Card Stock vs. Construction Paper – Is One Worse for Your Printer?

construction paper squares stacked

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Whether you’re looking to send some glossy invitations to your friends and family or do some crafting with your kids, you’ll want to buy some specialty card stock or construction paper. These paper types offer you different options for creative projects. Card stock can be glossy and is nearly always thicker than construction paper. 

If you’re planning to print on either card stock or construction paper, it’s essential to know these two paper types’ main differences and uses. You also need to see if you can actually print on these papers with your printer and how to do so effectively.

Card Stock vs. Construction Paper – What Are the Main Differences? 

Card stock and construction paper have several different features to consider.

  • Thickness

Card stock is usually much thicker than its construction paper counterpart. Card stock thickness can range from 10 points (0.010”) through to 16 points (0.016”). Construction paper is only a bit broader than regular A4, so it has a thickness of just over 0.003”. 

  • Texture and surface

Card stock often has a glossy or matte textured finish, while construction paper has a rough feel. Both types come in a wide range of colors, although card stock paper often has a uniquely patterned and decorated surface. 

  • Dimensions and weight 

A standard sheet of construction paper measures at 9” x 12”, while a card stock sheet can come in various sizes. These range from 4” x 6” through to 12” x 24”. Unsurprisingly, given its thickness, the card stock paper weighs more than construction paper. 

  • Uses

Construction paper is easy to fold, cut and draw on, making it the ideal material for arts and crafts because its bold, vibrant colors and larger size are kid-friendly. Card stock paper is thick and smoothly finished, making it more durable than its construction paper counterpart. Glossy and decorative or matte and stylish, this paper is perfect for formal invitations and letters. 

colorful pieces of construction paper

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Printing on Construction Paper 

It’s possible to print on construction paper, but first, you’ll need to cut the sheets to size, shaving off a half inch to get to the 8.5” x 11” dimensions required by a standard printer. You’ll also need to find the heavy paper setting on your printer. Each make and model has different ways of adjusting to thicker paper. If you can’t find the heavy paper setting on your printer, consult the operator’s manual for your model. 

Once you’ve done this, pop your construction paper in your printer and print solely in black ink. Colored remanufactured ink cartridges don’t show up as well on construction paper. If you’re printing several copies of a multi-page document, consider using a collate printing setting to make the process easier. 

Printing on Card Stock Paper 

Printing on card stock paper with your home printer is a bit more complicated. You have to make sure you get card stock with a suitable thickness. It’s unlikely small, non-commercial printers can deal with 12pt, 14pt or 16pt cardstock. If you start overloading your printer with thicker sheets, you’ll cause it to jam and break. 

You’ll also need to ensure you’re buying uncoated card stock paper for your printer. Most home printers can’t print effectively onto a glossy surface. However, if you’ve got a photo printer or laserjet with printer toner that can print top-quality and high-resolution photos, you can likely utilize glossy card stock.

Switch on your printer’s heavy paper setting, and print on each card stock sheet separately. If you try to jam multiple sheets in at once, you’ll break your printer. 

Card Stock vs. Construction Paper – Which One Is Easier to Print On?

Arguably, construction paper is an easier paper type to print on. All you have to do is pre-adjust the sheet dimensions and switch on your inkjet’s heavy paper setting. Because it’s only slightly thicker than standard A4, it should print normally. A new academic initiative is establishing standards for color and print quality in large formats, so you won’t need to cut the construction paper down to standard size for too much longer.  

Card stock paper is high-class and durable but harder to print on, particularly with a non-commercial printer. Not only do you run the risk of jamming your inkjet, but you also have restricted choices when it comes to what type and thickness of card stock you can buy. Card stock paper is expensive, but if you have a printer built for photos, printing on card stock is easy. If you have a standard home printer, card stock may be more challenging.

man fixing printer

Source: Elnur/shutterstock.com 

The Final Thoughts

Both construction paper and card stock have various uses, from helping kids learn to fold to sending out unique anniversary invitations. However, when it comes to printing on these papers with home printers, construction paper is the better choice. 

If you want to print out invitations or letters on card stock, consider getting this done commercially. If you don’t want professional help, then you might need to invest in a high-resolution printer for your home.

Inkjet Superstore can help you find affordable ink and toner for your home printer. For help finding the right ink for your creative projects, call us at (888) 745-4316.