CB21-075 - Cardstock thickness guide (Paper weight chart)

Cardstock thickness guide (Paper weight chart)

Cardstock thickness guide: What are the thicknesses of cardstock?

Cardstock typically ranges in paper weight between 60 and 146 lbs or between thicknesses of 0.188 and 0.445 mm. You may also find cardstock in grams per square meter (gsm), which indicates the paper weight in grams over one square meter. Typically, the higher the number, the thicker the cardstock will be.

Cardstock comes in many different thicknesses and weights, sometimes even materials. Picking the best material for any given project can be an intimidating task, but with the right material, the possibilities are endless.

This article explores the different thicknesses of cardstock and what different weights are considered best for various projects.

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What Are the Different Cardstock Thicknesses?

Cardstock thickness ranges from 0.188 mm all the way up to 0.445 mm.

Cardstock Paper Weight Paper weight (Grams per square meter) Thickness (mm)
60 lbs 163 gsm 0.188
75 lbs 178 gsm 0.229
80 lbs 216 gsm 0.234
90 lbs 244 gsm 0.241
93 lbs 252 gsm 0.25
100 lbs 271 gsm 0.289
105 lbs 286 gsm 0.33
120 lbs 312 gsm 0.38
146 lbs 385 gsm 0.445

General Rule: The higher the number, the greater the weight and thickness.

These thicknesses can be used in paper flyers, business cards, and wedding menus. And, of course, all manner of paper crafting.

Most paper weight is shown on the packaging in pounds. You may also find paper in GSM or grams per square meter, which is how much the paper weighs in grams over one square meter.

Uses For Different Cardstock Thicknesses (mm)

The following is a list of different cardstock uses and some ideas of what crafters will make within the thickness range: 

Cardstock Thickness from 0.188 – 0.229 mm: Used often for Flyers, Brochures, Takeout Menus, and Booklets.

Cardstock Thickness from 0.234 – 0.241 mm: Used often for Coupons and Tickets.

Cardstock Thickness from 0.25 – 0.33 mm: Used often for Wedding Cards and Greeting Cards.

Cardstock Thickness from 0.38 – 0.445 mm: Used often for Booklet Covers, Presentation Folders, and Table-Top Menus.

Thicker Cardstocks are used for Heavy-Duty Business Cards, Postcards, and Tags.

Heavier weights are unlikely to work with printers and are better for more hands-on craft projects or special machines.

Cardstock Thicknesses for Different Craft Projects

As you can see, there are a wide variety of cardstock thicknesses. So how do you know which cardstock to choose for your project? Let’s take a look at some of the most common cardstock thicknesses for each type of paper craft.

Greeting card paper thickness

For homemade Wedding Cards and Greeting Cards, professional standard cardstock weights will do well for craft enthusiasts. However, if you’re looking for a cardstock thickness that’s easy to fold, you can make it a little lighter.

You can use even the thinnest weight cardstock if that’s your preference.

Scrapbooking paper thickness

You can do scrapbooking in many paperweights and thicknesses. The most common thicknesses for scrapbooking are between 0.241 – 0.38 mm.

The higher level thicknesses are used more often for scrapbooking backgrounds. Lower level thicknesses can be used as patterns, borders, and decorations.

Origami paper thickness

Origami is not a craft that works with cardstock weight and thickness paper. This is a craft that prefers lighter weights and thicknesses. 

Paper thickness for origami tends to be about one-third of the lightest forms of cardstocks. Some origami experts will use lighter cardstock thicknesses to fold more durable artistic options.

Die-Cutting paper thickness

You can use the thinner to medium cardstocks well in die-cutting. Die-cutting takes cardstocks between 0.188 and 0.289 mm. Heavier cardstocks tend to be used for more intricate die-cutting and are also recommended for metallic die cuts.

Embossing paper thickness

Embossing uses cardstocks from the upper end of the die-cutting cardstock range and heavier papers. Experts recommend using cardstock between 0.241 – 0.4 mm in thickness.

Heavier embossing jobs and metallic embossing tasks are more suited for heavier cardstocks.

Painting paper thickness

Heavy cardstocks can do wonderfully for painting projects. Watercolor, in particular, takes well to the heavier cardstocks over 0.445 mm thickness. Heavier paints may use this level thickness of cardstock or the extra-heavy types used for heavy-duty business cards.

Stamp Crafting paper thickness

Stamping crafts generally work best with the middle-weight types of cardstock. Stamping enthusiasts recommend cardstock in the 0.234 – 0.33 mm range.

FAQs: Cardstock thickness

Here are some of the most asked questions when it comes to using the right cardstock.

What Can I Use the Heaviest Cardstock For?

The heaviest cardstock is often used for double-thick business cards, book covers, and heavy folders. Heavy-duty cardstock can also be used as a form of gift wrap for those who like to make their own wrapping paper.

Is Cardstock the Same as Crafting Paper?

Both cardstock and crafting paper can be used in many of the same activities. Crafting paper even has some of the same thicknesses as cardstock. However, Cardstock is usually a smooth paper, where crafting paper is more likely to be a rougher texture.

Is There Anything I Need to Know About Using Cardstock in Crafts?

The heavier cardstocks should be scored before folding to avoid unnecessary damage to the fibers.

While the weights and thicknesses given are the standard ideal cardstocks for given crafts, you can use any thickness and weight of cardstock for just about any craft.

For heavier cardstocks, you may need special equipment. Many heavy cardstocks don’t fit in standard printers.

Are There Any Paper Crafts That Cardstock Can’t Be Used On?

Technically you can use cardstock for almost anything. But there are a few crafts it won’t work for. Any crafts recommending paper thinner than newspaper will typically not do well with cardstock thicknesses.

Summary: Cardstock thickness guide

As you can see, cardstock is often shown in paper weight in pounds or gsm. You can also find cardstock thickness in millimeters. However, the heavier the paper, the thicker the cardstock will be.