What Is Card Stock?

J. Beam

Card stock is the term used to describe a type of paper that is more sturdy and durable than traditional writing or printing papers. Essentially, card stock is thicker and heavier than normal paper. It is used in crafting and in manufacturing for making postcards, playing cards, and other similar printed products. Craft stores and office supply stores are typical retailers of this specialty paper.

Scissors, which can be used to cut cardstock.
Scissors, which can be used to cut cardstock.

Card stock is measured and described by weight or thickness depending on its retail origins. In most countries, it is measured by weight in grams and refers to paper weighing between 135 and 300 grams per square meter (50 to 110 lb per square meter). It is sometimes labeled as a value followed by the pound (#) symbol. For example: 80#. Stock that is measured by thickness is described in points, or mils. For example, paper measuring .25 mm (.01 inches) in thickness is described as 10-point stock.

Card stock paper is thicker than regular printing paper.
Card stock paper is thicker than regular printing paper.

In addition to its thicker than normal composition, card stock is also pliable. It comes in a variety of colors, varying in hues and shades, as well as textures. The diversity of this type of paper, compared to thinner, less durable paper makes it an ideal crafting material. It is widely used for handmade greeting cards, scrapbook pages, placards, and other paper crafts. It cuts cleanly with sharp implements and is flexible enough to fold and crease neatly or roll up for other uses. It is also compatible with specialized cutting equipment that automatically cuts shapes and letters from templates.

Card stock is ideal for use in paper crafts, including scrapbooks.
Card stock is ideal for use in paper crafts, including scrapbooks.

In addition to paper crafts, card stock is also useful for printing business cards, invitations, and other practical uses. Many computer printers have adjustable settings for specialty papers, making it easy to print projects at home. Card stock is not typically used for photo projects, such as announcements, but is particularly useful for a wide variety of craft and business uses. It is literally available in almost any color, design, and texture and can be purchased from craft supply stores, office supply stores, and school supply stores. Some stock comes perforated for printing business cards or invitations.

For paper crafts, directions often call for specific weight or mil paper, however, if you are crafting an original project, it is best to experiment with paper of different weight, thickness and texture. Some textures are more absorbent than others, which can affect printer projects. If you have a specific paper project in mind, ask a representative at a local printing shop which types of paper will work best.

Card stock is widely used for handmade greeting cards.
Card stock is widely used for handmade greeting cards.

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Discussion Comments


I like making cards online. Some sites allow one to draw one's own animated greeting card, to save the drawing process as an animation and get a permanent link to it. It's nice and free.


Some office supply and paper supply stores offer bulk card stock if you expect to use a lot of it. You might also be able to find it online through specific paper companies. If you use a lot, such as in an office or a classroom, it can be a god idea to buy card stock wholesale.


I like using card stock for anything that is going to use markers. On regular paper, such as printer paper weight, things like permanent markers especially will bleed through. On blank card stock, the colors bleed much less and look better.

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