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Glossary of Different Types of Paper

Become a paper craft expert after learning about all the different types of paper there are and how to use them.

By: Dana Byerwalter, Editor, AllFreePaperCrafts.com
Glossary of Different Types of Paper

Are you new to paper crafting? You may be surprised to discover the enormous array of paper types out there. The Glossary of Different Types of Paper will help you decide which kinds of paper to use for any upcoming projects. Find out whether your project may require thin tissue paper or heavy paper board.

Learn how the weight of card stock is measured, and use this system to determine which card stock is right for your current project. You'll also find smooth paper types and textured paper listed in this glossary. Get inspired to start a new project with something from this list of different types of paper and the projects shown below.

If you like these paper crafts and want to see more, then don't forget to sign up for the AllFreePaperCrafts newsletter, The Paper Post.

The Glossary of Different Types of Paper (in alphabetical order):

Overview: The paper types below are often measured by lb (although there are a few different ways to measure paper, such at pt.), and the different weights tend to correspond with different thicknesses of paper. The lb measurement refers to the weight of 500 sheets of paper measuring a standard size before being cut down. The sizes are as follows:

-Bond or Writing: 17" x 22" (cut to 8.5" x 11"). Standard weight is 20 lb, with 16 lb as a lighter alternative and 24 lb as the heavier. Common for letterheads, photocopier paper, and laser printer paper.
 
-Book: 25" x 38". Weights vary from 30 lb Bible stock (very thin and mostly used for Bibles specifically) to a maximum of around 115 lb. This classification is most common for posters, catalogues, booklets, and publication magazines.
 
-Text: 25" x 38". These typically range from 60 lb to 100 lb. Stationery papers tend to come in text weight.
 
-Cover: 24" x 36". This is a heavier grade paper that ranges from 60 lb to over 100 lb. It is used most often for postcards, business cards, etc.
 

With this knowledge on hand, explore the list of different types of paper below, almost all of which fall into these four categories.

TIP! Click on any of the image links below to get to the project tutorial!


Sources Cited: 
-California Paper Goods, The Paper Library
-Mia's Craft Ideas, Types of Paper
-Print Outlet, Printing 101
 

  1. Acid-Free Paper: this paper yields a neutral PH and is used for preservation. It is lignin- and sulfur-free. Paper that is not acid-free will yellow and deteriorate over time. This type of paper is used for scrapbooking for this reason.

  2. Archival Paper: a particularly permanent and durable acid-free paper. It is meant for publications of significant value.

  3. Bristol Paper / Vellum Bristol: This paper is generally quite thick, ranging from 125lb to 225lb weight. It has industrial uses as well as fine art. Fine Art Vellum Bristol can come in lighter weight, 57lb to 80lb cover. Vellum Bristol has a very slightly textured surface.

  4. Cardboard: This term can be used to describe a wide range of paper thicknesses. From thick card stock to corrugated layers, cardboard is often a term that is avoided because its meaning has become so widespread.

    Image 1: Watercolor Travel Journal
    Image 2: Kooky Cardboard Kaleidoscope

  5. Card Stock: This is a type of paper that falls in thickness between printer paper and paper board. It ranges in weight from 50 lb to 110 lb, and the most popular weight is 80 lb. It is the most popular type of paper used in the crafts on AllFreePaperCrafts.com, especially in card making! It can come in a variety of finishes, including iridescent, glossy, textured, matte, glitter, and more.

    Image 1: Fancy Folds Card
    Image 2: It's All About the Music Card

  6. Chip Board: This is an inexpensive, thick, one-ply cardboard. It is typically made from recycled paper stock.

  7. Construction Paper: This is a coarse, colored paper used primarily for crafting! It comes in a wide range of colors and is often used for school artwork.

    Image 1: Shades of Blue Paper Flowers
    Image 2: Twisty Twirly Paper Flower Bouquet

  8. Containerboard: a paperboard over .01 inches thick.

  9. Copy Paper: This paper is typically used for printing documents. It is thinner than printer paper, weighing about 20 lb while printer paper is 24 lb. For this reason, it is useful for printing text and should be avoided when printing high-quality images.

  10. Corrugated Cardboard / Corrugated Fiberboard: This material features a fluted corrugated sheet and two flat liners to create the thick board. It is typically brown or white, and many recycled projects feature a corrugated cardboard base. The fluted layer adds texture and interest to a project.

  11. Crepe Paper: This is thin paper like tissue paper with a crinkled surface. Due to its scrunched texture, it can be stretched fairly easily. It is a great paper type for making paper flowers.

    Image 1: Wondrous Watercolor Crepe Paper Flowers
    Image 2:​ Amazing Anemone Crepe Paper Flowers

     

  12. Decoupage Paper: Decoupage paper comes in a variety of weights and finishes. It is typically patterned and is used specifically for decoupage projects. Several of the patterns lend themselves to fussy cutting, where you cut out the image to be decoupaged on a different backdrop. Other decoupage papers are already die cut for you and prepackaged that way.

    Image 1: Stunning Decoupaged Desktop Lunch Box
    Image 2: Simply Stunning DIY Designer Switch Plates

  13. Duplex Paper: Laminated and Printed Duplex papers feature sheets of paper with different patterns/colors/finishes on each side. Laminated Duplex papers can have one textured side and one smooth side, for example. Printed Duplex paper simply means one side is printed a different color, but Laminated Duplex can involve different textures, too.

  14. Kraft Paper: This is a strong paper that is typically brown, sometimes bleached. It is often used to make gift bags and kids crafts.

  15. Lignin-Free Paper: Lignin is the "glue" that binds the cells of a tree and creates its structure. However, in paper, lignin can cause it to alter over time and become unstable. Thus, many manufacturers are now offering lignin free papers for fine artwork and scrapbooking. Acid-free paper is lignin and sulfur-free.

  16. Mulberry Paper: This is paper handmade from the mulberry plant. It is also a term that is given to a wide range of handmade papers because it has a distinct, rough look with distinct fibers running through the papers. It has a medium thickness and comes in a variety of colors. It is great for making paper flowers, scrapbooking, decoupage, card making, gift tags, and more. If you tear the paper, you get a nice fuzzy edge to use in your craft projects.

  17. Newsprint / Newspaper: Newsprint is a low-cost thin to medium paper that typically comes in white. It is used for many first-draft drawing projects due to its low cost. It can also be used for papier mache, decoupage, and scrapbooking.

    Image 1: Newspaper Flower Gift Topper
    Image 2: Eco-Friendly DIY Gift Wrap

  18. Origami Paper: This is thin paper that is specifically designed to be easy to fold. It tends to be patterned on one side and plain on the other, the plain color coordinating with the patterned side. Because it is engineered for its easy folding, its primary use is for origami projects. However, it can also be used for scrapbooking and cardmaking. The patterned side lends interest to any paper projects.

    Image 1: Origami Ninja Star Thankful Ornament Crafts
    Image 2: DIY Folded Christmas Tree Embellishment

  19. Paper Board: This is a thick paper with a wide range of colors and finishes. It is often used in bookbinding to make the covers.

  20. Papier Mache: This is a sculpting material that can be formed from a variety of thin papers and glue. It is commonly made from newsprint sheets but there are recipes across the web that use toilet paper, copy or printer paper, newspaper, and more.

    Image 1: Papier Mache Lace Balloons
    Image 2: Papier Mache Butterflies

  21. Printer Paper: This is a slightly higher quality of copy paper weighing 24 lb that can hold up to heavy amounts of ink more easily.

    Image 1: Paper House Lanterns
    Image 2: Adorable Printable Puppies

  22. Recycled Paper: When paper is called recycled it includes a certain amount of "post consumer fiber" or "post-consumer waste." This includes but is not limited to newspapers, chipboard, office paper, or other used paper. In order to claim to be "recycled" paper, the mills must use at least 20% or more recycled material.

    Image 1: How to Make Paper
    Image 2: Adorable Ephemera Elephant Card
     

  23. Rice Paper: Made from the rice plant, this paper type has a rough, translucent finish. It is usually white and used for projects such as calligraphy. Edible rice paper, on the other hand, is made from starch and is used for making food crafts like cake toppers.

  24. Scrapbook Paper: Like decoupage paper, scrapbook papers come in various weights, patterns, and textures. They often measure 12x12, 6x6, 8x8, or 8.5x11 depending on the size of your scrapbook. Scrapbook papers are also often used for card making and decoupage. Many popular upcycled projects feature a cardboard base such as a cereal box with scrapbook paper decoupaged over it. Check out a few of our scrapbook layouts, too!

    Image 1: Sprawling Vine Scrapbook Layout
    Image 2: Floral Scrapbook Layout
     

  25. Tissue Paper: One of the thinnest papers. It is like crepe paper but features a smooth finish instead of a crinkled one. It is also used to make paper flowers. It can also be used to make papier mache and is popular for gift wrapping.

    Image 1: Tissue Paper Poppies
    Image 2: Tissue Paper Stained Glass House

  26. Vellum / Parchment Paper: This is a thin but tough translucent paper. Vellum is often found as a small layer inside wedding invitations. Unique effects can be achieved by stamping, embossing, and printing on vellum. Vellum can come in plain white or it can feature patterns which then can be layered on top of opaque papers.

  27. Washi Paper: This is a handmade paper with long fibers and an uneven surface.

  28. Watercolor Paper: Watercolor paper is very thick paper or board with a rough surface. It is usually white, and its primary use is for painting. Many card makers have taken to using watercolor paper for their projects to create beautiful stamped designs, etc.

    Image 1: Simply Stunning Watercolor Cards
    Image 2: Gorgeous Masked Watercolor Cards

Are we missing any paper types?
Tell us below and we will add them to the collection!

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