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Paper Source Photo Cards review

This service is pretty expensive but they do have a lovely selection of photo card designs

Paper Source Photo Cards Review
(Image: © Paper Source)

Our Verdict

Paper Source is undeniably a great choice if you're looking for beautifully designed cards, but when it comes to photo cards we found their selection lacking and overpriced for the quality we received.

For

  • Stylish designs from top designers
  • Plenty of envelope and custom options

Against

  • Limited variety of holiday cards
  • Not the best quality printing
  • A more expensive option
  • Minimum order of 20 cards

Paper Source is pretty expensive since it uses designer brands for its best photo cards designs. If you’re looking to make a fancy card, this could be the right service since they offer envelope customization options not offered by most other companies. However, for the average photo card, this company is just too expensive.

Paper Source outsources designs and card themes from designer brands like Kate Spade New York, Paperless Post, Kelly Wearstler and Rifle Paper Co. Since there are a lot of big names to order from, the cost of these cards can be rather pricey. As a matter of fact, you’ll have to spend more than $35 cards to get any cards. Like Minted, the minimum number of cards you can order from this company is 20. These 20-card packs sell for $2.35 per card, which is much more than the average service. What’s more, it’s the only site we’ve reviewed which charges for envelopes - $0.50 per envelope. For a more affordable service, consider Mixbook.

It was hard for us to compare pricing to other sites as Paper Source had no options for the type of card we based our comparisons on. We tested 5x7, folded cards with three photos on each of our tests, but the search and filter option on the Paper Source site made it hard for us to find any folded custom photo cards. Instead, we based our pricing test on a flat lay card, which usually costs significantly less than a folded card due to the fact there’s no inside to customize. We found that we could order 20 flat lay cards for $47 excluding taxes and shipping, which is steep for a card of this type. A bulk order got the price of 100 cards down to $140, which is expensive when considering that 100 flat cards with these same features cost only $99 at Mixbook.

Paper Source Photo Cards review: Quality and services

  • Limited paper choice
  • Below-average quality photo printing
  • Durable cardstock

Considering these cards cost so much, we found it odd that the company only has one paper choice: 130 lb cardstock. There are foil finish options, however, if you’d like to spice your cards up a bit. Admittedly, this card is one of the most durable that we ordered. It will take more force to bend or fold it in the mail. Cardstock doesn’t print as crisp as photo paper does, so it wasn’t surprising to find that the images came out a bit grainy. Our testers also noted that the darker spots of the images lost some definition. However, the overall hue and saturation of the images turned out really good.

A bigger problem pointed out by our testers are the super thin white lines separating some of our images. This might have something to do with how the images were placed on the card during the creation process or it might be a design flaw. Either way, the fact that it’s possible to print them like this is an issue.

This card printed double sided with photos on the back as well as the front. This specific design even allowed us to add a small message. The text, though small, printed clearly and looks very nice. The design we chose comes from Paperless Post, a company that specializes in sending ecards instead of physical cards. They partnered up with Paper Source so you can have physical copies made. A potential downside to this is that Paperless Post’s name and logo as well as Paper Source’s website are printed on the bottom backside of the card. Their combined logos take up about a square inch of space and might be a distraction from your photos and message.

(Image credit: Future)

Paper Source Photo Cards review: Product options and creation 

  • Standard customization options 
  • Good envelope options
  • Limited holiday coverage

Paper Source has the standard options to change font, text color and add your own photo. The back of the flat card had the chance to write a personalized message and add a variety of templates for more photos and background colors. Not nearly as customizable as sites such as Zazzle, but the main bases are covered. 

The interface, like most of the others, did tell us if our images weren’t high enough resolution to print right. While Paper Source is more expensive than other services, it also offers mailing options that others don’t. You can choose between eight different envelope colors including green, red, white, grey, brown and gold. For an extra fancy touch, there are 12 inner linings to choose from ranging from gold and silver to graphite and dark blue, so you’ll be sure to match your card.

This service can even have your address printed on the backside of the envelope. This is especially useful for wedding invitations, save the dates and graduation cards. If you pay extra, Paper Source will even print recipients addresses. However, they will not mail your cards for you.

The holiday coverage is ok but you won’t find cards for holidays such as Diwali or Kwanzaa. The designs they do offer are beautiful and give you plenty of variety to choose from. This service does not offer same day pickup, but they do offer express shipping. The rush service costs around $10 on top of other fees and prices. Shipping will change depending on where you live and what time of year it is.  

Paper Source Photo Cards review: Help and support 

  • Phone and email options
  • FAQ page

You can email and call Paper Source, and they're pretty active on social media so it might be worth trying them there too. There's also an FAQ page on their website with lots of information. Not the best support options we found, but nothing to complain about either.

Should you order Paper Source Photo Cards?

Paper Source gives you access to plenty of beautiful designer photo cards, however it is one of the most expensive photo card services we tested with poor printing quality for the price we paid. But unless you’re really wanting to make something with a special design, you can easily get good quality photo cards elsewhere for much cheaper.