What is the difference between card stock and construction paper?
February 5, 2009 7:39 AM   Subscribe

What is the difference between card stock and construction paper? Any web searches reveal that they're of similar weight/size and are used in standard art projects, but being from non-US, they're not specific enough for me to understand what it is. Where I live, it's all "cardboard" to us =\ .

If there are folks who've laid hands on these, it would help me with arts/crafts projects online if I used the right paper-tools for the job
posted by kreestar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
 
Card stock is thicker than construction paper. It's harder to fold. Construction paper isn't that much heavier than regular paper. Some card stock is glossy; construction paper is never glossy. Cardboard is entirely different; it's much thicker and is hard to fold by hand.
posted by desjardins at 7:45 AM on February 5, 2009


To me, card stock has a crisper edge and folds more precisely. It also has a more uniform color to it. Construction paper has kind of a rougher texture and tears more easily. You can see an 'unfinished' surface to it, unlike card stock.

What kind of projects are you using these for? It might be helpful to know in debating the use of each and which tools to apply.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:46 AM on February 5, 2009


In the US, in my personal experience, card stock has a smoother finish and construction paper is rougher. So card stock is smooth like regular office paper but thicker and construction paper has a little more texture to it (and less resiliency) and feels more like newsprint to the touch, only thicker. Construction paper is more flexible, card stock is stiffer. Card stock is like the subscription cards you get in a magazine (with varying weights, can be thicker or about that thickness). In Looking at photos online however, it looks like many people use the term construction paper to refer to heavy paper with a smoothish finish as well.
posted by jessamyn at 7:46 AM on February 5, 2009


Card stock appears to be less porous than construction paper. I would be able to run cardstock through an inkjet and not worry about bleeding/crisp edges.

Some construction paper has a certain particle board/MDF look to it, where as cardstock just looks like regular printer paper only thicker.
posted by librarianamy at 7:47 AM on February 5, 2009


Construction paper usually is used for children's crafts. It tears more easily, a bit like newspaper tears easily. It's a little thicker than newspaper, though. Sometimes you can see bits of pulp in it. When you use an eraser on construction paper, it will tear and ball up a bit.

Cardstock is heavy paper, like what you see with business cards. It's smoother than construction paper, and more durable. You can't see bits of pulp in it.
posted by Houstonian at 7:48 AM on February 5, 2009


In my experience, cardstock is thicker, heavier, and smoother than construction paper, which is basically just slightly thick, lightweight colored paper.

Cardstock is what, well, greeting cards are made out of. It also tends to be available in more vivid colors than construction paper, which is often somewhat muted.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2009


Also, consider the weight of the paper. The higher the number, the thicker and stiffer the paper. Cardstock comes in different weights. As far as I know, construction paper only comes in one weight (not sure what it is, but it's definitely less than cardstock).
posted by desjardins at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2009


card stock

construction paper, which appears to be called sugar paper in the UK. Where are you?
posted by grouse at 7:56 AM on February 5, 2009


Here, construction paper is usually sold in tablets with multiple colors (each sheet a solid, bright color) included in the pack. You'll usually get red, pink, green, maybe a different green, blue, some white pieces, etc.

Card stock can be purchased in packs of a single color, and even in multi-color packs you tend to get more subdued colors -- a gray, or pale blue, etc. It's more polished in appearance, having a smoother texture as mentioned above.

"Card stock" is thicker and stiffer than regular paper, but not as thick and stiff as "cover stock", which is what I'd use for, say, flash cards.
posted by amtho at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2009


Construction Paper art.
posted by Espoo2 at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2009


Card stock is generally a much higher quality paper than construction paper. It is usually acid-free, comes with either a smooth and vellum (or lightly textured) surface, and is less porous, meaning ink applied to it will not bleed as much as it would with construction paper. Card stock is basically akin to a standard printing paper, just thicker, usually between 70lbs and 120lbs (most printing paper is 20lb paper, and notebook paper is 24lbs).

While thick, at times, construction paper is mostly a craft paper, is generally not acid-free, will tend to bleed a lot more, and, for the most part, has a much rougher texture.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:23 AM on February 5, 2009


Um, Espoo2's link. Most of the pictures shown there say "card stock" or "cardstock" or "colored paper" at bottom of image, NOT construction paper.
posted by marsha56 at 9:38 AM on February 5, 2009


What everyone above said. Card stock is much more "professional" looking. I'd recommend using it in whatever craft project you're doing.
posted by radioamy at 9:40 AM on February 5, 2009


Thanks. I think I now have a fair idea of which is which. I'm from South Africa and as far as I'm aware, we call your card stock "cardboard or poster board/paper" (and it's smoother/glossier and comes in all weights/stiffnesses) and your "construction paper" is ... a mystery to me. I can only imagine it's found at art or craft shops rather than stationers and is closest to pastel paper maybe ? I'm not sure us laypeople have a specific name for it, but at least I have a clue now :)

The kind of crafts that have recently called for construction paper have been greeting cards, where it specifies that you affix the cardstock to the construction paper, so it makes sense that the construction paper is the more textured, "heavier" and decorative of the two. Here's where I tend to encounter the phrase the most.

Thanks again! Very helpful.
posted by kreestar at 11:22 AM on February 5, 2009


a mystery to me. I can only imagine it's found at art or craft shops rather than stationers and is closest to pastel paper maybe ? I'm not sure us laypeople have a specific name for it, but at least I have a clue now :)

No, not really like pastel paper. Construction paper is mostly crap paper made cheaply and colored. It's the lowest form of colored craft paper there is. There are some versions that are acid free, but you need to be careful to choose those. Pastel paper is toothy, and generally of a higher quality.

so it makes sense that the construction paper is the more textured, "heavier" and decorative of the two.

It's not, actually- it's lighter than cardstock. It's really all about the color, and ease of cutting or tearing because it's thin and soft.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:54 AM on February 5, 2009


"thin" relative to cardstock, that is. It's heavier than writing paper. Think of the weight of white paper bags, but softer, less crisp. Here it is very similar to paper sold for sketchbooks.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:58 AM on February 5, 2009


Construction paper is a bit like heavy-weight newsprint, loaded up with pigment.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:02 PM on February 5, 2009


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