Not all paper is created equal. However, knowing the differences between your available paper choices and how those choices effect your finished product can be invaluable knowledge.
As crafters, we don’t need to necessarily know all things about all paper types. But, having a basic understanding of the weights and quality of paper types can help. Knowing some basic attributes of paper options can give you an extra portion of satisfaction when choosing the best type of paper needed for making your creations.
So, let’s get started with some basic paper differences…
Cardstock VS. Construction Paper
Features of Construction Paper
Has a slightly rough surface due to the main source material being wood pulp which is often visible on the paper’s surface. This type of paper was originally used to make paper bags to store sugar, so is often referred to as sugar paper.
This type of paper is thicker than the average printer paper and comes in a variety of colors and used for a variety of general crafting projects.
Though it is thicker than printer paper, it is a bit more fragile and not as durable as cardstock and does not have the strength and durability needed to make quality hand stamped card bases that hold up.
Uses of Construction Paper
Used for layering and other card making elements, but is just not a good fit for a card base.
A staple in art classrooms and widely used for children’s crafts across the country.
Has different weights and styles. If interested in a few more details on the differences on the two types of Construction Paper, sizing and weights, visit here.
Distinguishing Features of Cardstock
- Sometimes referred to as cover stock
- Stronger and thicker than construction paper, but is not as thick as cardboard.
- Comes in a variety of textures, patterns and finish types.
- Distinguished by its weight, fiber, color, finish and size.
- Interchangeably spelled as one or two words.
- Biggest distinguishing factor between cardstock and other types of paper is the weight.
The WiseGeek.com explains that paper manufacturers use several indicators to describe paper weight:
Manufacturers describe paper in several ways: using point sizes that measure the thickness of a single sheet in thousandths of an inch; and by “basis weight,” a measurement in pounds of the weight of 500 sheets of the standard size of the paper. The size of different types of paper is not always consistent, however, making comparisons by “basis weights” complicated. Many manufacturers consider the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) paper industry standard the most consistent way to compare paper weights. The ISO measures weight in grams per square meter (gsm). Using this measurement system makes it much easier for customers and manufacturers to recognize cardstock and compare various types of paper.
Ultimate Guide To Cardstock (PDF link below)
After researching for quality information to explain and understand the complicated world of paper, I discovered an online paper and printing company, The Paper Mill Store .
They created a comprehensive 5 Part mini training called The Ultimate Guide to Cardstock. Don’t feel you need to read the series of posts line by line (unless you want to). The more nuggets of information you know could help you become a stronger paper crafter.
Here is an outline along with the post links for your crafting edification and knowledge:
- Part 1: Introduction to Cardstock – explains difference between cardstock and cover stock
- Part 2: Weights and Sizes – defines paper weights (this is probably the most important post of the series to take note of)
- Part 3: Finishes and Colors – takes a close look at the differences between textures and types of papers
- Part 4: Printing and Finishing Services – valuable if you are wanting to print digital images, digital stamps, digital scrapbooking papers and more
- Part 5: Uses for Cardstock – This post shares some great comparisons for which paper type to use for your different projects
Ultimate Guide to Cardstock PDF – I strongly suggest printing this out and using for future reference.
I hope you find this information helpful.