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Cardstock Thickness Guide

Cardstock Thickness Guide

Choosing the right cardstock can be challenging when shopping online. Understanding measurements of weight and thickness can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help.  At Paperworks, our team of paper pros have created a simple, clear cardstock thickness guide to explain cardstock weights and help you find the perfect cardstock for any project.

In our comprehensive cardstock thickness guide, we’ll discuss what cardstock is, how cardstock weights are measured, what differentiates cardstock from other paper products, and common projects that cardstock is used for, to help you on your cardstock search. With our expertise and huge stock of cardstock products, we are confident that we can help you find exactly what you are looking for.

How thick is cardstock typically?

Like most paper products, cardstock comes in a wide range of weights and thicknesses. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cardstock thickness, and different projects call for different cardstock thicknesses. Depending on what you are planning to use your cardstock for, you’ll want to learn more about cardstock thickness and cardstock weight to ensure you find the right product for the task at hand.

Cardstock paper typically ranges from about 147 GSM (grams per square meter) to 640 GSM, which generally translates to 67lb bristol to 236lb cover.

Thinner cardstocks are typically used for: 

  • self-mailers
  • postcards
  • menus
  • posters

Thicker cardstocks are often used for: 

  • tabs
  • dividers 
  • manila folders
  • business cards
  • flat cards
  • invitations

Our Paperworks stock includes a wide variety of cardstock thicknesses for whatever type of project you are working on.

How is cardstock classified?

As a general rule, cardstock is thicker, sturdier and more durable than standard paper. 

Cardstock is typically classified by weight, measured in pounds (lbs) per 1000 sheets of paper. Cardstock weight ranges from around 65 lbs (thinnest cardstock) to 110 lbs (thickest cardstock). Cardstock can also be measured by GSM (grams per square meter). GSM refers to the actual weight of the cardstock sheet itself.

There are several commonly sized sheets that cardstock paper can be cut into. For posters and notices, 11x17 cover stock is most common. Legal size cardstock (8.5x14) is often used for menus, brochures and other professional documents and deliverables. 12x12 cardstock is frequently used for scrapbooking.

What is the most common cardstock thickness?

As mentioned, varying projects call for different cardstock thickness. 

Here are some of the most common cardstock thicknesses, and their typical usages:

65lb cover (176 GSM): on the thinner end of cardstock, this cardstock thickness is often used for posters, menus, greeting cards, postcards, tickets, and other crafts.

80lb cover (260 GSM): slightly sturdier than the thinnest cardstock, this cardstock thickness is frequently used for deliverables such as business cards, posters, greeting cards, invitations, table tents, folders, and tickets.

100lb cover (271 GSM): When you need something a bit more durable, this cardstock thickness is great for projects including flat cards, invitations, posters, folders, tickets, crafts, gift tags, and greeting cards.

110lb cover (284 GSM): on the thicker end of the cardstock spectrum, this extra-heavy cardstock is used for deliverables including thick business cards and thick invitations.

You’ll notice that many project types can be served well using varying weights of medium- and heavy-weight cardstock; so preference of finish, printing ease, and longevity may play a role in your final cardstock selection.

What is double thick cardstock?

Double thick cardstock is heavier and thicker than standard cardstock. Used for very specified products, double thick cardstock is made of two sheets of cardstock pasted together. 

Some common uses of double thick cardstock include:

  • Invitations
  • Promotional materials
  • Business cards
  • Packaging
  • Paper sculptures
  • Other art pieces

Along with a full selection of cardstock weights, Paperworks carries 120lb Cover (324 GSM) double thick cardstock in stock for quick shipping.

Can you print on cardstock?

Cardstock is heavier and thicker than regular printer paper and typically uses more ink. While many printers can handle lighter sheets of cardstock (such as a 65lb or 80lb card stock), thicker cardstocks (over 80lb) don’t bend as easily, so using commercial printers is preferable.

It is important to look for inkjet printers that can handle the thickness of cardstock, in order to avoid common issues such as tearing, curling, marking, and printer jams. 

The cardstock finish can impact how ink transfers to cardstock. Choosing a finish that is highly compatible with your printer can often help prevent printer issues. Some common cardstock finishes include: 

Gloss: with a reflective shine, this finish is often used for photos, etc.

Linen: slightly embossed, a linen finish is commonly used for menus and stationery products.

Metallic: with an elegant, shiny touch, a metallic finish is often used for making cards.

Smooth: a simple but effective finish to give your paper a classy and completed look.

What if I need more help choosing the right cardstock?

If you need help choosing the right cardstock thickness, our comprehensive Paper Finder can help you locate the most appropriate type of cardstock for any project.

If you’ve already utilized our Paper Finder and have more specific questions about cardstock, our team of paper pros is here to help. From general cardstock queries to more specific questions regarding cardstock thickness, weight, printing, and more, we’d be happy to help you find the right cardstock product for your personal or business needs.

Our website chat box offers real-time help during business hours, and you can also send us a message after hours and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also give us a call at 1-888-631-9170 from 8am-5pm Mon-Fri EST.

Why buy cardstock from Paperworks?

At Paperworks, we are dedicated to assisting you through all stages of your cardstock buying process. From start to finish, our paper pros will ensure that you have all of your questions answered. 

Not only do we know our products inside and out; we also understand how to best work with them. From printer compatibility to picking the right finish, we are dedicated to clarifying any and all aspects of buying cardstock. 

We have an unparalleled depth of inventory and selection here at Paperworks, and are always in stock with the industry’s top cardstock brands. With lower prices, expedited shipping times, and a range of finishing services, we are confident that we can meet all of your cardstock needs.

Ready to begin exploring your cardstock options? Shop our full cardstock collection here.