What Kind of Foundation Paper Should You Use?

Ok, guys – Mom + I have been on a foundation paper piecing journey!  It all started when we began dabbling with Foundation Paper Piecing Design in EQ8 (Click Here for that blog post).  From there, we branched out into this fun quilting niche!  We soon learned that there’s a lot to learn about FPP-ing!

And one thing we learned is that there are so many options when it comes to the actual foundation piecing paper!

We did all kinds of google searches.  There are pros + cons to all of them – we didn’t know where to start! 

So we decided to try 4 different papers and see for ourselves what worked best for us.

Foundation Piecing Paper: A Quilty Investigation

We used a set of 5 criteria to analyze the following different foundation paper options. We rated each paper on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being AWESOME and 1, not-so-awesome:

1. Freezer Paper

2. Good Ol’ Typing Paper

3. June Tailor foundation paper

4. Carol Doak foundation paper

The Criteria:

  • Printer Worthiness
  • Transparency
  • Sewing Experience
  • Reuse + Ease of Tearing Away Paper
  • Cost

1. The Printer Worthiness Test

All of the paper can be printed on by the ink jet printer. 

Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

Winner: A 4-Way Tie!  All receive a 5.

2. Paper Transparency Test

Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

If you hold the paper and fabric up to a light, you can see through all of the papers.  The only one that is transparent enough so you can see through it when laying on table is the June Tailor foundation paper piecing paper.  You will need a strong light when using all the other papers. 

Winner:  June Tailor receives a 5. (Carol Doak a 3, typing paper a 2, freezer paper a 2)

3. Sewing Experience

Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

All of the papers, except freezer paper, have the stitches going through the seam lines.  The seam is sewn next to the freezer paper fold.  Because the stitch is next to the fold on the freezer paper, the point is not perfectly ¼ inch from the seam line.  It will be cut off when the blocks are sewn together.  Not being a perfect point defeats the purpose of foundation paper piecing!

Winners: All, except Freezer Paper.  Freezer paper gets a 2.  AND, freezer paper sticks to the presser foot + tends to crumple. No.Good.

4. Re-use + Ease of Tearing Away

Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

Only freezer paper can be used more than once.  Because we used a tiny stitch length (1.5), all of the sheets tore away just fine. 

The June Tailor and Carol Doak foundation paper sheets are thinner and easier to remove than the typing paper.

Winner in the Reuse + Ease of Tearing Category: June Tailor + Carol Doak

June Tailor receives a 5, Carol Doak a 5, typing paper a 3, and freezer paper a 3.

(Theoretically, you can use the freezer paper more than once, but we found that it was not very sticky after the first use.)

5. Cost

Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

You can probably find deals on all these options, but at the time of writing this post, June Tailor came in at a whopping $14.46 for 50 sheets. Carol Doak is $13.46 for 100 sheets, freezer paper is $8.99 for 30 sheets, typing paper $5.07 for 200 sheets.

Winner (if you’re looking for least expensive): Typing Paper (but you get what you pay for if you know what I mean…)

Foundation Paper Piecing Experiment Conclusions

For us, the June Tailor paper was the clear winner.  It’s the priciest, but we love its transparency, and ease of use.  If you’re going to the trouble of intricate piecing, then we recommend going for the good stuff.

What about you?  What’s your go-to foundation paper piecing paper?

Leave a comment below.

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Jenn + Linda

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6 thoughts on “What Kind of Foundation Paper Should You Use?”

  • I have been purchasing “newsprint” on Amazon for 500 sheets between $9.00-$13.00, depending on the time of order. To me and a friend that do a lot of paper piecing, we can’t tell the difference in Carol Doak and this less expensive paper!

  • I have used Carol Doak paper for many years. I’ve been happy with it so I haven’t switched. Originally I tried copy paper by was not happy with it. I think the Carol Doak paper is cost effective and just works well.

  • Tearing out paper from each block would push me over the edge–I’m teetering already. I use interfacing–the thinnest with no stretch that I can find. Some have 1 in squares printed on them which helps sometimes. I print my block on regular paper and go over lines with a fine point sharpie. I use that paper behind the interface and trace the block while I watch TV or I’m a passenger on a car trip. Sounds like a lot of work but it is relaxing. Tearing out the paper is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. I made a huge pineapple quilt completely by hand using this technique. It got me thru a lot of band/junior symphony practices. It also made a lot of strangers ask about quilting!

  • Long time foundation paper piecing quilter here. I’ve used the Carol Doak paper in the past, but the newsprint-weight paper from Amazon is far cheaper & works just as well.

    Copier paper is ok, but is much heavier than newsprint-weight paper. Tearing it off can loosen stitching! There is a lighter weight copier paper out now, 16 lb EcoPrint. Still not as lightweight as newsprint, but better than regular 20 lb copier paper.

    I’ve not been able to use the newsprint weight paper for a while now, since the one ink jet printer I was using died. I’d love to hear from folks who use the lightweight paper successfully what printers they use, make & model please!

  • Tearing the paper off at the end is my least favorite part of the process. Fortunately I have a husband who doesn’t mind doing it while watching TV!

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