Carbon paper is thin paper that's been coated with a dark waxy pigment (usually carbon). When placed between two sheets of blank paper, carbon paper copies what a pen or typewriter is writing as pressured is applied on the top sheet. Then, it transfers that onto the base paper. As an effective material for making copies, carbon paper is commonly used for many purposes in Australia.
Prior to purchasing carbon paper, it's important to consider the history, function, types, and size of the carbon paper. This will ensure not only that carbon paper is right for the job, or your printer, but also that the right carbon paper is bought.
Uses of Carbon Paper
Unless working on a large scale, carbon paper is a solid choice for copying for any of the following functions.
Carbon Paper in the Office
Carbon paper still serves the same function for businesses and offices across Australia as it did a hundred years ago; making copies of handwritten receipts, checks, mail tracking slips, money orders, and more. There is a certain authenticity to a carbon paper receipt that isn't offered with digital copies or printed ones.
Carbon Paper in Art
Art is one industry where the use of carbon paper appears to have staying power. Carbon paper can be used to transfer artwork from paper onto mediums. For instance, in fashion, carbon paper can transfer a design to the fabric. Other mediums where it is effective include transferring designs, patterns, drawings and more include wood, canvas, glass and others.
Carbon Paper and Temporary Tattoos
Tattoo artists use carbon paper to make temporary tattoos. The paper, where the original design is drawn, is taped to a piece of carbon paper and base paper. Heat and pressure is applied via a machine to transfer the image to the base paper. That base paper is then pressed against the customer's skin and the artist takes glycerin soap and rubs it over the base paper. Then the image appears on the skin.
Types of Carbon Paper
There are three types of carbon paper, in addition to carbonless copy paper. Choose the one the best suits the type of work that is to be completed.
Handwritten Carbon Paper
Since handwritten letters aren't as crisp and clear when copied, handwritten copy paper uses thicker base paper as well as thick pigment coating to ensure the words and/or images transfer clearly and will last. Use this for applications where pressure is being applied with the hand, like drawing or writing invoices.
Typewriter Carbon Paper
In contrast to handwritten carbon paper, typewriter carbon paper uses thinner base paper and thinner pigment. This is because letters already transfer well between the top and base papers.
Colour Carbon Paper
Colours include black, white, red, yellow, blue and many others. Sewing and fabric workshops, as well as art studios, are known for using colour carbon paper to make coloured copies of designs, patterns and images. Some are two-sided, too, which allows for a smoother transfer.
Carbonless Copy Paper
An environmentally friendly option, carbonless copy paper utilises micro-encapsulated dye or ink rather than carbon. Unlike carbon, this dye doesn't stain or smear, making it actually more accurate than carbon paper. Consider this for tasks that require correct detailing.
Carbon Paper Sizes
The majority of carbon paper is sold in standard A4 paper size (210 x 297 millimetres). Legal size (216 x 356 millimetres) and letter size (216 x 280 millimetres) carbon papers are also popular options. Carbon paper can easily be cut to the necessary size, too. Additionally, many materials that typically use carbon copy paper come with the carbon papers already attached between sheets of regular paper; these include certain sketch pads, receipt booklets, check books and other materials.