The Essential Guide to Choosing Scrapbook Paper for Beginner Scrapbookers

The Essential Guide to Choosing Scrapbook Paper for Beginner Scrapbookers

Welcome to the colorful and creative world of scrapbooking! The heart of scrapbooking is 12x12 scrapbook paper. In this guide, we dive deep into the essentials of choosing the right paper for your scrapbooking project and answer all your scrapbooking beginner questions. We're cardstock experts and we love cardstock and paper, so answering questions about paper is one of our favorite things to do! If you have more questions not answered in this article, you can join the conversation on Facebook or contact us directly through our website contact page at 12x12 Cardstock Shop. We carry tons of products for scrapbooking and have scrapbooking tutorials available as well. 

Step #1 Choose the Right Scrapbook Paper: Quality, Type, and Weight

What is 12x12 scrapbook paper?

When scrapbookers refer to 12x12 scrapbook paper, it is the lingo for any patterned or solid paper for scrapbooking sized 12 inches by 12 inches that is archival-safe certified.

12x12 scrapbook paper

What size is scrapbook paper?

An ideal paper for scrapbooking is 12 inches by 12 inches, which accommodates multiple photos per layout, making it the most popular choice. While some prefer 8½ "x 11" or 6" x 12" sizes, the 12x12 cardstock format remains a top pick among scrapbookers and is the size most scrapbook paper manufacturers make.

12"x12" size is a staple for scrapbooking and is considered the gold standard in the scrapbook community. It provides ample space for photos, embellishments, and storytelling. This size perfectly fits standard scrapbook albums and is ideal for detailed and intricate layouts.

examples of scrapbook layouts

What is the Best Paper for Scrapbooking?

The only qualification for scrapbook paper is that it is archival-safe, which is acid-free and lignin-free to guarantee long-lasting preservation of memories. It's important to choose quality paper, offering ease of use for various scrapbooking techniques and maintaining the quality of your scrapbook over time.

Go wild and choose your favorite papers to create fantastic designs! There are tons of scrapbook paper companies who provide a huge variety of styles of scrapbook paper. If cute is your style, you might love Echo Park Paper Co brand. If vintage is more your thing, Simple Stories is a top brand to check out. 

simple stories scrapbook paper vintage paper style

What is acid and lignin-free paper?

Acid and lignin-free paper is specially treated to remove acid and lignin, substances that cause paper to deteriorate and yellow over time. Papers certified as acid and lignin-free make them ideal for archival and preservation purposes, ensuring the longevity and stability of documents, photographs, and artwork.

In scrapbooking, acid and lignin-free paper is the best practice as it preserves the integrity and color of photographs and memorabilia. This paper prevents yellowing and brittleness, ensuring scrapbooks last generations without damaging the enclosed items. Its use is essential for maintaining scrapbook projects' quality and sentimental value.

Check the label to ensure you buy archival-safe paper for your scrapbooking projects. You can’t tell by looking at a paper if it is archival-certified.

vintage photos being used in a scrapbook album

Can you put 12x12 paper in a printer?

Yes, you can print on 12x12 paper if your printer supports that size. Not all standard home printers accommodate 12x12 scrapbook paper, as it's larger than typical sizes like letter or A4.

Check your printer's specifications for maximum paper size to ensure compatibility. Several printers support 12x12 paper, particularly models from Canon and Epson. Here are examples of current printer models that can handle 12x12 size paper...

  • Canon PRO-200
  • Canon PRO-300
  • Canon iP8720
  • Epson SureColor P700
  • Epson EcoTank ET-8550
  • Epson XP-15000

These printers have comprehensive formats (13 inches), features like individual ink cartridges, and the ability to print borderless pages. Before purchasing a printer, it's essential to check the specific model for compatibility with 12x12 scrapbook paper.​

What is the typical scrapbook paper size?

The most common size for scrapbook paper is 12x12 inches, followed by 8.5x11 inches. The larger size of 12x12 inches is not typically compatible with printing in standard printers and the larger paper also requires specialized tools such as cutters, rulers, and mats to accommodate this size. The right tools that accommodate this larger paper makes the scrapbooking experience better.

12x12 is the ideal size for scrapbook paper

Scrapbook Paper Types:

  • Patterned Papers: These are typically lighter weight papers and have fun patterns printed right on them. Some companies are producing heavier weight patterns as well.
  • Textured Cardstock Paper: This is solid colored mid to heavy weight paper with a texture embossed right into the paper. The embossed texture is typically a linen or canvas texture, but some even have dots or stripes texture. 
  • Solid Cardstock Paper:  This is solid mid to heavy weight paper with a smooth finish. 

What type of paper is best for a scrapbook?

For creating lasting scrapbook albums, using archival-safe papers is essential. A popular choice is a heavier 12x12 inch cardstock for the base, providing durability and stability. For added visual interest and creativity, layering lighter, patterned papers is common, with lighter papers on top of heavier papers. This combination ensures both longevity and aesthetic appeal in scrapbooks.

Bazzill Textured Cardstock is one of the oldest brands for solid textured cardstock bases and as such is one of the most popular scrapbook brands. But there are many newcomers with high-quality cardstock, like Encore Paper and My Colors. And some companies, like Carta Bella Paper, have started offering printed cardstock, a hybrid of patterned paper and solid cardstock, offering fun designs with the stability needed to hold scrapbook layers.

carta bella scrapbook paper

Is there a difference between scrapbook paper and cardstock?

Yes, there is a difference. Scrapbook paper encompasses a range of archival-safe materials, including lighter, printed, or patterned papers and heavier solid cardstock. On the other hand, cardstock is a general term specifically for heavier-weight paper. It usually comes in solid colors and may or may not be archival-safe.

Navigating the World of Paper Weights: Choosing Paper for Your Scrapbook

What paper weight is ideal for scrapbooking projects?

Typically a scrapbook page is comprised of multiple types of paper on a single layout. Heavier cardstock is used for the base of the scrapbook page and lighter weight papers (usually printed papers) are used to layer behind photos and as embellishments. 

Bazzill Card Shoppe Heavyweight cardstock

Paper Weight Recommendations for Scrapbooking Projects:

  • 65# or less – great for scrapbook and handmade card layers when mounted on heavier cardstock.
  • 70-95# - Good multipurpose weight, which is stable enough for handmade card bases and scrapbook layouts and can hold some layers of paper. It's also light enough that you can use it for layering. This is a preferred paper weight for die cuts, too.
  • 100# + - great for handmade card bases and scrapbook layout bases because it's nice and sturdy and can support many cardstock layers, photos and embellishments.

Paperweights and their common uses in crafting:

Lightweight Paper (Defined as 65# or less)

  • Typical Use: Layering and mounting photos on, printing or writing journaling on, folding and tearing into embellishments.
  • Characteristics: Similar to copy paper (20 lb text); easily folded without scoring.
  • Printer Compatibility: Easily printed on with a home printer.

Medium Weight Paper (Defined as 70#-95#)

  • Typical Use: This paper works well as both a base and a layer. It's heavy enough to support a few layers of cardstock. It's also a favorite for die cutting. 
  • Similarity: Comparable to greeting cards and postcards (65 lb cover).
  • Folding: Scoring is preferred for folding.
  • Printer Compatibility: Most often can be printed on with a home printer.

Heavy Weight Paper (Defined as 95# - 110#)

  • Typical Use: Great for layout bases. It's sturdy enough to hold lots of layers. It's also great for die cuts when you want your shapes to pop off the page a bit.
  • Similarity: Business cards typically use a 90+ lb cover.
  • Folding: Scoring recommended or your cardstock will crack. 
  • Printer Compatibility: It may not be suitable for home printers as it is often too thick to pass under the printer rollers.

Extra-Heavy Weight Paper (Defined as 110# or heavier)

  • Typical Use: Great for scrapbook layout and handmade card bases.
  • Similarity: Feels much like cereal box cardboard and thicker.
  • If you want to try Extra-Heavy Weight Cardstock, Sirio Ultra Black 170C is a great option.

Choosing the right paper weight for your scrapbooking project depends on the specific needs of your design and how you intend to use the paper. Each weight category offers unique benefits and limitations, making it essential to select the one that aligns best with your creative vision and the functional requirements of your scrapbook.

How can you figure out the weight of your paper?

Paper weight is defined by the mass of 500 sheets (a ream) in their primary size. This standard size, however, differs among paper types, which can be confusing. The quickest methods include checking the packaging or simply comparing it to other papers whose weight is known. Keep reading for more tips on how to figure out the weight of your paper.

Here are some tips to help you determine the weight of your paper:

  1. Check the Paper Packaging: Often, the easiest way to find out the weight of your paper is to look at the packaging. Manufacturers usually print the weight on the paper package.
  2. Use a Paper Weight Guide or Chart: Many online resources or craft stores have paperweight guides or charts that can help you determine the weight based on the type and size of your paper.
  3. GSM (Grams per Square Meter): GSM is another standard measurement for paper weight. This is a more straightforward measurement, as it tells you the weight of a single sheet of paper in grams, regardless of size. For example, standard printer paper is usually around 80 GSM.
  4. Contact the Manufacturer: If you need help finding the information on the packaging and need a chart, you can contact the manufacturer or retailer.
  5. Use a Scale: If you have a precise scale, you can weigh a sheet of your paper and then use a paper weight conversion chart to find the approximate weight. Remember, you'll need to know the primary size of the paper type for accurate conversion.
  6. Experience and Comparison: Sometimes, if you handle different types of paper frequently, you can gauge the weight by feeling the thickness and stiffness. Comparing your paper to others whose weight you know can also be a helpful reference.

Remember, in the context of scrapbooking or crafting, the weight of paper can affect its usability for different projects. Heavier paper, like cardstock, is more durable and suitable for base layers, while lighter paper is better for folding and layering.

If you want ALL the details about paper weight, we've covered it in depth in this paper weights blog article and showed cardstock with different paper weights over on our YouTube channel. 

how to determine paper weight

Scrapbook Paper Compatibility with Cutting Machines

Encore cardstock cutting ability test

Will All Scrapbooking Paper Work with Cricut and Silhouette Machines?

Not all scrapbooking papers are compatible with Cricut cutting machines, but there are many brands that do cut well. Typically, papers with multiple pressed layers, thick fibers (such as handmade papers) or specialty finishes do not cut as well as quality papers. 

For Cricut or Silhouette machines, we have several recommended paper brands that work well for cutting:

Textured Cardstock Brands That Cut Well:

Smooth Cardstock Brands That Cut Well:

Step #2: Know Where to Shop for Scrapbook Paper: Get Quality Cardstock

Where is the Best Place to Buy 12x12 Scrapbook Paper?

Purchase 12x12 scrapbook paper from scrapbook suppliers locally or online like Amazon and Etsy. Obviously, 12x12 Cardstock Shop is a top source for scrapbook paper, renowned for outstanding customer service and a vast color selection. New customers can enjoy a 10% discount on their first purchase with a unique code (watch for the pop up to get your discount). 

Creative Uses and Inspirations Beyond the Album: Innovative Ideas for 12x12 paper

Don't limit your creativity to just scrapbook albums. Use 12x12 paper to craft handmade cardsDIY party items, paper flowers and more. There are crafters using scrapbook paper for all kinds of beautiful crafts. 

Step #3 Join the Community: Connect, Share, and Learn the Scrapbooking Culture

How do I find new ideas for scrapbooking?

The scrapbooking world is big and for the most part it is a very encouraging community. Dive into blogs, YouTube channels, and social media groups to share your work, take a class and learn new techniques, and get inspired by crafters worldwide. Scrapbooking is a blend of creativity and social connection! 

Our store, 12x12 Cardstock Shop, actively engages with the scrapbook community. We regularly feature customer creations on our social channels, highlighting the diverse talents of our customers. We also teach at craft summits and sponsor online paper craft events. 

We also foster creativity through weekly paper craft blog tutorials and YouTube tutorials. Jump on our newsletter list so you don't miss any of it.  

The 12x12 Cardstock Design Team has many projects on Instagram and YouTube. Our video tutorials are fantastic resources for learning new techniques and finding inspiration. Here are a few of our favorites:

Our interactive and supportive environment makes 12x12 Cardstock Shop more than just a store; it's a hub for creative expression and community bonding for many people who enjoy scrapbooking.

customer comments on the 12x12 cardstock shop facebook group

As you dive more into the world of scrapbooking you'll start to find your own style and determine which brands and weights of 12x12 scrapbooking paper best meet your needs. Choosing the right paper is an essential component in memory-keeping. We love 12"x12" scrapbook paper for its larger size (giving you more room to create), variety, and compatibility with standard scrapbook albums and cutting machines like Cricut and Silhouette. 

Whether you're a seasoned scrapbooker or just starting, the world of 12x12 paper invites you to be creative, connect with friends, and preserve your memories in a uniquely personal way.

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