CB21-066 - how to make cardstock glossy

How to make cardstock glossy

While it is advisable to purchase glossy cardstock if you genuinely need it, there are multiple ways to turn a standard piece of thick paper or card into something with a bit of a lustrous sheen. You may even have the materials lying around your home.

To make cardstock glossy, you will either need clear candle wax or a spray gloss primer. While the finish is not going to be the same as glossy paper, it will likely be fine for most purposes.

On this page, we will go through a few ways that you can make cardstock glossy. We will also tell you when one option may be better than the other.

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How to make cardstock glossy

The best way to make cardstock glossy is to use a spray gloss primer and coat both sides of your cardstock. Alternatively, you can melt candle wax in a tray and dip your cardstock into the wax.

How Do You Use Candle Wax To Make Glossy Cardstock?

For this method, you will need the following:

  • Clear candle wax.
  • A heat proof container that is large enough for your paper to rest.
  • An oven

Do not use plastic containers for this. You should also avoid using a container that you plan to use for cooking. It is going to be tough to remove the wax.

Start by putting a good chunk of candle wax into your heat proof container. You want there to be enough wax so that the bottom of the container is completely covered when it melts. However, you don’t want there to be so much wax that you end up with a gooey mess. If this is your first time doing it, then it is very much going to be a case of experimenting. 

Put the heat proof container in the oven. The oven doesn’t need to be that hot. Candle wax melts somewhere between 130 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the wax has completely melted, pull the container out of the oven. Don’t forget to wear an oven glove! You will then need to dip the paper in the candle wax quickly. Make sure that you flip the paper over, so both sides end up covered in wax.

Pull the paper out of the wax and hang it up somewhere. It should take around 20-30 minutes to dry thoroughly.

When This Method Is Best Used

Candle wax won’t give the best finish when you have no other choice. It will provide a unique finish, but it may not have the glossiness you want. 

Do bear in mind that you won’t be able to write on the candle wax when it has dried. This means that this method will probably be best for cardstock you are already done with or something you plan to use with a die-cutter. 

How Do You Use Spray Gloss Primer To Make Glossy Cardstock?

This method is even easier. Here is what you will need:

  • A spray gloss primer
  • Somewhere to hang up the paper (plus a peg)

The steps for making cardstock glossy with spray gloss primer include:

  • Lay the paper down flat on a table. You may want to use a larger piece of paper as ‘backing.’ This will help to reduce the mess.
  • Spray an even coat of gloss primer on one side of the paper.
  • Hang the paper up to dry.
  • Once the paper has dried, repeat the process with the second side. 

When This Method Is Best Used 

When you don’t have any glossy paper.

While using a spray gloss primer will not give the same finish as glossy paper, it will come close. 

You can use gloss primer before or after you have used the paper. However, if you plan to write on the paper after spraying the primer onto it, you may want to give it a quick touch-up with a quick spray of primer. 

Can You Use Modge Podge To Make Cardstock Glossy?

Yes. Modge Podge will make your paper glossy. However, we tend not to use it for making something glossy. Modge Podge is more of a glue/sealer than it is a way to add gloss to something. 

Modge Podge can be sprayed directly onto the cardstock. If you want a glossy finish, make sure you purchase Modge Podge Gloss. 

Can You Use Clear Gloss Paint on Cardstock? 

Yes. Clear gloss paint will add a glossy finish to your cardstock. However, we suggest that you do not use gloss paint on cardstock. The finish will be brilliant, but using gloss paint is incredibly expensive. At that point, you may as well use ordinary glossy cardstock.

If you insist on using clear gloss paint, then make sure to paint an even layer onto the cardstock. Try to ensure that the paint layer is as thin as possible.

It may take several hours for the paint to dry. You will not be able to write anything onto the cardstock after. You may be able to use the paint-covered cardstock in a die cutter. 

Will Making Paper Glossy Ruin Anything On The Cardstock?

Making cardstock glossy should not ruin your project. You are much more likely to ruin the paper if you use clear candle wax. However, even with that, the risk is minimal. You may find that glossy primer will change the color of the paper ever so slightly, but that is about it. 

If you are a little bit worried about ruining your prized artwork, we suggest you test the method you plan to use on a scrap piece of paper. You may even want to try writing on it with the same pens/pencils that you plan to use. Let it dry. If nothing happens to the paper or ink on the page, then you should be safe.

Summary: How to make glossy cardstock

It is far better to purchase glossy cardstock than it is to make your own in almost all cases. It doesn’t matter what color cardstock you are after. We are sure you can find it in a glossy finish.

If you insist on making glossy cardstock yourself, the best option is to use a spray primer. If you want a slightly more unique look to your cardstock, you can also use clear candle wax.