Paper for Greeting Card Making

Commercially available paper comes in a wide number of types, weights, sizes, colors, and finishes. The two most commonly used sizes in making greeting cards are A4 and A5. A5 is 5.83" x 8.27" (148 x 210 mm). A4 is 8.27" x 11.69" (210 x 297 mm) but often what you will find is 8.5" x 11" (216 x 279 mm) instead of a true A4. Most stationery and art and craft stores carry a wide range of ready cut paper and are often available in single sheets.

The weights and types of paper can be confusing. The most common types are bond (also called ledger, mimeo, duplicator, or rag), text (also called offset or book), cover, tag, and index. The two types most often used for making greeting cards are text and cover. Both text and cover are available in what is called "card stock." This usually just means a heavier weight suitable for card making. 80# cover is suitable for greeting cards - anything less is borderline. 100# cover is often used for cards also.

Weights are based on a "basis size" and those basis sizes are different for each type of paper. Therefore, 110# text is the same weight (or caliper) as 60# cover. The pound rating is the weight of a ream (500 sheets) of its basis size. For instance, the basis size of text paper is 25" x 38", so a ream of 60# text paper 25" x 38" would weigh 60 pounds. The basis size of cover paper is 20" x 26".

Construction paper is that ubiquitous stuff we used in grade school. It has a slight texture, comes in muted colors, and is economically priced. Due to its value for the money, it's a good paper on which to practice. It's also useful for accents and window inserts.

Parchment is traditionally animal skins or linings stretched and prepared as writing/painting surfaces. It is now most commonly a type of paper widely used in craft projects. It has a mottled finish and varied surface similar to that of genuine parchment. The finest parchment papers, manufactured from sulphite pulp, are translucent.

Tissue paper in now available in a wide array of colors and comes in prints, too. It is good for stenciling and printing but of course it's too lightweight for card base. Tissue can make for good accents.

Vellum - A specialty paper with a hard non-porous surface and a translucent character. Available in a variety of colors and textures. Vellum was originally made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin.

Corrugated card or paper - A bold medium that brings depth and texture to greeting cards. It's a little expensive but probably worth it. It can be used for decorative accents or for the card blank itself.

Handmade paper is available in rich, bold colors as well as soft pastel shades. Some have flower petals and leaves embedded to give an interesting texture. Handmade paper can be used for layering and some is heavy enough to be used as the card blank.

Mulberry Paper is handmade from the inner fiber of the mulberry to produce an exceptionally pure, translucent paper, used by paper and painting conservators in repair and lamination. It is very strong, despite its light weight.

Other stuff - Consider wrapping paper; it often comes in interesting patterns. Also, don't overlook other paper items like table napkins, doilies, etc. for greeting card parts.

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