Cardstock Thickness Guide for Paper Crafters

Cardstock Thickness Guide for Paper Crafters

If you're a paper crafter, then you're probably pretty familiar with cardstock. In fact, you probably already have your favorite cardstock brands and colors, but today I want to provide some information to beginner paper crafters in this Cardstock Thickness Guide.

bazzill smoothies cardstock

As a refresher, cardstock is a thick, heavy paper that is often used for crafting, scrapbooking, making or printing invitations, and other paper projects. The thickness of cardstock is measured in weight and is typically expressed in pounds, gsm or points. At 12x12 Cardstock Shop we most often identify our papers in pounds or gsm. Keep reading for more information on how paper weight is calculated. 

Since it's hard to get an idea of cardstock thickness from pictures, here's a helpful guide to the different cardstock thicknesses. Each cardstock thickness serves a different purpose, so depending on what kinds of paper crafts you like to make, you'll likely gravitate towards a specific thickness. Once you've discovered a paper weight that is just right for you, it makes buying and trying new cardstock brands much easier. 

Cardstock Thickness Guide

neon flowers using 65 pound cardstock

65 lb Cover Cardstock (176 gsm)

This is typically considered the lightest cardstock and is often used for layering on greeting cards, die cutting, making paper flowers and more. This is the lighter end of cardstock and it is thicker than construction paper or printer paper, but has a bit of flop to it when you hold a larger piece by the corner. If you are familiar with Recollections cardstock sold at Michaels then you are familar with 65 lb cardstock.

65 lb cardstock is considered a best cardstock for paper flowers because it is light enough to be pliable so you can roll and shape it into paper flowers. 

Our Favorite 65 lb Cardstock Lines

  • Astrobrights Cardstock - Astrobrights comes in 25 vibrant colors with coordinating envelopes.
  • Pop-Tone Cardstock - Pop-Tone includes 21 cardstock paper colors inspired by ice cream, including both deep brights and pastels. We also carry coordinating envelopes. 
bazzill smoothies reds

80 lb Cover Cardstock (216 gsm)

This is a medium weight cardstock that is most commonly used for scrapbook layouts and paper cake toppers. The popular Bazzill Basics and American Crafts Cardstock lines are both 85 lb cover weight. This is the most common cardstock weight for all the top brands. 

80 lb weight cardstock works well as scrapbook layout bases, handmade card bases, paper cake topper layers and for die cutting. 

Our Favorite 80 lb Cardstock Lines

my colors heavyweight

100 lb Cover Cardstock (271 gsm)

This is a heavy weight cardstock that is commonly used for wedding invitations, programs, and business cards. It's very sturdy, but not very pliable. It is not a good cardstock for paper flowers, but it makes great handmade card bases and handmade wedding invitations and works well for DIY boxes when you pre-score folds. 

Our card makers love 100 lb cardstock because you can stamp on it, emboss on it, watercolor on it and it has virtually no warping. And it still works great with metal dies and is a good cardstock for Cricut cutting too. 

Our Favorite100 lb Cardstock Lines

  • Bazzill Card Shoppe - This smooth 100 lb cardstock is a favorite cardstock of card makers and is a great paper for rubber stampers too. Available in 40 colors. 
  • My Colors Heavyweight - Smooth 100lb cardstock in 37 colors. Cuts great and embosses great. 
handmade card featuring stardream cardstock

101 - 110 lb Cover Cardstock (298 gsm)

This is a very heavy weight cardstock that is just shy of chipboard weight. Our Design Team loves to die-cut these papers for layering because it is thick enough that layers can stand on their own and it almost looks like chipboard. You can also cut 110 lb weight paper on a Cricut with the posterboard setting, so we do sell quite a bit of this. 

This is a favorite cardstock for handmade card bases and die cutting. 

Our favorite 101 - 110 lb Cardstock

  • Sirio Ultra Black - This comes in just one color, black, but it is the truest black cardstock on the market. Sirio Ultra Black comes in 104 lb cover (and we also carry a heavier 120 lb version). 
  • Stardream - This is the prettiest smooth pearlescent cardstock and is a customer favorite. Stardream is 105 lb cardstock and we also have matching envelopes. 

We've tried hard to carry a wide range of cardstock thickness because we know that every paper crafter has a favorite depending on the type of paper crafts they like to make. For instance, paper flower makers like softer, lighter more pliable cardstock while card makers are focused on stability and prefer some of our more heavyweight cardstock. 

best paper weight for handmade cards

Best Cardstock Weight for Handmade Cards

We polled the cardmaking experts on our team and discovered that 85# - 100# paper is ideal for handmade card bases. That provides enough stability to stand up on it’s own if a recipient wishes to display it. For handmade card layers, the options are endless as layers come in all textures and weights. 

Our Favorite Cardstock for Handmade Cards

We polled our cardmaking Design Team Makers and their favorite cardstock for handmade card bases is My Colors Heavyweight (100# weight). It folds great, and is sturdy. Our team also loves Neenah Stardream, which is heavyweight (105# weight) and has a sparkly mica finish for something special. 

best paper weight for paper flowers

Best Cardstock Weight for Paper Flowers

One of the key factors in choosing paper for paper flowers, is how well it can be shaped. Paper flowers most often include shaped petals and you need a cardstock that is light enough to bend and shape, but heavy enough to hold the shape once you’ve got your paper flower shaped. For this reason, we recommend 65#-80# as the best cardstock weight for paper flowers. 

Our Favorite Cardstock for Paper Flowers

Most experienced paper flower makers have a favorite cardstock for paper flowers. For our team, we really love Sirio Pearl which is a pearlescent cardstock (85# weight) that shapes beautifully and has a color and mica finish on both sides. We also love Pop-Tone which is slightly lighter (65# weight) but comes in lots of beautiful colors and shapes beautifully.

best paper weight for scrapbook pages

Best Cardstock Weight for Scrapbook Pages

The best cardstock weight for a scrapbook page kind of depends on what type of scrapbooker you are. Scrapbooking is about layering photos and paper, but the degree of paper layering is very much up to individual style. We recommend using at least 80# cardstock for your scrapbook page base layer. If you love layers, your page can get pretty heavy, and a sturdier scrapbook base like 100# - 105# might be a better options for you to hold all of your paper layers and embellishments better.

Our Favorite Cardstock for Scrapbook Pages

We still love the original Bazzill Textured Cardstock (80# weight) for scrapbook pages. Between the two textured Bazzill lines, there are almost 150 colors. If excessive layering is your jam, you might love My Colors Heavyweight (100# weight). The sturdier weight allows you to embellish to your hearts desire. 

best paper weight for die cutting

Best Cardstock Weight for Die Cutting

There are two kinds of die cutting; manual die cutting with metal dies and die cutting with an electronic die cut machine like a Cricut or Silhouette.

With manual die cutting you can cut super fine papers like vellum and mulberry paper, or heavy weight cardstock all the way up to chipboard thickness. It’s pretty forgiving as far as materials and you can choose the paper weight for die cuts based on the end results you want.

For electronic die cutting machines, you can cut a wide variety of materials with different weights, but for best results we recommend using 65# - 100# weight cardstock on a Cricut or Silhouette. These paper weights consistently offer the best results for cutting.

Our Favorite Cardstock for Die Cutting

As I mentioned before, if you are a manual die cutter, the sky is the limit for you. If you are working with a Cricut or Silhouette user, you're in luck. We've made it a priority to find cardstock that cuts great on Cricut and as such we have lots of options, but our favorite Cricut cardstock is American Crafts Precision (80# weight) or My Colors Canvas for textured cardstock, or Lessebo Colors (83# weight) for smooth cardstock. 

What does paper weight in pounds mean?

At 12x12 Cardstock Shop you’ll see that we most often have paper weights in pounds and gsm (grams per square meter) listed on our product descriptions. You might be wondering what does paper weight in pounds mean? It is kind of confusing, but essentially paper weight is determined by the weight of 500 sheets of a standard size sheet of a particular paper (often the uncut parent size sheet). So, if a paper is 85# that means that 500 sheets of the paper weighs 85 pounds.

But it’s not quite as easy as that. There are Text weight papers and Cover weight papers. Text weight are similar to what you’d expect to find in your home printer, while cover weight includes cardstock and thicker materials used for book covers and such. 85# text paper is lighter than 85# cover even though the pound numbers are the same. That’s because the standard paper size of text weight papers is often bigger than the standard paper size used to measure cover weight papers. So though a text paper is lighter, the paper size is bigger, and when you stack up 500 sheets of the larger sized (but lighter) sheets, they match the weight of the 500 sheets

What does paper weight in gsm mean?

Paper weight in gsm refers to grams per square meter. Gsm is a universal measurement and isn’t subject to fluctuations in standard size of a sheet like pounds is. For this reason, gsm is often a better indication of a paper’s true weight.

If you are a crafter, then you are probably pretty familiar with the weight and feel of a piece of Bazzill Basics cardstock. Bazzill Basics cardstock is 80lb cover weight or 216 gsm. Essentially 1 gsm = .67 pounds.

Hopefully this cardstock thickness guide will help you determine what kind of cardstock is right for your project.


  • 12x12 Cardstock Shop

    Joan – Thanks for asking. Encore is 80 lb weight. We’ve updated the post.

  • Joan Carlson

    Where does your Encore line fit into one of these weights and categories?
    Thank you.

  • 12x12 Cardstock Shop

    Chris- I can see how a heavier cardstock would be good for hot foiling. I’m not an expert at it, but I also don’t think you’d need cardstock that thick to make it look good. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful examples on other cardstock. I would stick to 100# or above. One thing you could do is test it on our Ultra Black cardstock – it comes in both 104 and 170, so you could test both and see if the thicker paper makes a difference https://www.12×

  • Chris Arlington

    I’ve beentold that 120-130 lb cardstock is the best weight for hot foiling . Is that true
    Because I’ve never seen card that weight or higher?

  • Melanie Turnage

    Thank you for this informative article. I’ve been a card maker for about 2 years now, and am an Admin for a Happy Mail exchange group. We primarily focus on card making. I’ve saved this article for my reference. I’ve been simply figuring out the best paper weight to use for which task as I go. This has sometimes been frustrating. I agree with the suggestion of the first commenter regarding a chart, and I appreciate the links to the different brands of paper. This will make finding the right product for my current take a breeze. Thank you again.

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