What Are The Best Fountain Pen Friendly Papers For Writing Letters?

John BosleyPaper 15 Comments

Fountain pen users know that there is an overwhelming selection of notebooks and paper options available, but what happens when you want to write a letter? So many of our favorite papers are available bound into books and very few of us want to cut pages out of a notebook just to write a letter. If you look at notepads, it can almost feel like a different world. The paper manufacturer names may be familiar, but many of the papers are different. In this post, I want to briefly cover many of the different papers that are available for writing letters and let you know which I believe are the best.

Letter Writing Paper Options

As with notebooks, paper that is made for letter writing has quite a few options to consider. You’ll find notepads with either glue or perforations. You’ll find different paper colors with different line spacing options. Some pads include guide sheets and others include blotting paper. Then there’s the paper quality to consider. How are you to choose the best for you?

I rounded up all of the papers that I have that I would consider using for writing a letter. I’m not going to do a full review, as most of them already have a standalone blog post reviewing the paper, but I am going to point out any features that are unique to letter writing or stand out from the other options. I’ll also give my thoughts as to why you might want to consider each paper. At the end of this post I’ll make my recommendations, but for now, here are my thoughts on each (listed alphabetically).

Black n’ Red Notebook

While this is actually a spiral-bound notebook, the perforated edges for each sheet make it very easy to tear out and drop into an envelope. While it isn’t the most attractive paper on which to write a letter, it is very enjoyable to write on. This paper only comes lined.

Black n’ Red Notebook Review

Fountain Pen Paper Sample Pack black n red notebook

Clairefontaine Triomphe

Being some of the smoothest paper available, you will feel extra fancy writing a letter on a sheet of Clairefontaine Triomphe. Unfortunately, your recipient may not notice the difference. Sure, your ink will look great, but the paper is a little uninspiring. Still, the overall quality of this paper can not be denied. If you’re not trying to impress anyone and just want some fantastic paper to write on, this is an excellent choice. Available either blank or lined.

Clairefontaine Triomphe Review

Clairefontaine Triomphe paper review

G. Lalo Verge de France

Your recipient will surely take notice of the unique feel and texture of this paper. You, on the other hand, may or may not enjoy writing on it, as the laid texture is not for everyone. With a variety of paper colors (complete with matching envelopes) and a unique texture, this paper is one of your best options if you want to send a letter that is sure to get someone’s attention. Only available unlined .

G. Lalo Verge de France Review

G Lalo Verge de France writing paper

HP Premium28 and HP Premium32

There’s no way around the fact that this is printer paper. Fountain pen friendly printer paper, yes, but still printer paper. I’m not a huge fan of the Premium28, as I don’t think it handles ink as well as the Premium32, but the Premium32 is very thick and will quickly fill an envelope. Due to how thick it is, it does feel quite nice to handle. Available unlined, but you can print lines on it if you’d like.

HP Premium28 and HP Premium32 Review

best fountain pen paper for writing letters hp premium32

Life Bank Paper

If you like a little tooth in your paper, this may be a great choice for you. Life Bank paper handles ink very well and has good dry times. Each pad comes with a sheet of blotter paper at the beginning, which can be very useful if you’re in a hurry. This paper only comes unlined.

Life Bank Paper Review

fountain pen friendly life bank paper

Life L Writing Paper

More luxurious and fancy than Life Bank paper, Life L writing paper is some of the best paper you can use with your fountain pens. It comes in two sizes, A5 and B5, and each has a different look. The B5 is a more standard lined paper with nice margins around the side, while the A5 has some pretty fancy decorations in the margins. Either one is an absolute pleasure to write on.

Life L Writing Paper Review

Life L Writing Paper A5 cover

Midori Letter Paper

Midori Letter paper is a little different from Midori MD notebook paper, but is made specifically for writing letters. Interestingly, this pad of paper comes with white paper in the front and cream paper in the back, so you have two paper color options in one pad! It also comes with a guide sheet that has horizontal ruling on one side and vertical ruling on the other. Add in an attractive cover and this is a great all-around paper for writing letters.

Midori Letter Paper Product Page

best fountain pen paper for writing letters midori letter paper

Midori MD Writing Pad

If you love Midori MD paper, you can get it outside of a notebook and in a writing pad! Older versions of these MD writing pads are unique in that they are glued along both the top and one side. The reason for this is that it keeps the paper more secure during writing so your lines remain straight and your guide sheet doesn’t move around. Newer versions are only glued along the top and are lined.These are available in both regular paper and cotton paper.

Midori MD Writing Pad Product Page

best fountain pen paper for writing letters midori md

Mnemosyne Notebook

Similar to Black n’ Red notebooks, these spiral bound notebooks are not made for writing letters, but the micro-perforations make it very easy to use. Many different paper layout and size options add to how useful it is for letter writing. Models that I would suggest are 195 (A5 lined), 183A (A5 blank), 105 (A5 dot).

Mnemosyne Notebook Review

Fountain Pen Paper Sample Pack mnemosyne

Rhodia Pad

Fountain pen users are no strangers to Rhodia paper. While not the most exciting to write on, it is a solid option for letter writing that most people will already have laying around. The micro-perforations should allow for easy removal, but many people have experienced unevenly torn corners, which is not what you want when sending a letter.

Rhodia Dot Pad Review

Rhodia Dot Pad Review cover

Strathmore Writing Paper

While this may be one of the least exciting papers of the bunch, it is still a decent option for letter writing. It has some cotton content and weighs in at 90gsm, so it feels nice to write on and handle. The lack of sheen and shading, creamy-yellow color and blue lines may not work for everyone, though. Still, the dry times are very fast.

Strathmore Writing Paper Product Page

best fountain pen paper for writing letters strathmore writing paper

Tomoe River 52 and 68 GSM

Another paper that is almost ubiquitous amongst fountain pen users, Tomoe River is the undisputed champion when it comes to ink handling. It is also available in loose sheets! Unfortunately, the 52gsm paper is so thin it is not very pleasant to write on, although it is very easy to see guide sheets through. The 68gsm paper is much nicer to write on, but still somewhat difficult to handle. If letter weight is an issue, Tomoe River is a great option, but otherwise I personally think it is best used in notebooks as other papers offer a better writing and reading experience. Available in blank and dot grid.

Tomoe River Review

best fountain pen paper for writing letters tomoe river

My Recommendations

I try and write letters fairly often, so there are papers that I prefer and use more than others. There are also papers that some people might prefer for other reasons. Taking both my preferences and the preferences of others into consideration, here are my recommendations for letter writing paper.

  • Life Bank Paper – For me, this paper is the perfect combination of dry time, texture and ink-handling. I don’t have to wait forever for my writing to dry (but I can use the included blotter paper if I just can’t wait). There is a bit of texture when I write, which I enjoy. Inks look great on this paper, with good shading and sheen. It also won’t break the bank at $0.15/sheet. If I only had one paper to use for writing letters, this would probably be it.
  • G. Lalo Verge de France – I know that not everyone is going to enjoy writing on this paper, but out of all of the papers on this list, it will be the most enjoyable and impressive paper option for your recipients. It is also the only paper option that comes in colors besides white or cream. Overall, most people will choose this for the experience of the letter-receiver, but there are plenty of letter writers who will enjoy it as well. It is a little more expensive than most paper, coming in at $0.20/sheet.
  • Strathmore Writing Paper – With probably the fastest dry times out of any paper in this list and solid ink-handling capabilities, this paper will appeal to many letter writers. The cotton blend will appeal to both the writer and receiver. With a cost of $0.15/sheet, it isn’t terribly expensive.
  • Clairefontaine Triomphe – Although the lined paper is not that impressive to look at, using the unlined with a guide sheet can be very elegant. If you like smooth paper, you’ll love writing letters on this paper. I don’t think that the letter recipient will be very impressed by the paper itself, but your ink will look fantastic, which may just get noticed. At $0.10/sheet, it’s a very affordable option.

There you have it. Those are my choices for the best fountain pen friendly letter writing papers. Are there any that you love that should be on this list? Please let me know in the comments. Happy writing!

Comments 15

  1. Outstanding review. I wish you would do a pro and con overview on a selection of inks for writing letters vs journals and notebooks.

    1. Post

      Thank you, Eric. I may do that at some point. I did one for inks to use in bullet journals and I suspect there would be many similarities. I’ll have to think about it a bit. Thanks!

    1. Post
  2. I have been writing letters and notes to folks for several years on G. Lalo Verge de France. I write on blue sheets (with either J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir or Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuyu-Kuwaiti), grey sheets (with Sailor black pigmented ink) or ivory (with cherry/sepia inks). You are right, recipients of my missives seem to really like what they receive. BTW, I typically write with old Watermans, especially my treasured No. 7 with a Pink Nib.

    1. Post

      Marc, I still have not tried out the various colors of this paper, only the white. I really like the idea of combining colors of ink and paper to further enhance the writing and reading experience! And what an experience you must have writing with that fantastic nib!

  3. John, how about fountain pen friendly envelopes? We all try multiple papers for sending letters but envelopes is usually a something that is overlooked. Especially if we’re talking standard letter size envelopes. Crown Mill and other companies offer envelopes for smaller letters but standard letter size is not so easily obtained.

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  4. Rodolfo, As I wrote earlier this year, I write all my letters on G. Lalo “Verge de France” paper; I like the size (I believe it’s A5) and I especially love their matching envelopes. The envelopes are lined and they come with self-adhesive strips. Recipients often comment how thrilled they are to receive what is a truly personal letter/note, etc., contained in a really high quality envelope.

  5. Which paper would you recommend for dual shading inks like Ink Studio 143. I am looking for a paper that will show the complex undertones of shading inks. Hi

    1. Post

      Tanja, I’d recommend any paper that shows a high amount of sheen, so papers like Tomoe River, Cosmo Air Light, Life, Midori, and Black n Red should all work great. I really like inks like this and have had great results with these papers. You’ll also want the right nib to show them off. I find wet, broad nibs work much better than fine nibs do.

  6. Thank you John. I am usually using broad nibs
    Have you used Sailor/Shikiori/ Nioi-Sumire?
    I have used it in my TWsBi D.580 RG2/b nib and there is no shading at all on Tomoe River, even though the ink looks very complex on the swatch. Fuji-Sugata on the other hand shows beautiful shading in a Lamy Safari /b nib.
    Do you know if a Japanese pen like the Falcon with a medium soft or broad nib would make a big difference? I am asking because of the huge price difference with those types of pens, is the outcome on paper significantly different in your experience.
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Post

      I haven’t used the Nioi-Sumire before, but have used the Fuji-Sugata and agree it has great shading. In my experience, a soft nib will only show improved shading if you write in cursive. If you print, the bounce of the nib lays down too much ink on each line to get any shading, but in cursive there is typically more shading with a very wet, soft nib like a Falcon. Full disclosure: I don’t have a Falcon, but am making assumptions based on my experience writing with other soft or flex nibs.

  7. Hi John. I’m looking into getting in writing letters and I would like to add scents to them for personalization. I was wondering which paper would absorb scents the best without leaving oil stains on the paper?

    1. Post

      That’s a really good question, Joubert. I don’t think it’s a good idea to spray any scents directly onto the papers, as it may stain or make them not accept ink as well. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried it though, so it may work. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest adding the scent to a piece of paper you don’t plan to write on and put it in a box or bag with the paper you do plan to write on. Hopefully some of the scent will transfer to the writing paper without having to directly apply it.

      Let me know if you find something (or some paper) that works!

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