Different Types Of Paper and Their Uses

Paper is like gold in the art world! There is an endless list of things artists can and have made using all kinds of paper types. When we hear the word “paper,” most of us think of office paper, newspaper, and magazine, but its uses extend further than you can imagine.

Please continue reading if you are curious to learn about all the different paper types. This article will discuss common types of paper, what they are made of, and what they are used for in the wonderful world of art! 

18 Types Of Paper

Paper is an important part of our lives, and we use various types daily. But apart from the paper, you use to print catalogs or manuscripts on; there is a whole range of different types of paper explicitly used for art; each used for something specific. Let’s discover some of them below;

Vellum Paper

Vellum Paper

Vellum paper is unique and is often made from cotton. When you lift it and hold it against a light, you will see that it is slightly translucent. Vellum paper comes in various colors like white, silver, and gold and can be used for all kinds of arts and crafts such as;

  • Transferring designs
  • Scrapbooking
  • Tracing
  • Invitations
  • Photo albums
  • Baby albums

Acid-Free Paper

Acid-Free Paper

This type of paper prevents important documents from deteriorating, aging, or yellowing.

Card Stock Paper

Card Stock Paper

Card stock paper is used when you want to add some dimension and texture to 2-dimensional paper art. You can use it for card stock paper;

  • 3D Crafts (boxes, bags, rolled flowers)
  • Multi-purpose boxes
  • Cut-outs
  • Holiday, graduation, birthday, Christmas, and baby cards
  • Minecraft paper crafting

Archival Paper

Archival Paper

This type of paper is made using 100% cotton pulp, archival paper is used to preserve the quality of documents.

Textured Paper

Textured Paper

Textured paper can come in various designs. This type of paper is generally decorated with raised glitter, stripes, or dots. A great example of textured paper is a crosshatch that looks like linen. You can also use it to add impressive 3D effects to your artworks, such as;

  • Small gift boxes
  • Greeting cards

Artist’s Paper

Artist's Paper

The thickness of an artist’s paper varies and can be used for

  • Tracing
  • Drawing
  • Sketching
  • Painting.

Blotting Paper

Blotting Paper

The blotting paper has high-absorption qualities and absorbs excess ink, excess oil from the skin, and even excess water from microscope slides.

Book Paper

Book Paper

Book paper is used for printing books such as novels, etc.

Box Covering & Lining Paper

Box Covering & Lining Paper

This type of paper is used for protective and decorative purposes on the inside or outside layer of cardboard boxes.

Gloss Paper

Gloss paper can have a high-gloss UV coating on certain page areas or be completely glossy. This type of paper is used for fancy projects and other decorative crafts such as;

  • Photo
  • Wedding cards
  • Publications and brochures
  • Pamphlets

Copy Paper

Copy Paper

This type of paper is mostly found in-home or corporate offices installed into inkjet or laser printers. There are various types of copy paper, such as matte, high-gloss, etc. They are often used in the art world. You can use copy paper for;

  • Decoupage
  • Folded paper art
  • Quilling
  • Origami

Kraft Paper

Kraft Paper

Kraft paper has a high tear resistance and elasticity and is used to make package material that protects the contents in boxes during shipment. Craft paper is also used for the following;

  • Easy decorative paper arts & crafts
  • Clothing patterns

Manilla Paper

Manilla Paper

Manilla paper is made from semi-bleached wood fibers and is used to make manilla boards, envelopes, and folders.

Scrapbook Paper (Patterned Paper)

Scrapbook Paper (Patterned Paper)

This type of paper is smooth on one side and printed with patterns, embossing, or glitter on the other side. The scrapbook paper is generally used for;

  • Decorated cards
  • Scrapbooking
  • 2-Dimensional decorative paper art

Newsprint Paper

Newsprint Paper

This is a non-durable paper made from groundwood pulp and used to print magazines (semi-gloss) and newspapers. The paper’s quality ranges from high to lower grades.

Photo Paper

Photo Paper

This paper is coated or infused with light-sensitive chemicals. It accepts projected images and renders color or black and white images onto paper from photographic negatives.

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper (or gift wrap) is used to wrap presents for birthdays and other special occasions. It comprises a design applied using a flexography or rotogravure printing process.

Sandpaper

Sandpaper is paper with abrasive materials adhered onto one of its sides. This paper is used to smooth, polish, or finish operations on metal, wood, and other surfaces.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

With such a large list of paper types comes a large list of frequently asked questions such as;

Who Invented Paper?

The standardized paper was invented around 2000 years ago by a Chinese courtier named Tsai Lun. However, historians believe that Egyptians were the first people to discover paper in 3500 BC. They made their paper from a reedy plant that grew along the Nile River called papyrus, and this is also where the name “paper” comes from.

How Much Paper Is Produced In A Year?

Before we had machines, paper was made by hand one sheet at a time. Today, large machines produce paper reels running at 2000m per minute, measuring 10m wide, and up to 600,000 tons each year.
3 to 6 billion trees are cut down every year, and +/- 4 billion of the total cut down trees are used to produce paper. That is why it is so important to recycle paper to help reduce the number of trees cut down worldwide.

What Types Of Paper Can Be Recycled?

It is so wonderful to see that more and more people and companies are going green by using recyclable packing materials and products. It is vital to recycle paper because it prevents us from cutting down entire forests to manufacture new paper. There is a wide variety of recyclable paper, such as;
Cardboard (boxes)
Office/copy paper
Newspaper
Paper with a coating (paperboard, cereal boxes, etc.)
Magazines
Paperboard
Phonebooks
Corrugated cardboard
Envelopes

What Other Types Of Paper Are There

Our list has some of the main types of art paper, but it is not an extensive list. There are plenty more types of paper used for fine art and printing apart from the ones mentioned above. To name only a few;
Cardboard, paperboard, & poster board – used for making gift tags, Halloween costumes, signs, etc
Marbled paper – used for invitation cards, bookmarks, clipboards, wrapping paper, etc
Adhesive paper – used for jar labels, stickers, etc
Metallic paper – used for invitation cards, envelopes, insert sheets, etc
Crepe paper – used to make wreaths, wedding decorations, pom-poms, etc
Tissue paper – Used to make pinatas, pom-poms, lanterns, etc

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Conclusion

Paper is an extremely versatile product. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to advance as much as we have over the centuries. Paper is a way of life and enables us to communicate, ship products across the ocean, read, write, paint, and print; and is probably one of the greatest discoveries ever made by humankind.

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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