What Is Cardstock Paper? Defining Thickness, Weight, and Printing Uses

Defining Cardstock: Thickness, Weight, and How to Print

What is Cardstock & Cover Stock?

What is cardstock anyway? Cardstock is sometimes called pasteboard or cover stock and is often used as a heavy paper option. 12pt card stock is a more durable and much thicker than ordinary printing paper or writing paper. 12pt Cardstock is also more versatile than other kinds of paperboard of a similar size. They're sold in sheets (as opposed to paper reams).

Cover Stock vs Cardstock | Differences

In searching for one or the other you may be confused as to which is which. They are actually one and the same. Cover stock, more commonly known as card stock, is paper stock that is a lot thicker than normal paper, making it more durable. Read more about cover stock vs cardstock here.

Cardstock vs Construction Paper

Unlike cover stock, cardstock is NOT the same as construction paper. You're probably used to using construction paper in school for your own or kids' projects. It's typically quite bright and colorful, and a little thicker than normal paper which makes it great for art projects. However, card stock is thicker than construction paper, and is, therefore, more expensive. It's also higher quality though and should therefore not always be used as a substitute.

What is Cardstock Used For?

Because of its thicker and higher quality nature, it is better for more formal situations than simply turning in a paper or doing homework. For example -  invitations, resumes, and even menus are all great uses of card stock. Although they aren't mandatory for any of these media, they give whatever you are passing out the impression that it is more polished rather than using your typical 8.5x11 paper.

What kind of cardstock paper is right for me?

It depends on what kinds of goals you have for your project. Are you looking for cardstock printing for wedding invitations or birthday invitations? A traditional cardstock 5 x 7 or cardstock 4 x 6 is suitable for most events that want to stay within general guidelines. If you’re looking to hand out baby announcements for your holiday ball and want to make a big statement, a 5x7 cardstock print should do the trick! You also have the option to fold any cardstock to make a classic folded invitation. The point in front of cardstock determines the thickness you will want to choose for your printing needs. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. 10pt, 12pt, 16pt and 24pt are all common thickness for cardstock prints. 12pt cardstock is one of the most popular choices for today cardstock printing needs although there are other sizes on the market. What is cardstock?

How Thick is cardstock paper - What thicknesses are available?

Although this varies from shop to shop and country by country, it is usually measured in points or mils, which is defined as how the thick the sheet is in thousands of an inch. For example, 8 mils or points is .008 of an inch. So if you're wondering how thick 16pt card stock is, then you just need to move the decimal over 3 spots to the left.

  • 12pt card stock, or .012 mil
  • 14pt card stock, or .014 mil
  • 16pt card stock, or .016 mil

In the U.S., card stock thickness is usually measured in points or mils which is the thickness of the sheet in thousandths of an inch. For example, a 10 pt. card is 0.010 in (0.254 mm) thick (roughly corresponding to a weight of 250 g/m2), and 12 pt. is 0.012 in (0.3048 mm).

What are cardstock printing sizes I can choose from?

  • 4x6
  • Small cardstock 5 x 7
  • Medium cardstock 4 x 6
  • Large 12x24 cardstock
  • And medium 12x24 cardstock is the most significant option for your cardstock printing needs.

Standard Cardstock Weight

What weight is cardstock? Although there are different definitions of cardstock across countries, in the US the typical weight is about 250 g/m. In the U.S., card stock thickness is usually measured in points or mils which is the thickness of the sheet in thousandths of an inch. For example, a 10 pt. card is 0.010 in (0.254 mm) thick (roughly corresponding to a weight of 250 g/m^2, and 12 pt. is 300 g/m^2. Of course, there are other thicknesses and therefore weights of this type of material, but these are the most common thicknesses.

What size should I choose for my cardstock?

Cardstock 5 x 7 and cardstock 4 x 6 are the most popular. If images are essential to your brand, then cardstock 4 x 6 is a great affordable way to save money— While getting your message out. Printed postcards are also affordable to send in the mail.  In 2018 postcards only cost $0.35 to mail to your clients. Printing cost is lower for smaller printed cardstock than jumbo sizes. If you want to have lots of copy on your advertising printed cardstock postcard for mailing, go big but not too big! Cardstock 5 x 7 will give you more bang for your buck in the space department. Therefore you'll have a minimal amount of extra cost. You’ll have more room to have sales copy and graphics on the right size card. Because you have plenty of room for white space, your card won't look too cluttered. If you want to promote various packages, a sale or need to educate potential customers, get the big postcard. As a result, you can get more of your message out efficiently and affordable. postcard printing

Cardstock weight for postcards

There is some confusion between cover stock and cardstock. Cardstock is generally measured by weight, and coverstock is measured by points. Many printers and people use the same measurements for both. You can read more about cardstock vs coverstock here. Cardstock weight for postcards depends on your preference. You can go with a 12pt cardstock or the thicker 24 pt cardstock if you want something a little thicker. The heavier the weight, the more durable your postcard will be.

Cardstock weight for invitations can also vary greatly

Most people opt for the thicker cardstock for invitations. Especially when it comes to wedding invitations, bridal showers invitations, graduations parties, or baby shower invitations. These are special occasions for people, and you want to make sure that your guests know it’s a big deal by having a high-quality printed invitation. This is the time to splurge and get the cardstock you love! If you are leaving your invitations flat, the thicker option is a great way to go.

What are the benefits of using cardstock?

If you want to have cardstock photo prints, you can get full-color cardstock 5 x 7, cardstock, 4 x 6, cardstock 12 x 12 or even jumbo 12x24 cardstock images. You will make a statement with your cardstock photo prints due to the heavy-weight paper. Cardstock photo prints are also a good option for businesses that want to promote their products or services. Printing cardstock is an affordable way to add a personalized touch to your business and target your customers. Printing cardstock can engage customers and remind them of upcoming sales, or a new website or product launch.

What kind of finishes can I get for printing cardstock?

  • Uncoated: Has a high-quality look for a subtle look for your business.
  • Gloss: gives your 12pt cardstock a beautiful shine that will enhance your images.
  • Matte: Often used by luxury brands. It has a silky smooth finish and is easy on the eyes.
  • High Gloss UV: Has extra shiny qualities that are eye-catching and helps color pop.

Having a full-size Cardstock 12 x 12 print is an excellent way to have durable small posters to show off sales and new products in your stores. Using a matte finish will give your brand that extra edge.

What are other types of cardstock options available for my business?

Cardstock photo printing can help your business create a memorable brand that potential customers will remember. Here are the most common card stock printing types of cardstock: Textured— Thie kind of cardstock has options for texture and color. You can pick the kind that is best for your needs Colored— Many cardstock printing ideas can tie in the right color that goes in with your color scheme.

Now you may be wondering about cardstock paper price

It varies between printers or stores. At Printmoz you can get a discount on cardstock if you are ordering printed cardstock in bulk. The average price of 12 pt cardstock is $3.95 per square foot. While 24 pt cardstock runs at  $4.99 per square foot. If you order in bulk, you’ll save $0.02 per square foot on 12 pt cardstock and $0.01 per square foot on 24 pt cardstock. Postcard printing on cardstock will help you simplify your message into sound bites that are easy to read. So if you want to send out a promotion using printed postcards, it’s always a good idea to work on the design elements before you decide so you know exactly how much space you will need for your postcard. Cardstock printing is also great for text bubbles for photo booths!

Looking at doing an event in the near future? Printmoz has you covered with stage banners!

Frequently asked Questions

What is 12pt card stock?

Card Stock comes in two popular sizes, 12pt and 24pt. The 12pt is going to be the thinner of the two sizes. Card stock 12 point is the same as .012" Cardstock can be used for invitations and poster prints. The larger the size, the thicker the cardstock you should select. 

Is 24pt cardstock thick?

Yes, 24pt cardstock is the thicker of the two most common thickness choices. The 24pt cardstock is great for larger poster size prints. If you're looking for a thinner cardstock for invitations, the 12pt cardstock is a great choice. 

What is cardstock used for?

Cardstock is commonly used for poster printing and creating invitations. You can also create amazing postcards with card stock. Need business cards? They are also printed on cardstock material. Formal announcements look great printed on cardstock. 

What is the difference between paper and cardstock?

Regular paper is very thin and almost transparent. Cardstock is thicker but not nearly as thick as cardboard. Cardstock feels more durable that's why it's often used for business cards and postcards. Greeting cards are more likely to be made using cardstock. 

What is the difference between construction paper and cardstock?

Construction paper is very popular among kids for crafting and coloring. It's easy to cut and fold and make paper airplanes with. Cardstock is much more durable than construction paper. It has a nicer feel to it and is used more often as business cards, post cards and wedding or graduation invitations
  1. Joanne Keyes
    Joanne Keyes

    What card stock paper needed to make pop-up cards and cube shaped cards?

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    • Mary H
      Mary H

      I am wondering if 24 pt. cardstock would have enough ability to stand upright on its own after it has been made into a cutout. For example we are planning centerpieces for a party and would like to put a cut out into an arrangement and have it stand up. We would be doing the cutout with an exacto knife and gluing it to a stick. Would this be able to stand up or would it curl and droop. Thanks. Mary

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