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What is tissue paper? Everything there is to know

With winter upon us, you may find yourself adding tissues to your shopping list to help with a cold. But tissue paper is also an amazing material for gift wrapping, as well as offering exceptional packaging protection for fragile or sensitive items.

In today’s post we’re focusing fully on tissue paper which can be used to protect some less fragile goods in transport and is commonly used to add decoration and colour to gifts. We’ll explore the history, as well as how it’s made and sold across the UK.

Coloured tissue paper for craft or gift wrap

So, what exactly is tissue paper?

Simply, it is a super lightweight paper type usually made from recycled paper pulp. The term ‘tissue paper’ covers a wide range of different products including paper towels, toilet tissue, facial tissues, wrapping tissue, and many more.

So let’s start at the beginning – when was tissue paper invented? This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as it isn’t well documented. The earliest known use of paper as a wrapping and padding material was in China 2nd century BC. Over time, product wrapping and transportation of goods became crucial to business and the global economy, so the thick paper originally used to wrap and protect evolved into the tissue paper we know and use today. There are many other materials suitable for protecting items in transport, take a look at our protective packaging range for more.

It’s not known exactly who invented tissue paper, but the evolution of this material could be linked to Joseph Gayetty’s invention of toilet tissue in 1857, which uses a similar production process to tissue paper.

How is tissue paper made?

How tissue paper is made

Source: http://processengineering.co.uk/article/2011773/saica-starts-new-rec

To understand how it is made we need to start at the beginning and ask what is tissue paper made of? Tissue paper is made using paper pulp (wood fibre) or recycled paper materials such as cardboard, newspapers, or certain types of juice carton. The wet pulp is then rolled on a paper machine until the desired thickness is achieved. It’s dried in a large steam heated section of the machine and rolled onto huge cylinders called logs ready to be cut to size.

Sometimes as tissue paper ages it can become acidic and brittle. This acidity could cause damage to sensitive items being stored within it, such as clothes and books. This has led to the creation of acid free tissue paper.

But exactly what is acid free tissue paper and how does it differ from standard tissue?

Acid free tissue paper is specifically processed to remove the agents from standard tissue that turn acidic over time. This makes it ideal for storage of products or items such as jewellery, fabric, crockery, ornaments and antiques.

You may wonder is all tissue paper acid free? Put simply no – both types of tissue are available and are used for different purposes. Acid free tissue paper has a wide range of uses with more fragile or delicate items, however standard tissue paper can be used for many things including general wrapping, bottle wrapping, as a filler for gift boxes and gift bags as well as countless uses in crafts.

Tissue paper is a relatively inexpensive way to brighten the unboxing experience, adding another layer of excitement to the theatre of receiving a gift. The huge range of colours and finishes available make it suitable for any occasion from Weddings to Birthdays, Christmas and beyond!

What is the difference between crepe paper and tissue paper?

Crepe paper is similar to tissue paper but difference between the two starts in the manufacturing process. Crepe paper starts life as tissue paper, then a thin layer of adhesive is applied over the tissue paper and scraped with a blade. This creates a gathered, crinkled effect. Crepe paper is often used in crafts and is also the backing for various types of tape, including masking tape and electrical tape.

What is a ream of tissue paper?

You’ll have no doubt heard the term – a “ream” which is one unit of paper in which the sheets are all the same size and quality. Reams are regulated in the UK by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) to ensure manufacturers and retailers sell the same quantity of paper in a single ream. But how many sheets are there in a ream of tissue paper? The international standard quantity for a ream of tissue paper is 480 sheets.

A pile of coloured tissue paper reams

With 480 sheets in a ream, you may be wondering how much does tissue paper weigh? One ream of tissue paper which about the same as 3x 1 litre bottles of water. We also sell our shredded tissue paper in 3kg boxes, however you can buy this in a variety of weights according to your selected retailer.

All paper types come in a variety of thicknesses which is measured in Grams per Square Metre (GSM). GSM is a numerical scale, the lower the number, the thinner the paper. Generally tissue paper ranges from 10 to 35 GSM. For comparison, office printer paper is typically 70 to 100 GSM and greeting cards are 250+ GSM.

If you’d like more information about tissue paper, our range of protective packaging products, or help on selecting the right packaging for your business simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.