Card Making Paper Supplies: Ultimate Paper Craft Supply List for All Card Makers

When it comes to the best card making supplies for creating cards, there is one obvious item you just cannot do without ... the paper and cards of course!

Card making supplies are one of the most fun items to browse and buy at the shops, especially when you find a bargain! There is just so much variety to choose from, ranging from seasonal themes and lovely colored plain cardstock to quirky prints, beautifully patterned paper, and textured finishes.

Plenty of people wait for clearance sales and buy their products in bulk to get more bang for your buck knowing that they can put them to good use later on. Myself? I nearly always check out the paper crafting section of my local large department store when I'm shopping for other items, just in case there is something lovely on special.

Although, if I have a really special card I want to make and see some items that would be just perfect for it, I will happily splurge on it! Below is my current stash of cardstock, most of which has been purchased in bulk paperboards.

card making techniques
Obviously, we can't buy every beautiful stack of pretty themed paper and cards that we see and add to our collection. But what should you buy? And what is the best way to buy it? Keep reading to learn more about the different and best paper supplies, the best way to buy them, and some tips on what to buy, to begin with.

Paper vs cardstock for card making

When it comes to cardmaking products, you're going to need some paperboards. Paperboards come in a variety of thicknesses but the best cardstock for greeting cards and the most commonly used is 80lb to 100lb if you're in the USA, or 220 - 280gsm if you're in Australia.

Paperboard is measured by weight (lbs) in the USA and by Grams per Square Meter (GSM) in Australia. I personally prefer not to get a cardstock that is on the thicker side, say 130lb or 350gsm as I find it tricky to feed through the printer, die-cut machine, or even get my craft knife to cut all the way through on the first pass.

Below are some examples of my plain colored, black and white paperboard.

how thick is card stock
Although paperboard is a must for a sturdy base, you will probably want to get some pretty patterned paper as well. This is because it's often more wallet-friendly to purchase than cardstock and if you're working on a card with lots of layering, the paperboard can be a little too thick.

If I find my pretty patterned paper is not sturdy enough to use for a particular embellishment, I can easily just stick it down onto some scrap cardstock to make it a little sturdier.

How to buy your supplies

Both cardstock and paper are sold in a few different ways and how you buy it is a personal choice based on your needs, wants, and budget.

Paper stacks and individual sheets

Paper is sold either as individual sheets or in a stack, which is basically a ''book'' of multiple pages that are easily removed from the stack as required. More often than not, the stack will have a recurring theme, making it easier to buy a stack and create a card suitable for a particular season, event, or color scheme. It is often more cost-effective in the long run to purchase it this way.

Individual sheets can be purchased for a particular project, a one-off piece that you know you probably won't use again, or a novelty paper that isn't sold in a stack.
Below is an example of some of my lovely stacks in generic themes.
handmade card making ideas

Cardstock stacks and individual sheets

Much like paper, cardstock is sold as individual pieces or in a stack full of pretty patterns or plain colors. You can't go wrong with two large cardstock stacks, one full of plain colors and the other full of generic prints such as stripes, dots, and birthday imagery!

Mini Stacks

Mini stacks are my absolute favorite when it comes to cardmaking supplies. They are a lot smaller than a stack, usually only measuring around 15 cm x 15 cm (5-inch x 6-inch), and are the perfect size for decorating a greeting card! Due to their size, they are often much more affordable yet still come in a huge variety of different patterns.

I always feel like I've won the lottery when I find a few of these on special for a couple of dollars in the craft section of my local department store.

Below is an example of my two remaining mini-paper stacks. I need to stock up!

paper craft supply

Pre-made Cards

As an alternative to buying sheets of cardstock for your base, many craft shops sell pre-made blank cards in black, white, or a variety of plain colors. These are really convenient and I use them to create layouts whenever I can to save time, but more often than not, they are a little too small in size for what I want to make.

What to buy

Both cardbases can be broadly pigeon-holed into four different print types and there are a few that you won't be able to live without when it comes to card making.

Plain colors

Plain colors include black, white, and every other color you can think of. These are essential to card making and are often used to create your base.

If you have a particular plain color that you find using a lot more than others for a base, it can be cost-effective to buy a whole ream of the one color from your local office supply shop. For me, this is white paperboard. I can't manage card making without it!

Themed patterns

Themed patterns are a lot of fun and can include anything from birthday themes full of cupcakes and balloons to cute animals through to nature prints. These are incredibly addictive! Below you will see an image of some cardstock I have that was included in a birthday-themed stack. Although not terribly beautiful, they are all nice and bright and I find myself using them regularly.

My favorite themed pattern so far has been a beautiful Australiana theme pack from a quality supplier. It's chock full of Australian flowers, reprints of old Australian postcards, and some iconic scenes from Australia, such as the beach boxes on Melbourne's Brighton Beach. I'm still trying to find a great use for it!

card stock paper

Generic patterns

Generic patterns include basic patterns that aren't tied to a particular theme and can be used across a broad range of cards such as polka dots, stripes, etc. I find these generic patterns the most useful when it comes to cardmaking and not having to use stamps and messy ink.

Special textures

Special textures can be either patterned or plain but will have an unusual texture to make them stand out. This could include a smooth metallic shiny finish through to a rough-textured sparkly finish.

Although the photograph doesn't show it very well, the neon-colored cardstock below has a rough sparkly finish. You almost need to wear sunglasses in the right light!

paper craft ideas
TIP: To begin with, you will need to buy a stack of colored paperboard as well as black and white for the base of your cards. A mix of generic patterns is a must, followed closely by a themed pack. A birthday theme pack is particularly useful ... unless it's Christmas. Christmas themes are the best!

Where to buy your items

Plain and generic paperstacks can be purchased from both craft stores and usually the craft section of large department stores. You may even find some in your local two-dollar store.

Individual sheets, specialty cards, and unusual themes are often only found in the scrapbooking and card-making sections of craft stores. This is also where you will find the more luxurious quality cardstock and paper.

Nearly all types of paper can be purchased from online craft and papercraft stores.

Paper scraps

When you buy anything larger than a mini-stack, often over half the sheet of paper doesn't get used. Don't be quick to throw them away! Keep all your scraps somewhere close by so you can keep using them and nothing gets wasted.

Although I know most people would cringe at this, I keep my scrap pieces in a messy tray. I know, I know, it looks terrible ... but I really enjoy rummaging through it. It's like finding treasure when I find the piece I want for my current projects!

card making paper
I hope these tips have helped you with your card making supplies and I would love to hear any great tips you have discovered along the way.

Happy card making!

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