Whether you’re looking to mail something or you want to know what paper would be best for a certain craft, knowing how thick paper is can be handy.
Paper, however, is available in many varieties, and each type of paper has a slightly different thickness.
How thick the paper is will depend on exactly what it’s made of, how it was made, and what its intended use is.
Copy or printer paper is one of the most common types of paper. This is the paper that homework is often printed on, and it’s also used frequently in businesses or for business mail.
The thickness of copy paper can vary, but most copy paper is between 0.07 and 0.1 millimeters thick.
Paper thickness is more commonly measured in GSM or grams per square meter. This is a weight measurement that helps you estimate how thick a piece of paper is.
It’s based on how many grams a square meter of any given paper would weigh.
Most copy paper is between 70 and 100 GSM.
Tissue paper is often used for wrapping gifts or packages or for decorating. This paper is very thin, almost enough that you can see through it.
Tissue paper is usually between 10 and 35 GSM, which is less than half the thickness of copy paper.
This also means it has a thickness roughly between 0.01 and 0.035 millimeters or 0.00039 to 0.0014 inches.
It’s difficult to convert exactly between GSM and thickness due to variances in the paper and what it’s made of, but this offers a good estimate.
Greeting Card Paper
Greeting card paper, also called cardstock, must be much thicker and more durable than regular paper.
It needs to hold up to being written on, folded, mailed, and handled. This thickness also helps when printing a clean, vibrant image.
Most greeting card paper is between 120 and 150 GSM, meaning it has a thickness of about 0.12 to 0.15 millimeters or 0.0047 to 0.0059 inches.
Heavy cardstock is often 150 to 250 GSM, meaning it has a thickness of about 0.15 to 0.25 millimeters or 0.0059 to 0.0098 inches.
Some super heavy cardstock is even thicker, with a GSM over 250.
Construction paper is a heavyweight paper, often used for crafts or artistic projects. This paper is fibrous and durable.
It’s also usually available in many colors. Although it’s durable, it’s still easy to cut, so it’s perfect for cutting into different sizes to make backgrounds, creating decorations, scrapbooking, or thick paper mâché.
Construction paper usually has a GSM of between 100 and 130, which means it has a thickness somewhere between 0.1 and 0.13 millimeters or 0.0039 and 0.0051 inches, depending on the exact brand and type of paper.
Book or Text Paper
The paper used for books, also often referred to as text or text weight paper, varies in thickness depending on the type of book it’ll be used for.
Hardcover books, for example, generally utilize thicker paper for their pages. Light text paper can be as thin as 35 GSM, while heavy text paper can be as thick as 120 GSM.
This means book paper has a thickness between about 0.035 and 0.12 millimeters or 0.001378 and 0.0047 inches.
How does thickness affect paper?
The thickness of paper can affect how it folds, what it can be used for, and how durable it is.
Thin papers or papers of medium thickness hold a fold well. You can create a crisp edge when folding.
Thicker papers, though, are harder to fold, and it’s difficult to create a crisp fold edge.
Thicker papers are better able to stand up or support themselves when folded.
For example, if you use a piece of thick paper, such as construction paper or copy paper, to fold a card or make an origami object, the paper will support itself.
If you use tissue paper, though, you might get a clean fold, but the paper won’t stand up by itself or support itself, and the folds will usually come undone.
Tissue paper, on the other hand, is thin enough that it can be wrapped around objects without tearing, making it perfect for packaging gifts or items you want to mail.
Thick papers are more durable, however. They can be folded many times, and they hold up well to being handled or mailed.
It’s also a bit more difficult to tear a thicker paper, whereas tissue paper can be torn easily, even by accident.
Some papers also have many fibers in them. These fibers aren’t dissolved or ground down during the paper-making process.
Many people feel that fibers in paper give it an appealing look or feel, although fibrous paper can sometimes be more difficult to write on.
Fibers in paper give it added strength and durability. If you wet fibrous paper and then fold it, the fibers will dry into the shape you’ve folded, so this paper is often a great choice for origami or other arts and crafts projects.