How to Buy Card Stock

Cardstock comes in a multitude of colors
Cardstock comes in a multitude of colors (Image: familycrafts.about.com)

Card stock is paper that is thicker than regular printing and writing paper. Because of its durability, card stock has numerous uses including card making, scrapbooking and business cards. Card stock, also called "cover stock," has many functions for both personal or business uses and can be easily customized. The choices of card stock can be daunting because there are various weights, sizes, colors and textures. The basics are outlined below to guide you in the process of selecting card stock.

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Choose the weight of the paper needed for your project. Light card stock starts at 100-120 gsm (grams per square meter). Regular is 120-150 gsm, heavy is 150-200 gsm and super heavy is more than 200 gsm.

Pick the fiber quality desired. The base of most card stock falls into two categories: pulp and pulp-free. Pulp can be made from various materials such as other paper or pure cellulose. Fibers can also be from vegetables or plants such as hemp, flower petals or bark. The difference is all just for aesthetics so determine what is right for your project.

Decide which color you prefer for your project. Card stock comes in many solid, pastel, fluorescent and bright colors and even patterns.

Choose a finish and/or surface texture if desired. Options can include vellum, felt, embossed and many others depending on the requirements your project demands.

Finally, choose a size. While many sizes are available in the most popular colors, card stock can also be customized either by cutting it yourself or having it professionally done by the company from which you ordered it. Be aware that some specialized cardstock, usually those with high-end surface textures, may only come in certain sizes and you will have to take this into consideration in regards to sizes you require. The most popular sizes are 3.5 x 5in (8.89 x 12.7cm), 4 x 6in (10.16 x 15.24in), 5 x 7in (12.7 x 17.78cm), and 8.5 x 11in (21.59 x 27.94cm).

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you get precise measurements because you don't want to run out before your project is finished.
  • A surface texture can often enhance the project but can also distort writing so keep that in mind when picking the card stock. If you do write on the card stock, be careful with what fonts or colors you use. because you want it to be visible.
  • The right thickness of paper can make the difference, especially if using it for business purposes. No one wants to have a flimsy business card that can tear.

References

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