When I was newly introduced to the creative world of paper crafting, I knew that not all paper was created equal but, did not initially know the differences between the many paper choices available and how those choices could make a huge difference in the overall look and quality of my finished product.
I don’t believe that we as paper crafters, need to know all things about all paper types, but feel that a basic understanding of the weights and quality of paper types can help give us an extra portion of satisfaction when choosing the best type of paper needed for making our creations.
So, let’s get started with some basic paper differences…
Differences Between Cardstock and Construction Paper
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. Construction 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 than 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. Construction Paper could be used for layering and other card making elements, but is just not a good fit for a card base. Construction Paper is, a staple in art classrooms and widely used for children’s crafts across the country.
Construction Paper 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.
Cardstock, sometimes spelled card stock (two words) and also referred to as cover stock is stronger and thicker than construction paper, but is not as thick as cardboard. It comes in a variety of textures, patterns and finish types. Cardstock is distinguished by its weight, fiber, color, finish and size. The 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)
The Paper Mill Store is an online paper and printing company. I have no affiliation with them, but after researching the internet for quality information to help explain and understand the potentially complicated world of PAPER, I discovered that they created a comprehensive 5 Part mini training called The Ultimate Guide to Cardstock. I don’t feel you need to read the series of posts line by line (unless you want to), but I believe, scanning through the posts and picking out some of the best nuggets of information could help you become a stronger paper crafter just by knowing some of these important details.
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.