What is the difference between Soft Touch Paper and Velvet Lamination? Feeling perspective, material, available options.

Updated 2 months ago by Emma Davis

This is a very common question, so let's see if we can shed some light.

Before we do, please note that words like "soft" and "velvet-feel" are highly subjective terms and it is often difficult to describe the slight variations of each's tactile feel or look in words.

The best way to describe "soft touch" and "velvet lamination" is to actually touch and feel them for yourself and order one of our beautiful free sample packs. Both samples are included and in addition, you will also see well over 50 additional standard and premium papers and finishes.

First, let's start by saying that both Soft Touch and Velvet Lamination add a soft, rose-petal layer on the paper, making your cards more attractive and interesting.

Some Definitions:

  1. Soft Touch is a coating that is applied in liquid form after the printing ink has been applied. The coating then dries with the “soft feel” texture. Soft touch coating dries fast, is non-yellowing, and is eco-friendly.
  2. On the other hand, Velvet (soft-touch) lamination is a specially-textured matte plastic film that is bonded on both sides of the printing.

Both basically produce a soft, velvet-like texture to your project but they do it in different ways.

Some differences:

  1. Since soft touch is a coating that is applied in liquid form on the surface of the paper, if the paper is porous, and most paper is to one degree or another, then the paper can absorb some of the coating, leaving less coating on the surface and creating the possibility for a lessened "soft touch" feel. We look to "pump through" a heavy dose of coating to minimize this.
  2. Important Soft Touch Artwork Notice: The soft velvety feel is greatly diminished if there is a large surface of the product covered with ink. For optimal results and superior tactile experience, we strongly recommend choosing soft touch products for projects with light coverage artwork, where the format remains "mostly white". With Velvet Lamination, since the soft touch feel is produced by applying a specially textured plastic film over the printed surface, the ink coverage plays no role in the final tactile feel.
  3. Since velvet lamination is a film, not only does it produce the "soft feel" texture, but it also adds extra durability, protection and abrasion resistance.
  4. With Soft Touch, standard thickness is 16pt, but you are able to produce ultra-thick cards such as 32pt, 48pt, 64pt and 80pt. With velvet lamination we start with 16pt stock as a base and apply 1.5mil soft velvet, scuff resistant laminate to both sides of the sheet for a total thickness of 19pt. There is no standard product that comes thicker.
  5. As mentioned above with Soft Touch, ultra-thick cards such as 32pt, 48pt, 64pt and 80pt are possible. In addition to the remarkable paper thickness options, a choice of 12 beautiful color seams are also available for a versatile and unique result. You can read more about color seams here.
  6. For a similar thickness product, velvet lamination is a more expensive process than soft-touch coating. If you are working with a more restricted budget, Soft Touch is an excellent solution for an exceptional and distinctive finish.
  7. There are many more extra finishes that are possible with velvet lamination. Spot UV, Raised Spot UV and Raised Foil are all possible with velvet lamination.

In conclusion, we circle back to how we started this article, and that is .....

The best way to describe "soft touch" and "velvet lamination" is to see for yourself and order one of our beautiful free sample packs. Both samples are included and you will also see well over 50 additonal standard and premium papers and finishes.


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