What is GSM for Paper? A Paper Thickness and Weight Guide

November 28, 2022 5 Comments

What is GSM for Paper? A Paper Thickness and Weight Guide

When you are just starting out in the world of papercrafts, all of the terms and jargon can be super overwhelming. A common question from newbies is: “What is GSM for paper?”. Fortunately, we have all the answers in this GSM paper guide. Learn exactly how to choose the right GSM and the right paper for your needs

GSM stands for Grams per Square Metre. So quite simply, if you were to take a sheet of paper that was one metre by one metre in size and weigh it, the weight of that sheet of paper is its GSM value. GSM is a term that you will certainly become familiar with when choosing the right type of paper and cardstock for your paper crafting projects.

As a rough guide, newspaper is usually 35-55gsm, standard copier paper is 80-90gsm and business cards are around 300gsm.

A Paper GSM Guide

Here is a simple guide to common paper types and their corresponding GSM. Next time you’re looking for paper products, you can use this guide to figure out exactly what will work for different craft projects.



If you have ever purchased a ream of copy paper you may have noticed that it’s usually 80gsm-90gsm.

Paper Properties:

  • Flexible, thin paper that bends easily
  • Easy to fold, tear and crease
  • Commonly used as laser printer paper in households
  • Perfect for paper folding activities like origami



Paper in this gsm range includes those used for letterheads and formal documents.

Paper Properties:

  • Good quality
  • Less transparent
  • Professional appearance
  • Used for professional printing needs such as quality flyers



This paper is a little thicker than copy paper and commonly used for posters, flyers and other printed products. To achieve a neat crease, it is advisable to score before folding. In this context, scoring entails using a ruler orbone folder to create a line where you wish to fold the paper.

Paper Properties:

  • Can be used with most home laser printers
  • Great for photo mats and die cutting
  • Use for layering on cards and scrapbook pages



This is a sturdy, thicker paper perfect for a scrapbooking layout background. It can also be used for embossing and die cutting.

Paper Properties:

  • Score before folding to avoid cracks and creases
  • Ideal for paper-tearing craft techniques



Business cards fall within this gsm range as do many greeting cards.

Paper Properties: 

  • Not the best for home printing, but can be used with a commercial printer
  • Great for craft projects with paint or liquid adhesives
  • Suitable for embellishments



This range of papers can be used for mixed media projects involving heavy inking, watercolours, paints, etc.

Paper Properties:

  • Less likely to warp or crinkle when liquid mediums are applied


Paper Weight vs. Thickness

As stated above, GSM is a measure of paper weight and not an indication of paper thickness. We know it’s a little confusing, but here’s an explanation.

Microns are the unit of measure used to gauge the thickness of the paper. One micron equals one thousandth of a millimetre, so 1000 microns equals 1mm etc.

One brand of paper that is 100gsm will not necessarily be the same thickness in microns as another brand of 100gsm paper. This can be due to the manufacturing process, the fibres used in processing, the type of wood pulp etc.

So just be aware that if you love a particular brand of cardstock that is 350gsm it does not mean that another brand’s 350gsm cardstock will be the same thickness.


Uniquely Creative Papers and Cardstock

Uniquely Creative's  scrapbooking papers are generally more than 200gsm, making them perfect to use as a backing paper for scrapbooking layouts and to use to mat photos.

The Uniquely Creative 12x12  cardstock range is a high-quality premium cardstock which is 300gsm. It's perfect for both scrapbooking and cardmaking and it makes for great backgrounds. You can fold it, rip it, sand it, tear it, emboss it and die-cut it!


Related Questions

How thick is cardstock gsm?

Cardstock is typically 200gsm or more. Generally, a higher gsm will indicate a thicker cardstock, though this is not always the case.  A lighter gsm card could be thicker due to being more fibrous and less compressed in the production process.


How many gsm is normal paper?

Normal paper is between 80gsm and 110gsm.  It is used for general printing and is cost-effective.


What is the thickness of A4 paper?
The average thickness of an A4 paper is between 0.05mm and 0.10mm. There are precision tools that measure paper thickness such as micrometres and callipers. Digital callipers are capable of measuring the thickness of a single sheet of paper.


What gsm is notebook paper?

Notebook paper is generally between 80-90gsm (grams per square metre) making it adequate for taking notes or for creating booklets etc. Higher quality writing paper is generally 90gsm and above.


What gsm is book paper?

Book paper ranges from 60-130 gsm, slightly lower than copy paper. Children’s books tend to be closer to 120gsm and above as they need to be more durable. 


Is cardstock paper thick?

Cardstock is thick and generally a heavier paper than regular copy paper. You can expect cardstock paper to be between 250gsm and 400gsm. As a general rule, cardstock is thicker and more durable than standard bond paper.

How do you measure paper weight?

Different paper weights are referred to in gsm which stands for grams per square metre. If you were to take a sheet of paper that was one metre by one metre and weigh it, the weight of that sheet of paper is its gsm value.


How do you measure paper thickness?

To measure paper thickness you need to use a calliper. Digital callipers are capable of measuring the thickness of a single sheet of paper.


What is the thickest paper?

The thickest paper is anywhere from 200gsm to 700gsm. This includes types of paper such as cardstock or cardboard.

5 Responses


April 01, 2023

great article and nice to have it in metric rather than pounds


March 22, 2023

Very helpful information thank you so much ❤

Lynne Lake
Lynne Lake

March 21, 2023

Thank you so much for this information, it is really helpful and appreciated.
Lynne 🙏😊🇦🇺


March 21, 2023

I agree with Jenn – there are only a few companies on YouTube which use metric card weight; many craft YouTubers film from the US and describe their cardstock in pounds. I know I have wasted a lot of time trying to find the metric equivalent to to what they are talking about.


March 21, 2023

This is a great explanation for GSM paper but I was hoping you’d include a comparison with pound weights. It’d be handy to be able to convert the USs paper weights to GSM.

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