Paper & Card Stock

Paper is a versatile material produced with fibers derived from wood, rags, grasses or other plant and vegetable sources. It is used to produce a wide variety of printing and packaging materials ranging from postcards and catalogs to bags and paper tubes to corrugated boxes and folding cartons.


There is no explicit industry standards that differentiates each paper grade, just general a rule of thumb. Thus, manufacturers and suppliers will follow different conventions. It is always best to describe the end product and use case to make sure you get the quality you desire.

While there many different grades, these are the most common when discussing custom print projects on Carton.

In the US, paper is described by pound weight or calipher. Pound weight, or basis weight, is the weight in pounds per ream (500 sheets) of the paper with a given size, which differs between classification of paper (table below). Calipher (thickness) of the paper is expressed in points (pt), where a sheet of paper with a thickness of 0.010" would be 10 pt.

In Europe, paper is sold in grammage (gms) and caliper is expressed in microns. Paper weight measurement is straight forward: the weight in grams of one sheet of the paper measuring one square meter.

Paper GradeBasis Size
Utility Paper & Newsprint24" x 36"
Text, Offset & Book Paper 25" x 38"
Writing, Ledger & Bond Paper 17" x 22"
Cover Stock 20" x 26"
Bristol Paper 22.5" x 28.5"
Index Paper 25.5" x 30.5"

Despite the confusing measurements, paper weight is important to understand because it plays a key role in quality, durability, and visual impression. To help compare apples to apples, below are paper grades for common use cases. Keep in mind these are approximate weights and thickness, different types of paper from different mills slightly vary.

GradeWeightThickness (pt)Use Cases
Utility Paper 10#     17gms 1Tissue Paper
 20#     32gms 2Void Fill
 30#     49gms 3Newspaper, Bible Paper
 40#     68gms 4Kraft / Butcher Paper
Text Paper 50#     75gsm 3.8Copy Paper, Novels
 60#     90gsm 4.7Paper Labels
 70#    105gsm 5.8Comic Books, Letterhead, Resumes, Stationery
 80#    120gsm 6Magazines
100#    148gsm 7.2Children's Books, Art Books, Brochures
Card Stock 65#    176gsm 8Tickets
 90#    245gsm10Business Cards, Postcards, Invitations
Cover Stock100#    270gsm11Catalog Covers
110#    297gsm13Paperback Covers, Graphic Novels
130#    351gsm16Heavier Trade Catalogs


Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is a multipurpose durable paper made from wood pulp; available in natural and bleached white colors and various weights. It is a STRONG paper! Usage ranges from mailers, void fill, pressure sensitive labels, tapes, to corrugated packaging. It is not naturally water resistant; a coating or lamination must be applied. Up to 90% recycled content available, and material is easily curbside recyclable with high recycling rate.

Linen Paper

Linen paper is a premium quality paper made from pure linen or from wood pulp that produces a similar paper finish. It has a unique weave texture.



Updated on June 20, 2023


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