Why Use Masa Paper for Printmaking?

We’ve got a new arrival in our paper warehouse: Masa paper.  Masa is a type of mulberry or kozo/mix pulp paper that is very smooth on one side. Because it has both internal and surface sizing and can easily be crumpled and re-flattened, this paper is ideal for printmaking.  Don’t believe us? Just listen to Lyell Castonguay, woodcut extraordinaire:

“Masa is an excellent multi-purpose paper that I use for printing large scale woodcuts.  It takes ink beautifully and is an inexpensive solution for proofing and testing color overlays.  This paper is lightweight with virtually no memory-making, flattening, cutting, and handling big sheets a breeze.”

And the price is right!  We stock masa sheets in bright white and soft white.  Large rolls of soft white also stocked in the Paper Connection warehouse in Providence, RI.

Photos courtesy of Lyell Castonaguay at BIG INK.

printing-work-by-david-hazlett printing-work-by-gary-comoglio priting-work-by-reinaldo-gil-zambrano

Paper Woman

11 Comments

  1. Nancy Carlson on March 8, 2017 at 2:22 am

    Can I get masa paper in smaller sizes? Say 8×10, a pad perhaps?

  2. Tim Malkoskie on April 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I make gyotaku. Sometimes I print very large fish such as marlin, tuna or swordfish. To have paper wide enough for the largest fish I must glue two sheets of paper together. With most kozo papers ( usually ) it is possible to scuff up the long edges first so a seam is not as apparent and won’t interfere with wet mounting. Masa has a percentage of pulp ( sulphite? ) in it. Would it be possible to seam sheets of masa together? Also since it contains pulp and internal sizing is it acid-free and archivable? The heavier weight of this paper would seem to make it ideal if these other criteria are met.

    • Paper Woman on June 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      The “masa” roll will be fine for large gyotaku. The roll is 30 meters long. It is surface-sized- so print on smooth side. Yes, it is a stable and pH neutral Japanese paper even though it is made with mostly sulphite pulp.
      The long kozo rolls will be even stronger and have more longevity than the “masa” paper rolls. Yes, the 56gsm kozo has internal sizing….you can print on either side.
      Here is the shop link for rolled papers and large sheets.
      https://shop.paperconnection.com/collections/rolled-papers Hope that helps….feel free to email: paperexperts@paperconnection.com

  3. Kavya on September 11, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Hi how do you make large rolls of masa paper.

  4. James A. Dennison on October 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Masa Paper sheets, are they grain long or grain short? (i.e.: 21×31″ sheets)

  5. Susanne K. Arnold on January 15, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    how much does the large masa sheet cost. 4 sheets may work for me, as the roll is too large. I am working with scrolls about 12 x 37 inches.

  6. John on February 4, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I have read here and elsewhere that Masa is great for proofing or testing, but not of high enough quality to use as a final archival product. The size of both the large sheet and roll are appealing, but is it appropriate for end use?

    • Paper Woman on March 13, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      So far we have found that this paper is quite stable. Although it is not made with much bast fiber, it is well-made and has not been known to discolor or fall apart. It has been popular for those who want to relief print using large blocks or plates! Big installation work. Also popular to use for encaustic monotypes on a “hotbox”. It holds up to pigmented hot wax.

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