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Different Types of Craft Paper and Their Uses

The Spruce / Ashley Nicole DeLeon

Don’t know what type of paper to use for a craft? Check out this handy list. Never be mystified by a crafting project again.

Cardstock

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Cardstock is a medium weight paper. It is heavier than printer paper and thinner than cardboard. Greeting cards, scrapbooking, handmade boxes, and more are most often made from this type of paper.

Cardstock is sold in a variety of textures and colors. It can also be lignin and acid-free which is the perfect medium for scrapbooking. Cardstock is the most popular type of crafting paper.

Construction Paper

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Construction paper is a favorite for children’s crafts because it is inexpensive and is available in many colors. It has a rough texture and is difficult to fold. Construction paper is not for projects that are meant to last a long time because the colors fade quickly. Elementary school teachers often use construction paper for class craft projects.

Corrugated Cardboard

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This type of cardboard usually has two thin outer layers of paper, with a fluted sheet of paper in the middle. Cardboard boxes are made from corrugated cardboard because it is an incredibly robust and durable type of paper. Because corrugated cardboard is stiff, it can be difficult to cut. Use a sharp craft knife and ruler for the best cutting results.

Cardboard boxes can be made into toy houses, cars, spaceships, and even furniture. You are only limited by your imagination. The fluted middle can be used in scrapbooking and card making.

Crepe Paper

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Crepe paper is a type of thinly coated tissue paper. It is gathered to produce a crinkled surface that stretches easily. It comes in many colors and is sold in rolls or sheets. Crepe paper is often used for paper flower making with stunning results. Crepe paper streamers are used as party decorations. Many kid’s crafts are also made out of crepe paper.

Make sure to use a higher grade of crepe paper, such as Italian crepe paper when making paper flowers. Paper flowers made from Italian crepe paper are quite striking. They can be surprisingly realistic.

Kraft Paper

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Kraft paper is a coarse brown paper that is used for wrapping packages. Paper bags are also made from this type of material. It can be bleached to various lighter shades varying from brown to white. Kraft paper is available in sheets or paper rolls.

Kraft paper is used for cardmaking, scrapbooking and even flower crafts.

Mulberry Paper

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Mulberry paper is a handmade paper that originated in China. It is made from the fibers of the mulberry plant and produces an exceptionally lightweight but durable paper. It has a coarse texture and an organic look. It is often used for scrapbooking and collage work.

Newsprint

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Newsprint is the paper used for printing newspapers. It is a cheap paper that is thick enough to be printed on both sides. Newsprint is often used for paper mache projects. It tears easily and holds paper mache paste well.

Origami Paper

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Origami paper crafts can be made out of any paper that folds well. Craft stores sell prepackaged paper that is explicitly used for origami. They usually have Washi paper designs on one side and white background on the other. The paper is square and folds well, but often may be quite thin and not suitable for crafts other than origami.

Scrapbook Paper

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Scrapbook paper is available for sale at craft stores. This paper comes in thousands of patterns and designs. The choices can be overwhelming. Some papers are thicker than others, and some are printed on both sides. Standard scrapbook paper sizes are 12-inch x 12 inches or 8.5-inch x 11-inch. Although scrapbook paper is sold primarily for scrapbooking, it is suitable for use with other types of paper crafts.

Tissue Paper

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Tissue paper is a fragile paper that comes in a variety of colors. White tissue paper is used to wrap items in stores. Colored tissue paper is used for gift bags, paper flowers, collage work, and even painting. Tissue paper also makes beautiful giant-sized pom-poms that are used for party decorations.

Vellum

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Vellum paper is translucent and quite thin. It is used for card making, scrapbooking and tracing. Vellum is often used as a layer in wedding invitations or fancy greeting cards.

Decoupage Paper

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Decoupage is the art of gluing cut out pictures onto an object. Furniture, jewelry, glass plates, paper boxes, and light switches are just some of the objects that can be decorated with decoupage.

Craft stores sell beautifully printed papers that are explicitly used for decoupage, but any thin paper, such as glossy magazine cut-outs or tissue paper will work.

Washi Paper

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Washi paper was invented by the Japanese. It is stunning and can stand alone as artwork. It is quite unique in design and used for a variety of crafts.

Washi can be used for card making, scrapbooking, wallpaper, bookbinding, screens, origami, and many other crafts.

Wondering what the best type of paper to use for your craft project? Learn about 13 types of craft paper and their designated craft uses.

The 7 most common types of paper

There is a broad variety of types of paper on the market that are adapted to specific applications or the target industry. Each type has specific properties in terms of composition, production and handling. It is important to be familiar with each one of them before choosing the material for a project. To provide some guidance in this choice, this article provides an overview of the most common papers on the market.

Repro paper

Also called offset or printing paper. It is one of the most common papers on the market and is manufactured in large quantities. Generally speaking, these sheets are made with a small amount of cellulose and a great deal of filler, which facilitates printing, their main application. The most common grammages range from 70 to 90, although they can be as high as 100 grams. Manufacturers seek the greatest possible degree of whiteness for this material, largely obtained with the help of fillers. On the other hand, since it is used for applications that do not require a great deal of handling it is only strong enough to go through the printer or to be folded.

The evolution in the manufacture of this material has led pulp factories to be integrated into paper factories to reduce costs, with the entire process being conducted in the same facility. The paper is normally produced in 9 to 10-metre-wide runs at a speed of 2000 metres per minute.

Couché or coated paper

Coated paper is manufactured with more short than long fibre, and the filler is joined to the fibre by means of a binding agent, which may be synthetic or natural (normally calcium carbonate). A coated layer is applied to the cellulose, yielding better printing and resolution results (on account of the higher screens). This is because the ink remains on the surface, and consequently the post-printing result is shinier and more colourful.

The most common option is white coated paper, because if the coating cracks, the background colour is not apparent (although the colour difference will be noticeable in colour coatings). There is the matte or semi-matte finish, also involving the application of surface ink, although in this case the ink is less shinier.

In terms of strength, the high amount of fibre and short fibre makes it quite low, as opposed to the high printing quality. Production runs are normally between 7 and 8 metres wide in the machine, with speeds of up to 1000 metres a minute.

Tissue paper

This material is highly absorbent and soft. Its water resistance will depend on the subtype in question: paper used to manufacture handkerchiefs or napkins must withstand liquids to prevent them from falling apart when used, whereas paper used for napkins must dissolve easily. To achieve this, different treatments are applied during the manufacturing process and they are normally produced with virgin fibre.

Coloured tissue paper is made with a mass-dyed process. Prints and reliefs are applied off-line once the paper has left the machine. This paper is normally made in rolls with a width of 4 metres that is subsequently cut to order at a maximum speed of 2000 metres a minute.

Newsprint

Newsprint paper, as its name implies, is used to print newspapers. Its life-cycle is short, normally one day, for obvious reasons. For this reason, material quality does not need be high and the paper is manufactured with mechanical pulp containing residue, as the paper does not need to be white. It is rarely coloured, although if it is the colour is applied by means of mass-dying.

On account of this low quality, ink finishes are precarious (this is noticeable, for example, in the printing of low-resolution photographs or in the ink, which has a dull finish). The paper’s mechanical properties are also virtually non-existent, having the basic strength needed for the reader to turn the pages of the newspaper without tearing them.

Cardboard

Cardboard is a product made with paper, although this is not always evident on account of its thickness. It is made with raw, unbleached wood pulp, leading it to maintain its original brown colour. As appearance is not a concern, it is normally made with recycled material. Cardboard is comprised of three layers of paper, two smooth outer layers and a corrugated inner layer, the latter providing it with its characteristic strength. In terms of mechanical properties, the corrugated layer makes the material strong, although on the other hand it is not suitable for printing, since it may get crushed depending on the pressure applied to it.

One subgroup inside the cardboards is Kraft paper, made of a single layer of paper. It is used for thinner packing, since it is easy to handle and also to adapt to the specific product to be wrapped.

Paperboard

This material is used to make most food containers, such as cereal or biscuit packaging. Paperboards are made of very short fibres which are not usually virgin fibres, since the inner layer does not need to be white. As a rule, it has a coated layer that serves as a printable surface and also to guarantee the appearance of the external and visible side to make the product attractive to consumers. Grammage will vary depending on the target industry or the specific application or product. In terms of mechanical characteristics, it must be strong enough to withstand the product being opened and closed until it is no longer used.

Fine art paper

Fine arts paper must have different technical and functional characteristics depending on the artistic technique. This material was devised as a more economical option to canvases: in fact, some of these papers actually featured excellent characteristics and can withstand almost a Century without turning yellow. In actual fact, between 1920 and 1930, Guarro Casas turned its hand to the manufacture of special papers for works by Picasso, Miró, Dalí and García Lorca.

There is a broad variety of types of paper on the market that are adapted to specific applications or the target industry. Each type has specific properties in terms of composition, production and handling. It is important to be familiar with each one of them before choosing the material for a project. To provide some guidance in this choice, this article provides an overview of the most common papers on the market.Repro paper ]]>