Cardstock Paper: Types of Cardstock and Cardstock Crafts

6 minute read

Cardstock is one of the most basic paper crafting supplies you need to have in your crafting tool kit. If you have been into any kind of DIY crafts, there’s a chance that you have probably used them before. If this is your first time hearing about it, sit back, relax, and keep reading! This quick guide on cardstock papers is especially for you!

Cardstock paper and envelopes

What is cardstock?

Cardstock is a thicker, heavier, and more durable type of paper. It usually has a smooth surface and can be metallic, textured, or glossy. The fact that it is sturdier and heavier than your average paper makes it perfect for arts and crafts. Moreover, it is more flexible and thinner than paperboard and cardboard. It goes without saying that cardstock paper is the best paper for card making, scrapbooking, and other paper crafts.

Handmade card with colored cardstock

Rustic Linen Stamp Set

Generally, anything that requires more durability uses this type of paper over standard paper such as:

  • Business cards
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbook pages
  • Handmade greeting cards
  • Wedding invitations (or any kind of invitation)
  • Playing cards
  • Catalog covers

A2 white cardstock paper

Classic Crest Solar White Cardstock

Cover stock vs Cardstock

There are a few differences between cover stock vs cardstock. Whereas cover stock is usually textured, with a glossy surface, the latter has a smoother surface. These two also have different weights and thicknesses. Because of its more polished and shinier finish, cover stock is commonly used for business cards and book covers.

The main thing you need to remember when identifying cover stock vs cardstock is the way they are measured. Cardstock paper is usually measured by its weight (pounds) and size (inches). For example, the standard weight is 80 lbs, and the typical size for a handmade card would be 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. Cover stock, on the other hand, is measured by thickness and in points instead of inches.

Fun Fact! The history of card making can be traced back to either the ancient Chinese sending greeting cards on New Year’s Day or the early Egyptians sending greetings using papyrus scrolls. According to Wikipedia, it was in the 1850s when “the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing and mechanization.”

Read up on the history, manufacturing, and other fun facts about card stock sheets!

What is cardstock paper used for?

With everything going digital in this day and age, you might be hard-pressed to find things to make out of paper. However, the paper crafting industry has seen a considerable rise in recent years, thanks to the power of social media. What used to be a hobby for middle-aged women or retirees is now being embraced by millennials and even a few Gen Z. One quick search for things you can make out of paper on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook will give you tons of fresh ideas and unique inspiration.

Glitter cardstock set

Sparkle & Dazzle Glitter Gradient Cardstock Bundle

Types of Cardstock

Cardstock paper isn’t just for making greeting cards anymore. Nowadays, you’ll find a wide range of sizes, colors, and textures for a variety of paper crafting projects. Before we list the various uses of craft cardstock, let’s take a look at the different types of cardstock available in the market today. These are categorized according to sizes, textures, weights, finishes, and colors.

Parchment cardstock paper

Parchment Cardstock

1. Sizes - When it comes to dimensions, it’s not as simple as small or large cardstock paper. Each specific size caters to a different type of paper craft. For instance, the standard size for cardstock paper is 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. Recently, a card making craze has taken the world of paper crafting by storm - slimline cards. The sizes of these cards vary, but they should fit into a #10 envelope or a business envelope. Here are some of the commonly used sizes of cardstock paper.  

  1. 6” x 6” 
  2. 8” x 8”
  3. 8.5” x 11” - This is the standard size cardstock paper, which is used to make handmade cards.
  4. 12” x 12” - This is the standard size for scrapbook layouts.
  5. 3.5” x 8.5” - The size for the popular slimline cards.

Of course, you can always buy large cardstock paper and score or fold them according to your needs. Since this type of paper is durable, it is easily customizable.

Woodgrain bark cardstock paper

Woodgrain Bark Cardstock

2. Textures - When it comes to using decorative cardstock, texture is essential. While a smooth and plain white card stock is the popular choice, that shouldn’t limit your creative juices, especially when creating cardstock crafts such as personalized handmade cards, scrapbook pages, or art journals. Choosing the suitable types of cardstock for your DIY craft will either make or break your project. You can add an instant wow factor to any paper crafting project by picking one with metallic or glitter texture as a base or embellishment.

  1. Smooth card stock
  2. Metallic card stock
  3. Glossy card stock
  4. Parchment card stock
  5. Linen card stock
  6. Felt card stock
  7. Cotton card stock
  8. Vellum
  9. Woodgrain card stock
  10. Glitter card stock
  11. Kraft card stock
  12. Rough card stock
  13. Organic or natural card stock

3. Weights - GSM (Grams per Square Meter) is used to measure paper. Measurement is done from a sample sheet cut to one square meter in size. According to this article, “No matter the length or width the paper becomes, the weight measurement is always taken from the square meter sheet.”

Scrapbook layout with gradient cardstock paper

Gradient Cardstock Set - New Purple

For instance, the lower a paper’s GSM is, the lighter and thinner it is. Automatically, paper with higher GSM will be heavier, thicker, and much more durable. In short, the higher the GSM, the sturdier the paper is. 

Learn more about the standard card stock weight in GSM and where to use them.

  1. 350-450 GSM – Often used for business cards, handmade cards, and cardstock paper for invitations because it is the thickest and sturdiest.
  2. 210-300 GSM – This is often the choice for magazine covers, watercolors, paintings, and high-quality flyers. While it is stiffer and thicker, it is still bendable.
  3. 120-140 GSM – Have you seen those movie posters in the theater, product posters in shops, and other promotional posters? This is the usual weight of these types of paper. 
  4. 90-100 GSM – This is the weight of most types of household printer paper.
  5. 75-90 GSM – While not ideal for heavy inks and alcohol markers, this is the typical paper used in sketch pads or notebooks.

DIY notebook

Patterned Paper

4. Finish - Like texture, the cardstock paper’s finish will also depend on your chosen paper craft. For cardmakers and scrapbookers, a smooth or matte finish is ideal. It is not shiny, and it is perfect for writing or journaling using pens. You don’t want something too shimmery, shiny, or glossy if you’re writing something on it. Although, other finishes are used a lot in various paper crafting and card making techniques.

  1. Smooth
  2. Matte
  3. Glossy
  4. Satin
  5. Embossed
  6. Iridescent
  7. Coated
  8. Frosted
  9. Pearl
  10. Metallic

Colored cardstock paper

Altenew Cardstock Paper

5. Colors - Decorative cardstock sets often come in a wide range of colors. This is excellent news for crafters who are a bit OCD and want to color-coordinate their DIY projects. Gradient card stock sets are a hot commodity these days. These are perfect for layered die-cuts and themed paper crafts. It is definitely a game-changer that helps take the guesswork out for card makers and scrapbookers.

Now that you know more about card stock papers browse our wide selection here!

What can you make with cardstock?

Are you looking for things to make out of paper? Well, you’re in the right place. 

Whether you’re into arts and crafts or simply want to create something handmade, there are many quick and easy DIY paper crafts that you can quickly whip up. You don’t even need to be that artsy or creative to make something out of paper!

Handmade card with gradient cardstock paper

Gradient Cardstock

We’ve listed 15 must-try cardstock crafts that you can create in under 10 minutes!

  1. Handmade greeting cards
  2. Scrapbook pages or scrapbook albums
  3. Art journals
  4. Traveler’s notebook
  5. Traveler’s journal
  6. Mixed media art
  7. Gift box
  8. Paper flowers
  9. DIY bookmarks
  10. DIY gift tags
  11. Hanging home decor
  12. Christmas and holiday decorations
  13. Party banners and decorations
  14. Desk decor and organizers
  15. Invitations (weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, office parties, etc.)

DIY bookmarks

Everlasting Happiness Stamp Set

Now that you have a general idea of things you can make out of paper, it’s time to get crafty! Make sure you invest in high-quality and decent ones instead of cheap cardstock. Think of this as an investment. It’s always great to have a few different types of cardstock on hand in case you need to whip up a handmade card or get involved in something artsy and creative.

If you’re looking for high-quality and affordable ones, try our colored card stock papers!

Your Ultimate Guide to Paper Crafting

Click on each topic and subtopic to read more!