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Posted by on Jan 28, 2010 in Cardmaking 101, Tutorial | 40 comments

Tutorial: Cardstock

Tutorial: Cardstock

In an effort to help all our new cardmakers, we have this series of “101” tutorials, exploring basic supplies and techniques to help new folks get started! We also have “201” ideas for intermediate cardmakers, and some “301” techniques for the advanced folks. Hopefully that means we’ll have plenty of inspiration for everyone! See a list of all tutorials here, and a great glossary of terminology here.

To make a nice card, start with nice cardstock.

Flimsy or lightweight papers can make your cardmaking process so much more challenging, so it’s important to begin with a good weight of cardstock. Some cardstock is very heavy and can be challenging to fold, others are somewhat thinner; they’re sold at paper stores, stamping stores, office supply stores, scrapbooking stores, and through “demonstrators.” (These are individuals who represent a product line—they often have parties in homes like Tupperware parties, where you can sample the company’s products and purchase them.) Be sure you can look at one of the pieces of paper inside the pack before buying it, so you know if it’s too lightweight for cards.

Some common paper texture terminology.

  • Felt Rough, looks like the texture of speckled walls
  • Laid Rough, linear pattern
  • Linen Embossed pattern, looks like fabric
  • Smooth Just what it sounds like
  • Vellum Basically flat, but with a little bit of tooth

A letter-sized sheet makes two cards.

Most packs of cardstock measure 8.5 x 11, and they come in “reams” of various sizes from 50 sheets to 500 sheets. Cutting the cardstock in half on the short side makes a card of a different style than cutting it the other way. Neither is wrong—it just depends on what kind of opening you’d like for your card. Both cards, when folded, are “A2” size, which is what OWH prefers…4.25 x 5.5 cards fit perfectly into the A2 envelopes we purchase.


A tip on folding.
You might find it helpful to purchase a bone folder. These come in many shapes and sizes, but with the same purpose: to crease your fold nicely on your cardstock! You make a partial fold using your finger, and then crease it using the smooth edge of the bone folder. Some people find an object they already have in their home that has a smooth, hard edge to it to use for the same purpose, so you may not have to buy a tool to achieve a nice edge. You might also choose to purchase an inexpensive ScorBuddy to have on hand – it has measurements right on the platform and it’s easy to make crisp scores – and measure where you’re making them.


Cardstock isn’t always expensive.
There are many many places to purchase cardstock; but one of the most cost-effective white cardstock we’ve found is the Georgia-Pacific 110, sold at most Wal-Mart stores. It’s only a few dollars for a huge ream of paper—what a deal! It only comes in white. Note that it’s the THINNEST cardstock OWH recommends for card bases – heavier is better, as our heroes sometimes use the sand for a writing surface, and thin paper makes a pen or pencil poke through as they write. If you want to use colored cardstock and don’t want to sink a lot of money into it, find a cardmaking friend to split it with; then you can pick out a few colors and divide and conquer!

Check out our tutorial about PAPER WEIGHTS too.

Experienced cardmakers: Where do you purchase your cardstock? Are there types you find work best? Are there drawbacks to certain types?
New cardmakers: What other questions do you have about cardstock?

40 Comments

  1. I use the white Georgia Pacific paper from Wal Mart. I find it's the the right texture, etc…

    • Ok, my Wal-Mart didn’t have anything like that. Is the stock 110# index stock? I did I get some 110# to use and the grain runs the right way to making folding with the grain. It’s smoother than a vellum but it is I dex and not card stock.
      Please tell me if this will do.
      MaryLou
      luluartgurl@gmai
      l.com

      • I asked Paula and she said this:

        That GP that Walmart sells is actually 110# Index so what you have should be comparable. They label it as simply card stock presumably because to people outside the paper/printing industry using the term index is useless. I believe that some “Index” is also available in 90# so you’d want to avoid that, which would be too thin for bases. Vellum describes a paper’s finish not a weight so I can’t help on that statement.

        Are you anywhere near a FedEx Kinko’s? As I understand it they sell basic 80# cardstock in every store they have.

  2. I am a SU demonstrator and I love our colored cardstock. I use it for everything and when you break it down it is cheaper by the sheet then even Bazzill. I do use the GP white to stamp on, because I ess up all the time and I can only bring myself to use the "PERFECT" images. Plus I like it. I also Bazzill and Paper Trey Ink because they are nice and thick and come in a wonderful assortment of colors. Those are my picks

  3. For the most part, I buy the packs from Michael's when they have a sale. I have used Papertrey Inks and there cardstock is amazing…I am just too impatient to wait and receive my order. They do have a matching system though, so all the paper, ink and embellishments are the same colors. Stampin Up has a matching system that is nice too. Honestly, my cardstock is only used as a base and for stamping the images. I usually use card fronts of heavier paper such as Die Cuts with a View textured cardstock or Bazzill.

  4. Just another person to chime in how much I love Papertrey Ink's thick cardstock. I love using it for cards, because I know the layers will hold their shape so well. Also, it's not directly related to cardstock, but I love using my scor-pal for all my scoring on my cards. I always get a straight score this way.

  5. I buy a lot of inexpensive cardstock on sale at ACM or Walmart that is sturdy and ideal for folding in half and making cards. For scrapping I like the DCWV stacks (on sale at Joann.com frequently) and Bazzill

  6. I'm a stampin' up! addict. Nothing beats their weight and color selection!!

  7. I am a American Crafts Cardstock person, I sell in my store Scrapin Kats, everyone loves it! I save all my scraps to use for Cricut and slice.. waste not want not.. I hoard paper even thou I have a ton!
    Kathy
    Scrapin Kats Scrapbooking'
    Culman Al
    http://www.scrapinkats.blogspot.com I have blog candy this month!

  8. I like Michael's 8.5×11 cardstock too. It comes in many colors and it is often onsale for $1.99.

  9. Wow, what a fabulous "101" tutorial! I'm a sucker for Stampin Up cardstock (I love how I can get the ink to match!) but will go with generic white or vanilla.

    The problem I run into is what to cut the cardstock with…I feel like I go through blades (Fiskars trimmer) so fast and I'm not getting a clean cut all the time. I have a Creative Memories cutter but it's only a 6 inch cutter.

  10. I get cardstock from several sources and gear it towards the application. For my card base and layers I mostly use Stampin' Up because I love that they have inks, markers and embellishments all in matching colors. Recently I've begun using copics and for that I find PTI White and Gina K work best because the paper absorbs the color and it doesn't show through the backside as much. For my card liners I use the Georgia Pacific cardstock from Wal-mart! Since I started scrapbooking I have a huge stash of patterned paper and have begun using Bazzill and Prism Papers more too!

  11. On a totally unrelated topic, I'm new to blogging and I can't figure out how you post on the blog roll????? can someone help??? 🙂 thanks and happy cardmaking

  12. You can also minimize frustration by checking the natural 'warp' of the cardstock you are using. 81/2 x 11 is obvious but if you are cutting down a 12 x 12 sheet hold the sides lightly and bend towards each other then turn paper a 1/4 turn and try again. One of them will be easier to do and that is the natural warp so folding on it will be easier. If you fold against it you tend to get those unsightly creases 🙂

  13. I just get white cardstock from Walmarts, but I do love the heavy card stock and the paper from DCWV which I get through Joann's. Their paper is heavier which makes it easier to work with, especially for cards.

  14. Right now I am using Michael's package's. But once those are done I am using Staples 110lb white.

    *Tip – Take your paper to be but at Kinko's (or whatever it is called now). Here they charge $1.69+tax/cut. I give them a ream and whala…tons of perfectly straight cut paper.

  15. I get my coloured cardstock from Joanns when it's on sale (it's normally $3.99 for 50 assorted sheets but they fairly often put it on sale for half price and I stock up then!) I get white and/or cream by the ream at Staples. A ream of cardstock goes a long long way when you're cutting each sheet in half!

  16. PS. I stock up on printed stationery at The Dollar Tree to use for cardliners – I fold the sheet into quarters and then trim off the middle and the two outsides to make two liners that nest nicely inside the card.

  17. I am a consultant from Close To My Heart (www.nycscraps.myctmh.com) and beginning on Monday, Feb. 1, we are going to have a Hearts For Haiti sale – buy one pack of textured cardstock for $14.95 and get a second pack FREE. $2.00 from each pack sold will go to support relief efforts in Haiti. Check my website on Monday @ 11:00AM EST for more details! http://www.nycscraps.myctmh.com

  18. Strathmore Deckle. They're expensive, but once you've gone there, you can't seem to return to plain cards!!! 😉 ~alisa

  19. Great information, thanks!

    I am a fan of Paper Zone. My favorite white cardstock is sold there. It is Conqueror CX22 Diamond White 110 pound weight. It is $33.99 for 200 sheets.

    While Conqueror may not be the most cost effective paper for mass production, Copics color, ink stamps so good on this paper. It is a great weight for the base of a card.

    I have used the Georgia Pacific paper mentioned. It works adequate, but I find that the brightness is not quite as bright as I would like. Also, I know that it states that it is a 110 pound weight, but seems like it is less than that when I compare it to my other 110 pound papers……could just be me…. LOL 😉

  20. I have had great luck using the same cutting system for my cardstock as I have for my quilting fabric. I use a rotary cutter and mat. (NOT the same cutter I use for my fabric.) When the blade starts to "skip" then it's time for a new one.

  21. Marco's Paper, online at http://www.marcopaper.com/. They sell cardstock in all weights, colors and finishes, in bulk of 250 or 500 sheets or in smaller packages. I especially like their selection of duplex cardstock (smooth white on one side, dark colored on the other. Also, Hollo's Papercraft in Brunswick, Ohio (southwest suburb of Cleveland). It is a papercrafting warehouse with unbeatable prices. No online ordering, unfortunately.

  22. A question, please? What about inserting a sheet of paper, making more space for writing than just the card’s inside?

  23. Good question Pat – if you want to tuck an extra piece in (in addition to an adhered liner in a dark card), you can; but when it’s not attached it may get lost. So they have to be able to write in the card as well. 🙂

    • Thank you.

  24. Hi I am new to this (got my stamp already though!) and had 2 questions. When placing a liner in a dark or thin card do you adhere the liner to both sides or just one? I thought if I only did one side- the down side- it would give an additional space to write. My other question is about stamping additional sentiments on the inside- or is it best to leave it blank?

    • Lynn, I usually do just one side, some do both – it’s up to you. Only use an additional stamp inside if you do both sides – unless mine has a pun to “finish” inside, I leave the insides blank for max letterwriting space 🙂

      • Thank you

  25. I buy Close To My Heart White Daisy, Black and Colonial White cardstocks. They make wonderful card bases and in addition seem to hold up well when used and abused through the mail. I buy 50 cards/envelopes from them also and love the fact I don’t have to go looking for an envelope that way.

  26. Ok What paper do you use that does not run on the paper when you stamp image?

  27. The problem would be your ink, not your paper.I use Memento Tuxedo Black ink…rarely have issues with it running.

  28. Paper Wishes just came out with A2 white folded cards and envelope with OWH in mind. Package of 50 for $6.99. I build my card to leave a small white border. My hands are giving me some trouble, so not having to fold is a good thing.

  29. Hi, just a heads up: the link to your list of tutorials is broken. I did find the list by searching the site so that page dies exist.

    Cheers,
    Catherine

  30. Can you use michaels card/envelope packs of 50?

  31. Has anyone tried to use the Recollections 110 weight paper you see at Michaels? I don’t currently have any and wondered if anyone had experience with using it for this project? Thanks much!

  32. The link to the tutorials in the top paragraph leads to a “No Results” page with the same header (the photo) as this page. 🙁

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