What is Card Stock, Really?
The Terms: Are Cover Stock & Card Stock the Same?
The terms cover stock and card stock are analogous and are frequently interchanged by both novices and industry professionals alike. They both refer to heavy weight paper, and for all intents and purposes, are the same thing – card stock, is cover stock, is thick or heavy paper – plain and simple.
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However it should be noted that in technical terms, there are slight differences between cover stock and card stock:
- Cover stock: is a specific term reserved for heavy weight paper of a decorative nature; found in an assortment of colors, finishes, textures, and coatings. Sticking with technicalities, cover stock is generally classified by paper basis weight, rather than caliper, or thickness.
- Card stock: is a more general term, defined by heavy weight paper of a simple, generic variety. Card stock is generally classified by caliper.
Note:LCI Paper refers to all heavy weight sheets as card stock, classified by basis weight.
How is Card Stock Made?
To understand how card stock is formed, you must understand the materials and the process. Both are key to the quality of the final product that results.
Hardwood, Softwood & Fillers
Generally speaking, card stock is made up of a blend of hardwood and softwood fibers and fillers. Hardwood provides proper paper formation, softwood provides strength, fillers add to the opacity, brightness, and overall appearance of the card stock. The secret is in the sauce, so they say, and the final card stock that results is dependent on the quality and ratio of the fibers in the blend.
Before being formed into card stock, the fiber/filler blend is about 99% water – so how is this fibery soup formed into card stock? Here’s the abbreviated version!
- The fiber blend is dispersed from an opening at the bottom of the headbox – a storage container at the start of the paper-making machine
- Blend flows onto a wire – a wide, flat, porous moving screen
- Water drains from the bottom of the wire, while fibers form into a cohesive sheet above
- Sheet is guided through a series of roller presses and heat dryers until it is a flat, uniform, dry sheet of card stock
Here’s the full version: How is Paper Made?
Why are Some Stocks Thicker than Others?
Although most machine-made papers are manufactured in the same general fashion, there are several variances in the weights and thicknesses of these papers. Variances in weight are simply due to the amount of fiber that is dispersed onto the wire at the start of the paper making process. The opening at the bottom of the headbox is adjustable, allowing for different amounts of fiber to be dispersed. In a nutshell, the more fiber that is present at onset, the thicker the paper in the end.
In some cases, thick card stock is made by adhering two thinner sheets together, rather than placing twice the amount of fiber on the wire at onset.
Are all Card Stocks Created Equally?
Since most card stock is created in the same general fashion, is card stock generally all the same? Absolutely Not! Each mill uses different fibers, in different ratios, and in a slightly different fashion. What is the result of these many differences? Many different card stocks of many varying qualities that are in no way, created equally.
What Determines a Quality Card Stock?
If card stock is not created equally, what determines a quality card stock? Many people are under the misconception that the quality of a card stock is determined by its thickness, stiffness or weight. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Depending on personal taste and what the paper will be used for, some prefer thick, heavy stock, some prefer a lighter, softer stock. Therefore, the quality of a card stock is determined by the fiber quality and manufacturing process, not by thickness.
If you are shopping card stock from LCI Paper, you can be assured any stock you choose is of utmost quality; coming only from renowned mills that produce paper with only the highest standards of beauty, quality, longevity, and environmentally conscious paper manufacturing in mind.
Cardstock Paper by Size
For convenience, LCI offers our card stock papers in standard & common sizes. From small to large and every dimension in between, we have a paper size to fit your creative project. But what are these standard sizes, and where do they come from, you ask?
The paper mills supply paper in very large sheets - parent sheets - that measure roughly 23 x 35 or 26 x 40 inches, the exact size varying with each paper. With the exception of commercial printers, not many people have the equipment to handle such large sheets, so we cut them down to more usable sizes. The result is a collection of perfectly cut, perfectly sized card stock for your creative project. Learn more about these sizes below.
8 1/2 x 11 Cardstock Paper - The Size You Know & Love
It's the size in your printers, your photocopiers, your fax machines - you know it when you see it. It's the most commonly used paper size for office and personal use. It's easy to handle & convenient to cut.
Why It's Great
- You're comfortable with it. You've been using it since preschool.
- Most printers default to it, which means no custom page set up
- It's a perfect size - large enough to create multiple cards with, small enough to fit in most printers
- It's really easy to make 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 (A9) cards with - just cut it or fold it in half, and your work is done!
8 1/2 x 14 Cardstock Paper - Legal Size
Add an extra three inches to that 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, and you have 8 1/2 x 14, or legal sized card stock.
Why It's Great
- Your printer won't default to it, but it'll certainly recognize it as a standard size. Easy.
- Designing with bleeds? Making a fancy award certificate? Sometimes that extra 3 inches comes in handy
- Again, large enough for multiple cards without being too large for a home printer
11 x 17 Cardstock Paper
Double the standard 8 1/2 x 11 and you get 11 x 17 tabloid sized card stock - a large, but useful size for all kinds of commercial & digital printing to crafting projects.
Why It's Great
- Great press sized sheet - most home printers can't print on it, but professional printers certainly can, and many would prefer to
- Folded in half it makes a great menu, or portfolio cover
- Creating a design that bleeds? No sweat! Print on 11 x 17, then cut!
12 x 12 Cardstock Paper
That's right scrapbookers, this one's for you. This size is very often seen in scrapbook pages, but it has some other great uses too.
Why Square is Great!
- Perfect fit for scrapbooks (but we already said that)
- Get multiple square cards to a sheet with little waste (unlike 8 1/2 x 11)
- Fits in all 12 x 12 standard paper cutters (another reference for the crafty folks)
Listed above are the most common paper sizes stocked at LCI. Not all papers and colors are stocked in these convenient paper sizes, but most are. And because we have these sizes stocked at our location, we are able to provide lightening fast deliveries on most of our papers.
Don't See Quite What You're Looking For? Don't Fret - We Offer Custom Cutting Too!
If you can't find that specific size you're after, we offer custom paper cutting too! Get the right sized paper delivered to your doorstep quickly - no muss, no fuss. Give us a call to find out more.
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Paper, thicker and more durable than normal writing or printing paper
"Pasteboard" redirects here. For the software tool, see Clipboard (computing). For the bowling ball surface (coverstock), see Bowling ball § Coverstock technology.
Card stock, also called cover stock and pasteboard, is paper that is thicker and more durable than normal writing and printing paper, but thinner and more flexible than other forms of paperboard.
Card stock is often used for business cards, postcards, playing cards, catalogue covers, scrapbooking, cardmaking, and other applications requiring more durability than regular paper gives. The surface usually is smooth; it may be textured, metallic, or glossy. When card stock is labeled cover stock, it often has a glossy coating on one or both sides (C1S or C2S, for "coated: one side" or "coated: two sides"); this is used especially in business cards and book covers.
Most nations describe paper in terms of grammage—the weight in grams of one sheet of the paper measuring one square meter.
Other people, especially in the United States, describe paper in terms of pound weight—the weight in pounds of 500 sheets of the paper with a given area: for card stock, this is 17 by 22 in (432 by 559 mm); for text stock (thinner paper, as used for writing and in books); this is 20 by 38 in (508 by 965 mm). In describing paper, the pound is often symbolized by the pound symbol, #. Because of the difference in the way text- and card-stock pound weight is determined, a sheet of 65# card stock is thicker and heavier than a sheet of 80# text.
The weight of cardstock ranges from 50# to 110# (about 135 to 300 g/m2).
Rather than as a function of weight per sheet of a given area, paper thickness can be measured and stated directly, in units of linear measure. In the United States, this usually is expressed in thousandths of an inch, often abbreviated thou points (pt. and pts.) and mils. For example, a 10 pt. card is 0.010 in (0.254 mm) thick (corresponding to a weight of about 250 g/m2), and 12 pt. is 0.012 in (0.3048 mm). The thou point (1/1,000 inch) differs from the typographical point (1/12 traditional pica = exactly 0.01383 inch = 0.35136 mm).
The length and width of card stock often are stated in terms of the ISO system of paper sizes, in which specific dimensions are implied by numbers prefixed with the letter A. Card stock labeled A3, for example, measures 420 × 297 mm (16.5 × 11.7 in).
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