When I started making cards I thought all cardstock was equal. I could not have been more wrong.
I am not going to get in to the specialty cardstock, i.e. there is cardstock for just about every task. My goal here is about the bones of a card, the card base.
Card stock, sometimes spelled “cardstock”, is thicker and more durable than regular printer paper, but it’s thinner and more flexible than cardboard. This balance between durability and flexibility makes cardstock ideal for a number of crafting and design applications.
Card stock is typically smoother and more generic in appearance, and is often measured and sold according to caliper, or thickness in points.
Cover stock is often coated and textured, and is typically measured by basis weight.
Card stock is made from Hardwood and Softwood materials. Hardwood provides for proper formation and Softwood provides the strength. But, not all Mills use the same ratio, hence we have a large variety of card stock with different weights, qualities and finishes.
Paper Weight plays a major roll in the look and feel, as well as the quality of card stock. It is confusing, as different types of paper can have the same weight in pounds yet be a different thickness.
Basic size, or basic sheet size, is the size of a paper before it is cut down to common paper sizes like U.S. letter or legal size. Before paper is cut, it is weighed and categorized according to its “basis weight”, or how much 500 sheets of that paper weighs (in pounds). To make matters more complicated, different paper grades have different basic sheet sizes:
As to sizes, we have numerous sizes of paper available. Within the range is sizes available there is a standard Crafting Size, which are the common sizes used in Scrap-booking, being in inches 12 x 12 and 8 1/2 x 11.
To make this a bit easier, following is a chart showing GSM and Weight for quality card stock.
I prefer to use 110 to 120lb. card stock for my card base and 100lb for added panels etc. Previously I have used Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 97 Brightness card stock in 110lb. It is beautiful paper, but it has become too expensive in Canada given the differences in the Dollar.
This caused me to go looking, and I have settled on Accent Opaque Digital Cover White Smooth with 97 Brightness in the preferred Blue/White Shade. Digital means it works with High Production Printing Presses. I do not use my card stock in a printer and that it can be used for printing presses is just more information.
Compared side by side and feel wise to Neenah 110 lb there is only a slight difference in the colour, with the Accent card stock being brighter. I have stamped on the Accent, sponged, used my ink brushes, my Copic Markers and did some Colour Pencil this morning. There is no differences between how it accepts the method or the colours.
I have only touched on the Tip about paper. Where I go to read all about paper is The Paper Mill Store Paper Facts.
I hope this has helped you in some way better understand paper for card makers. Following are links to the paper I now use, Accent Card Stock from Amazon US and CAN.