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Paper Basics-Tips And Ideas

Cardstock is the basis of most paper projects

There are all kinds of paper for your papercraft needs. It can be confusing, especially for beginners. Even if you are an experienced paper crafter, using the wrong paper for your projects can cause frustration, failure, and waste.

Taking a few minutes to learn about paper, will in the long run help you create more successful projects, So here is everything you need to know about paper!

Paper Sizes

Paper sizes are based on an international standard as well as a Canadian/American standard.

More Paper Size Standards

Basic Paper Guide

Acid-Free Paper-Used for preservation projects like scrapbooks, This paper is acid and lignin-free paper that has a low PH. This paper will not yellow over time

Archival Paper-Permanent and durable paper that is acid-free. Used for publications

Bristol PaperThis is a paper that would be considered drawing paper.
Weight-125 lb., -225 lb.
Uses-drawing and industrial use

Cardboard-Common term for a wide range of paper thicknesses. Refers to papers from a thin to corrugated papers. . It can be just one thick paper or several papers glued together.
Weight-80 lbs.
Uses-Dimensional projects or anything that requires structure

Card stock-Colors and finishes including iridescent, glossy, textured, matte, glittered, printed, and more. Some are acid and lignin-free.
Weight- 50-110 lbs.
Uses-Most often used in card making, handmade boxes, collages, die-cutting, bags, 3D projects, and scrapbooking.

Construction Paper-Course colored paper used in a variety of papercrafts. Used a lot for kids' crafts. It can be difficult to fold. Color can fade, and the paper will not last for a long time.
 It is an inexpensive general use paper used for paper mache, decoupage, and scrapbooking.

Cardboard-This paper can be a single paper or many papers glued together.
Weight-Similar to tissue paper with a crinkled surface It can be stretched which makes it perfect for paper flowers. Usually sold in rolls. Make sure to use a well-made crepe paper when you are making paper flowers so that the paper will hold up.

Crepe Paper-Like tissue with crinkles but lighter.
Weight-15-72 lbs (60-180 gsm)
Uses-Paper flowers, pompoms, butterflies, wreaths and bouquets

Decoupage Paper- Comes in a variety of weights and finishes. It most often comes in patterns that are used specifically for decoupage projects. Some of these papers are fine for fussy cutting  ( the cutting of specific images.)  Other papers are often pre-cut into images that are ready to use.

Kraft Paper -Strong paper that is most often brown, sometimes bleached. Can be bought in sheets or rolls.
Weight-80-100 lbs. (218-271gsm)

Metallic Paper-Has a fine metallic finish with a sheen and shimmer.
Weight-80-115 lbs. (210-280 gsm)
Uses-rolled paper flowers
Mulberry Paper- This paper has a distinct rough look with defined fibers running through it. Generally has a medium weight in a variety of colors. Good for making paper flowers, scrapbooking, decoupage, gift tags, and more. The easiest way to cut this paper is to wet it and tear. You will get a nice fuzzy edge.

Origami Paper- A thin paper that is made so that it can be easily folded. Primarily used for origami but is also used in scrapbooking and card making.

Paper Board-Thick paper in a wide range of colors. Heavy-duty paper that is easy to cut. Used for book covers and journal covers.

Printer Paper- A higher quality paper over copy paper. Weighs about 24bs and holds ink well.

Recycled Paper-This is paper that is made from paper waste that has been reformed into new paper.

Rice Paper- This paper has a rough translucent finish usually in a color.

 Scrapbook Paper-Made specifically for scrapbooks, it comes in literally thousands of designs and colors. It comes in different weights. Some patterns are printed on one side while others are printed on both sides. Typically sold as 8 1/2 " by 11" or 12" by 12" in singles Sc, packs or pads. Mostly used for scrapbooks but can be used for other paper projects.
Uses-scrapbooks, garlands,

Tissue Paper- One of the thinnest papers. It is similar to tissue paper, but has a smooth finish rather than a crinkled finish. It can be used for paper flowers or used in paper mache. It is sold in rolls or sheets. Generally not colorfast.
Notes-Spray adhesive is the best for this
Uses-pompoms, tassels, lanterns and some 3D crafts

Vellum/Parchment Paper-Thin but tough translucent paper. Comes in colors and patterns. Tends to be thin paper.
Weight-17-48lbs (60-118 gsm)
Uses-You can stamp, emboss and print on it.

Washi Paper- This is a handmade thick paper with long fibers. It has a very uneven surface. It is similar to mulberry paper, but thicker.
Uses- Flower making, scrapbooks,  decoupage, and paper mache.

Water Color Paper- A very thick paper or board with a rough surface. Usually white and used for painting projects. Paper crafters use it to create stamping and watercolor projects.
Weight-90-300 lbs. (245 plus gsm)
Uses- pinwheels, paper flowers and plants, lanterns

Here are some of our favorite papers. These products may have affiliate earnings that are used to enhance this community at no cost to you. We appreciate your support. These are selected for you as the same products we use in our paper crafts!