setting which tells the printer to expect the paper to be fed in manually. When printing, only feed a few sheets into the printer at a time or even individually if you need to.

As our paper is handmade, each piece won't be perfectly straight and the natural deckle edges will add to the uneven dimensions. This will often result in a print which may appear skewed against one side, but straight against another. As such, you may find you need to align the sheets against only one of the guides your printer has, often the one which aligns the left-hand side of the printed sheet.

We advise printing 5-10% more pieces than you need to in order to ensure you can test your alignment and feeding.

A guide featuring advice from professional stationery designers is available in our guide for printing on handmade paper.

Can I use a laser printer to print on your paper?

Laser printers require a perfectly smooth surface with no texture, upon which the laser applies a charge to the sheet for the ink to fuse with. Our handmade papers will all have some texture, which is usually more than a laser printer can contend with. You can of course try a few pieces to see what results you obtain, however, we recommend a modern inkjet printer.

Do you offer a printing service?

Unfortunately, we don't offer a printing service as we prefer to focus on papermaking. Our paper is printer-friendly, however, allowing you to print at home. We recommend any modern inkjet printer to do so. If you're not keen on printing yourself, we do know of some exceptionally talented and experienced designers and printers who we would highly recommend should you be looking for such a paper artisan to help you. Visit our directory to find a printer close to you.

Can you recommend a designer/printer/calligrapher?

We do know of some exceptionally talented artists, designers, printers, and calligraphers who we would highly recommend should you be looking for someone to help with your project.

Visit our directory to find a paper artisan near you.

Buying

Where can I buy your paper?

Our range of paper is available to buy online on Etsy, via our factory's website, and at Amazon US.

Do you sell samples?

We do have prepared sample packs which are available to buy via Etsy. There are two types of pack – an All Colours pack which features a placecard size piece of each of our shades, and an All Sizes pack which has all available sizes in both grades for the shade selected.

If you're looking to sample a specific colour and size we recommend picking up a set of 5 or 10 of the pieces you would like to see from any of our online shops.

Can you provide a quote for an order I need?

Rather than provide a quote for our core range of paper we recommend visiting our online shops where you can see our full range on display with prices.

Our Etsy shop and our factory's website are the easiest to browse, we advise viewing them on a desktop so you can see the full menu of sizes, colours, and grades on the left-hand side.

Do you provide a discount for large orders?

Yes, we do – we have a tiered pricing model where a discount is applied as the quantity of your order increases. The tiers are:
  • 5 sheets: base price
  • 10 sheets: save 10% on base price
  • 25 sheets: save 20% on base price
  • 50 sheets: save 30% on base price
  • 100 sheets: save 40% on base price
  • 250 sheets: save 50% on base price (only available via our factory's website).

Can I order wholesale from you?

For artists and creatives looking for higher quantities we recommend buying from our factory's website directly. Our factory's website offers the following benefits over our other online shops:

  • Tiered pricing with up to 50% off for quantities of 250 pieces or more.

For regular customers frequently ordering large quantities the following additional concessions are available:

  • A saving of 10% to customers that have previously ordered 500 pieces or more
  • A saving of 15% to customers that have previously ordered 1,000 pieces or more.

These savings are based on previous completed orders from the last 90 days, previous purchases can be for any colour, size, or grade.

Will I have to pay import duties or VAT/GST?

If you live in a country with a low customs duty and VAT/GST threshold (also known as De Minimis import values) and your order will be shipping with DHL, DHL will pay the duty and VAT/GST on your behalf at the point of import and will then send you an invoice to be reimbursed, they may also include an admin fee.

We strongly advise checking the import duty and VAT/GST thresholds for your country before placing an order to avoid a surprise import duty or VAT/GST bill. Countries in the EU typically have a low threshold before applying VAT whereas other countries, such as the United States and Australia, are more generous allowing orders of a higher value through without charge.

Why have I received a request for import duties/tax from DHL?

DHL would have had to pay the import duty and VAT/GST for your order at the point of import on your behalf and are requesting to be reimbursed, they may have also included an administration fee.

We strongly advise checking the import duty and VAT/GST thresholds for your country before placing an order to avoid a surprise import duty or VAT/GST bill. Countries in the EU typically have a low threshold before applying VAT whereas other countries, such as the United States and Australia, are more generous allowing orders of a higher value through without charge.

Stock

How long does it take for pieces to come back in stock?

It typically takes us around 3 weeks to make up a new batch of a particular colour – that includes the whole papermaking process of beating the pulp, lifting the sheets, drying, calendaring, and sorting, as well as preparing finished packs ready for despatch.

What does "Available in 3 weeks" mean?

On Etsy and on our factory's website you may see "Available in 3 weeks" next to a pack size – this means we are currently out of stock and are in the process of making a new batch of pieces. The 3 week leadtime could actually be shorter as we may actually be in the final stages of a new batch which could end up being ready in around 1 week or even less.

If your order is time sensitive and you need out of stock pieces urgently, drop us a line and we will provide you with an up-to-date time frame and do what we can to prioritise your order.

Can I have some samples for a shoot I'm styling?

We would be happy to try and supply a set of samples for your shoot. You can submit a request by emailing [email protected].

Please include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your position/role (e.g. stylist, calligrapher, artist)
  • A link to your portfolio and previously published work
  • Details of the shoot including:
    • Date
    • Location
    • Theme
  • Publications the shoot will appear in and anticipated date of publishing
  • A treatment for the shoot in PDF format outlining the vision.

If your request is approved your samples will be shipped via DHL.

Please note that we can only provide a certain number of samples per month, so if we are unable to meet your request immediately we may be able to do so in the future.

Shipping

How long does shipping take?

We offer two shipping options, each with a differing transit time and price:

  • 3-day transit via DHL Express Worldwide – US$14, trackable
  • 21-day transit (may arrive sooner) via standard post – US$7, untrackable.
Additionally, all orders over US$65/€56/£50 will be upgraded to ship with DHL for free.

Do you offer free shipping?

Yes, for orders over US$65/€56/£50 we offer free shipping with DHL's Express Worldwide service.

My shipment hasn't arrived, what can I do?

If you opted for the standard post (Airmail) shipping option we'd be happy to send you a replacement free of charge, but before we do, often a few extra days is all the parcel needs in order to appear. Please also note that a standard post shipment requires a signature on delivery, so it may be at your nearest post office. A surprising number of shipments are returned to us as "uncollected" despite the customer not receiving a notice to collect it. Drop us a line if it still hasn't arrived 21 days after the shipping date and after having checked in at your local post office. Please be sure to get in touch with us via the website you placed your order from in order to help us identify your order.

If your pieces were shipped to you via DHL, we advise you to contact DHL with your tracking number for an update. For some EU, countries such as Greece, there is a chance DHL require additional information from you before they can clear your shipment for delivery.

How can I track my order?

For standard post (Airmail) shipments, it is not possible to track the progress of the delivery. DHL shipments can be tracked via the DHL website using your tracking code.

How can I change my address after I've placed my order?

If your order hasn't yet shipped we can update your shipping address for you – simply drop us a line via the website you placed your order through.

If your order has shipped it is only possible to change your address if it shipped via DHL – you will need to contact DHL with your tracking number to do so, please note you may face a charge for the change.

How can I return my pieces?

If you are unhappy with your pieces, or made a mistake with your order, you are more than welcome to return them back to us, however please note that we cannot offer free returns. Please package them up securely and return them to us at:

SAHMP
50 S.V. Patel Salai
Pondicherry
India
605001

Please be aware of the following requirements:
  • Be sure to include your name and order number so we know to process the refund to you
  • We can only offer a full refund if we receive the pieces in the condition they were sent to you in
  • Be sure to mark the shipment as "Returned Goods (Zero Value)". Unfortunately, by not marking the package as such, we will incur import duties which we will have to deduct from the value of your refund.

I made it to the end of the FAQ, can I have a prize?

Well done! However, we are afraid that we can't offer you a prize, sorry. But, we do applaud your effort and stamina for having read through all of our questions and answers, that certainly is a fine achievement. If there's anything we've missed please drop us a line at [email protected], or feel free to do so just to say hello.

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