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Types of Paper for Art

Types of Paper for Art: Definitive Guide

The best thing about crafting with paper is that getting the main raw material, paper, is very easy. That’s dues to the ready availability of paper and its inexpensive nature. Again, beyond the basic copy paper, there are many more varieties of paper, and that introduces our topic today.

If you’re looking to go into paper crafting, it’s very essential that you learn the available types of paper because to have great results with paper crafting, you need to use the right paper. Now, to help you with that, we’ve composed a list of the main art paper types, and we’ve done our best to give you a good description of where each type is used.

13 Different Type of Paper for Art

Scrapbook Paper

Also known as Patterned Paper, this is the kind of paper that is printed with patterns on one side, and sometimes, it has embossing or glitter. It’s commonly found in craft stores and comes in a variety of patterns and colors.

The scrapbook paper is best used for:

  • Scrapbooking
  • Flat decorative paper crafts
  • Decorated cards

Copy Paper

This is what comes to mind when most people think about paper. It’s the white, relatively light paper that is normally used for printing, and some people refer to it as xerographic or laser bond paper.

Copy paper is only basic, and many people only use it for printing, but you’ll be surprised at how many other things you can do with it.

The upside to this kind of paper is that it is easy to print on, and thus it’s a great option for placing your own patterns or designs, but then, it’s only matte and doesn’t have luster. Again, you cannot use it for a craft that needs to be very stiff or very light and fluttering because its rigidity is somewhere in the middle.

Copy paper is best used for:

  • Folded paper art
  • Origami
  • Quilling
  • Decoupage

Card Stock

When you want to give your paper art some rigidity, the best type of paper to use is card stock, which is simply referred to as card. This stiff craft paper comes in an assortment of colors, and it’s perfect for crafts like rolled flowers, but then, you need to realize that it’s prone to tearing and crushing especially when you try to manipulate it incorrectly.

We recommend card stock for:

  • Minecraft paper crafting
  • Cut-outs
  • 3-D crafts like rolled flowers, bags, and boxes mini photo books
  • Multi-purpose box
  • Graduation, holiday, and baby cards

Kraft Paper

If you’ve ever wondered what those brown grocery bags are made of, now you know; it’s Kraft paper. During the process of making paper, the pulp that is leftover doesn’t go to waste; it is used to produce Kraft paper.

As it’s made from leftover pulp, Kraft paper is not a high-grade sort of paper, but it has a unique appearance that is kind of appealing.

If you are (or your kids are) participating in a school pattern-making project where the quality of the paper being used is not a big deal, then Kraft paper would be a perfect choice. And by the way, it’s pretty inexpensive too, so if you’re on a budget, you will find it very fitting.

Kraft paper is best used for:

  • Clothing patterns
  • Simple decorative paper crafts

Cardboard, Poster Board, and Paperboard

When you need to make rigid 3-D crafts, cardboard, poster board, and paperboard are the materials to use. The thickness of these art materials differs widely, and you can get anything from what looks like a really thick card stock to what looks like a piece of the wood board.

These items can be used in place of wood for making 3-d crafts like little fairy houses and gift boxes.

We recommend cardboard, poster board, and paperboard for:

  • Gift tags
  • Signs
  • Little playhouses for kids
  • Pet beds
  • Postcards
  • Halloween costumes

Textured Paper

The textured paper refers to any paper that is decorated with dots, lines/stripes, or glitter that is raised. Mostly, textured paper is card stock, but even light papers can be decorated with texture. A crosshatch looking like linen is the most common sort of texture used, and it’s possibly meant to mimic the traditional linen papers.

Textured paper can be used for a wide range of paper crafts, especially where a 3-D effect is needed. It’s best used for making:

  • Greeting cards
  • Little gift boxes

Gloss Paper

Gloss paper either comes with gloss all over it or with high-gloss UV coatings on various spots. Gloss papers are pretty much like other papers of the same weight, only that inks might fail to stick on some of these gloss papers. Whether ink sticks or not all depends on the kind of gloss and ink used.

The best thing about gloss paper is that it can be very attractive, and thus it’s ideal for decorative crafts like:

  • Wedding cards
  • Photos
  • Brochures and publications


Want to create a nice effect like Ombre with your papercrafts? Try vellum paper.

Vellum is a spectacular kind of paper that is usually made from cotton, and it’s typically translucent, meaning that when it’s held against the light, you can see through it a little.

As you can see through the paper, you can use it for tracing designs.

The only issue with vellum is that it doesn’t give you very many color choices. Ordinarily, the only options include silver, white, and gold.

Try vellum for:

  • Tracing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Invitations
  • Transferring designs

Marbled Paper

Marbled paper can be printed, or it can be made naturally, whereby the color is floated in fluid before being transferred to paper.

If you want a good marbled paper, try going for card stock marbled paper or something better because, with such a material, the transferred color is absorbed efficiently without the development of wrinkles or other deformities on the paper.

Apart from buying marbled paper, you can make some at home using shaving cream and food colors.

Some uses of this paper include:

  • Invitation cards
  • Bookmarking
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Frames
  • Wrapping paper
  • Clipboards

Adhesive Paper

Also known as sticker paper, this is paper that comes with a sticky backing. You can cut adhesive paper into various shapes with various cutting implements, and then stick the cutouts on various objects or use them for any other decorative purposes. Apart from that, you could use adhesive paper as a seal for papers.

The common kinds of adhesive paper include white and clear paper.

Adhesive paper is typically used for:

  • Stickers
  • Labels for jars
  • Memo board for your refrigerator
  • Stencil for screen printing
  • Birthday party decorations

Metallic Paper

As the name suggests, metallic paper is paper with a metallic finish. It normally features a fine luster and sometimes even extra features like embossing. Still, some metallic papers feature a pearlescent shine instead of the conventional metallic appearance you’d expect.

Here are a few uses of metallic paper:

  • Invitation cards
  • Pockets and wraps
  • Envelops
  • Envelop liners
  • Insert sheets
  • Holiday cards

Crepe Paper

Crepe paper is something you can even make at home because it’s just composed of several tissue paper layers that are joined together with glue before being wrinkled. While you can see through tissue paper, you can see through crepe paper because the layers block the light. Another difference is that crepe paper is creased, but tissue paper is typically not creased.

Crepe paper has a cool texture, and it stretches well as it is flexible. Though you can’t print on it, you can design it with ink or hand coloring.

Another good thing about this paper is that it’s available in almost all colors and some even have a metallic finish.

Crepe paper is perfect for:

  • Pom-poms
  • Paper sculptures
  • Bouquets
  • Wreaths
  • Wedding decorations
  • Decorative butterflies

Tissue Paper

Tissue paper is probably the thinnest kind of paper you can use for papercrafts. You can get it in various colors, and what is most striking about this paper is that although it’s very light, some varieties can be printed on.

Tissue paper is perfect for:

  • Lightweight 3-D crafts
  • Pom-poms
  • Tassels
  • Lanterns
  • Pinatas

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What paper can I use to make greeting cards?

Textured paper will do. This paper is thick and a little rough but it’s excellent for making beautiful and stiff greeting cards. You could also use the smooth and thin cardstock; its material is somewhere between cardboard and paper.

What is crepe paper and how is it used in paper crafting?

Crepe is basically several layers of tissue glued together and then coated thinly. Usually sold in sheets or rolls, the paper is typically used to make bouquets, pom-poms, and paper flowers.

Which paper can I use to make cards?

Cardstock would be perfect. This paper is thin and smooth but also stiff, making it an excellent material for greeting cards, simple business cards, and other cards.

I want to create a scrapbook. What paper can I use?

We’d recommend using scrapbook paper, which is also referred to as patterned paper sometimes. This paper normally has patterns on one side, and it may have glitter and embossing, which are perfect for decorating a scrapbook.

Can I use ordinary paper for paper crafting?

By ordinary paper, we hope you mean the printable copy paper. Though this paper is seen as only good for printing, it can be used for making origami and for quilling and decoupage.


There are virtually limitless ways in which you can use paper for your DIY or professional crafts. And by the way, our little list is not exhaustive; there’re many more types of papers for art, like foil paper, transfer paper, laminating paper, and more, that you can use for a variety of projects. But for now, you can get started with the ones on our list and explore more options as you grow your skills.

Remember, each type of paper has its uses, so be sure to consider your project and the suitability of any paper for that particular project.

With love, we wish you all the best in your art projects.

James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.