Guide to Cardstock Weights

Dana Hinders
Bazzill Cardstock Swatch Book
Bazzill Cardstock Swatch Book

Cardstock is an important element of scrapbooking. Understanding cardstock weights will make it easier to select the right papers for all your scrapbooking projects.

About Cardstock

Cardstock is sometimes referred to as "cover paper," "cover stock," or "pasteboard." This heavy-weight paper is often described by pound weight. This is the weight of 500 sheets of paper measuring 20 inches by 26 inches. Generally, you can purchase this type of paper in cardstock weights ranging from 60 pounds to 110 pounds. For comparison purposes, it helps to know that standard copy paper is 20-pound paper.

When shopping for cover stock, keep in mind the following:

  • Light-weight cardstock is 60 pounds.
  • Medium-weight cardstock is 70 pounds to 80 pounds.
  • Heavy-weight cardstock is 90 pounds or more.

Higher numbers indicate a thicker and more durable paper. Thus, heavier cardstock weights will often indicate a more expensive product.

The most common weight for scrapbooking cardstock is 80 pounds. This is the weight of most cover stock products from Bazzill Basics, a brand many scrapbookers prefer.

Tips for Choosing Cardstock Weights

With so many options available, how do you know what type of cardstock is the best choice for your layouts? While personal preference plays a large role in this decision, there are a few general tips you can keep in mind when purchasing heavy-weight paper for your next project.

  • When making an album that doesn't include plastic page protectors, use heavier cardstock weights to increase the durability of the finished project.
  • If you're planning on using a lot of brads, eyelets, or metal charms on your scrapbook layout, choose a product that is as heavy as possible. You will need a stable background to support a layout with these embellishments.
  • Scrapbookers who like to sew on their papers often find that heavier cardstock weights work best for this technique.
  • For paper piecing, lighter weights generally works best. A finished paper piecing has several different layers, so using lighter paper will keep your embellishment from becoming too bulky.
  • If you're planning on making any origami embellishments for your layout, lighter weight paper is best. Cardstock that is 60 pounds to 80 pounds will be fairly easy to fold. Heavier paper can still be folded, but it will be difficult to achieve a clean crease.
  • When using a die cutting machine such as the Cricut, a medium-weight paper is the best choice. However, you may need to adjust the settings on your machine if you are making especially detailed cuts.

Cardstock vs. Patterned Paper

Cardstock and patterned paper are essential supplies for any scrapbooker. While patterned paper is usually fairly thin and decorated only on one side, cardstock is usually one solid color on both sides. However, a recent trend in scrapbooking has been to blur the lines between these two products. For example, patterned papers from BasicGrey are 65 pounds, which means they are essentially light-weight cardstock. Additionally, many of these papers are decorated on both sides instead of having a plain white back. In addition to cardstock weight, you may want to keep in mind that you can use several different types of specialty cardstock to accent your scrapbooking projects.

  • White core cardstock: Many scrapbookers enjoy using this paper for sanding and distressing, since the white core can create a number of fun effects.
  • Textured cardstock: Heavy-weight paper with a linen or canvas texture can add a sophisticated touch to your layouts, although this type of paper can be more difficult to use if you're accustomed to adding rubber stamped designs to your layouts.
  • Glittered cardstock: Paper with glitter in the background adds a festive touch to any layout.
  • Metallic cardstock: Generally available in gold, silver, and copper colors, this cover stock lets you add a bit of metallic sheen to your layout without the bulk of real metal embellishments.

Pick Your Cardstock

The cardstock you choose will depend largely on your project. With so many options to select from, you're sure to get a finished product to be proud of.

Guide to Cardstock Weights