A deckle edge is the name given to the irregular hand-torn appearance on the edge of a paper.
Closeup of the deckle edge detail on the corner of a white portrait folder.
The name “deckle” comes from a tool called a deckle, which is a wooden frame used in the process of papermaking. With handmade paper, as the wet pulp dries it seeps between the deckle and the mould. During this process there is some run-off which gradually thins at the edges resulting in irregular edging.
It is important to note that deckle edges are not perfectly straight like most papers we are accustomed to. Some would describe them as being rough, ragged, raw, frayed or uneven in nature. Depending on if the effect is a natural result of papermaking—or if it is artificially produced with a machine—there can be some variation in the degree of unevenness.
With handmade art paper, the deckled edges tend to be a soft, feathery edge that gradually becomes thinner at the end. Since it is softer and thinner, it is also more delicate. This is common with books, scrapbooking, and watercolor papers.
Many wedding invitations, stationery, greeting cards, cardstock, and higher end paper products also have a deckled edge. These often have what is called a faux deckle edge, where a machine cuts the edge of the paper to create a ragged (somewhat rippled) decorative edging for ornamental effect. Since these edges are cut rather than created naturally, they tend to be stronger.
Several of our products feature a deckle edge including our Contemporary Portrait Folders and Classic Double View Portrait Folders. Since the edges of our folders are machine cut with a special deckle die, they are quite sturdy and suitable for commercial use for portrait, school, and wedding photographers. Deckle edge folders also work well for upscale event photography, for photo giveaways at galas, fundraisers, cruises, restaurants or any event that wishes to have a unique formal look for their folders.