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Call It Cover Stock Or Card Stock, Either Way Its The Best. Wholesale & Bulk Prices

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What Is Card Stock? Or Is That Thick Paper Cover Stock?

Some refer to it as card stock, some refer to it as cover stock, some just call it thick paper. All of these terms are essentially synonymous; but what do they mean, and what is card stock, really? Though card stock is ultimately recognized and defined by its weight and/or thickness, a generic definition of a thick paper just doesn't do it justice.

Browse through the ultimate cover & card stock collection, a multitude of textures, weights and colors not available elsewhere. What’s even better is at LCI Paper it’s all in stock, ready to ship.


Cardstock in Colors, Textures, Finishes Galore - Finding The Best Card Stock

To meet all of your creative needs, LCI offers an extensive collection of card stock in types, colors, finishes, and textures galore. Whatever your design, whatever your style, we have a card stock for you.

Learn about the paper types we offer, how they get their unique appearances, and what they are commonly used for, below.


Metallic Card Stock

Gmund Reaction and Stardream brand metallic card stock

What Does it Look Like?

Metallic card stock is characterized by a pearlescent, or light reflecting, finish. Metallic card stock often has an iridescent appearance, changing slightly in color when light bounces off of it. In direct light, especially sun light, metallic stocks often take on a subtle sparkle, but are not quite "glittery" in the traditional sense.

What is Responsible for this Fantastic Finish?

The eye-catching sheen found on metallic papers comes from a coating that is applied to the sheet after it is made. In the case of many well-known metallic sheets, this coating is infused with the mineral mica - a mineral you are probably already familiar with, as it is responsible for the subtle sparkle in common items such as eye-shadow and vehicle paint.

What Can I Use Metallic Card Stock For?

Thanks to its modern, eye-catching coating, shimmering metallic card stock is most often chosen for the creation of chic, statement-making pieces - elegant, whimsical, and professional alike. LCI offers metallic paper in four different brands, and in over 60 different colors, so finding one to complement your design is never an issue.

Best Printer for Metallic Paper >>


matte finish card stock

Colorful Vellum (Matte) Finish Card Stock

How do I Recognize It?

At a quick glance, card stock with a vellum finish appears to have a smooth, matte finish; but under closer observation, you'll see that vellum finish card stock features a toothy, or slightly roughened texture, similar to that of an eggshell.

Note: Card stock with a vellum finish is not that same thing as translucent vellum paper.

How is this Finish Achieved?

The slightly roughened, highly absorbent vellum finish is achieved by treating the card stock with a fine tooth texture during the manufacturing process. Typically, a finely textured roller press is guided over the sheet before it is dry; most comparable to passing a subtly textured paint roller over a wall.

What is Vellum Finish Card Stock Good For?

Mostly smooth to the eye and touch and highly absorbent, this surface is ideal for applications and mediums of all sorts, and is especially great for high speed printing. Adding to its diverse creative appeal, vellum finish card stock is offered in a rainbow of colors and in multiple weights.


Card stock with embossed textured finish

Embossed Texture Card Stock

What Does it Look (and Feel) Like?

Embossed texture card stock is prominent to both the eye and touch, featuring a raised design or texture. Embossing can be heavy, yielding a defined texture, or light, yielding a more subtle texture. Embossing can be present on one side of a sheet or both.

How Does the Texture Come About?

Embossed textures are achieved by pressing or hammering a design into sheet after it is finished.

What are These Intriguing Textures Best Used For?

Because embossed stocks have a look that is irresistible to the eye and touch, they are ideal for any project that needs that "wow" factor. Use these distinguished stocks for invitations, promotional pieces, greeting cards, art work, and more. Choose from a wide assortment of colors and several rich textures including life-like wood grains, contemporary linear patterns, and character filled Japanese linens.


Traditional linen finish card stock and Aspire Petallics metallic linen cardstock

Linen Finish Card Stock

How Does it Look?

Linen stock features the subtle linear textured pattern of a woven cloth similar to a bed sheet.

Where Does this Cloth Look Come From?

Light embossing is responsible for linen card stock. As explained above, after completion, card stock is treated with a cloth-like press of sorts, creating that lovely linen finish you are seeing.

What is Linen Stock Commonly Used For?

Clean, classic, and always tasteful in design, linen is appropriate for any design that requires a touch of traditional, understated elegance. Linen card stock is available in a neutral color pattern, in multiple weights, and even in a metallic finish.

Note: Japanese Linen is a heavily embossed stock with a modern pattern unlike that of traditional cloth-like linen (pictured above in Turquoise).


What is Card Stock, Really?

Array of textured, smooth, and metallic card stock stacked up

The Terms: Are Cover Stock & Card Stock the Same?

The terms cover stock and card stock are analogous and are frequently interchanged by both novices and industry professionals alike. They both refer to heavy weight paper, and for all intensive purposes, are the same thing - card stock, is cover stock, is thick or heavy paper - plain and simple.

However it should be noted that in technical terms, there are slight differences between cover stock and card stock:

Note: LCI Paper refers to all heavy weight sheets as card stock, classified by basis weight.


How is Card Stock Made?

Quote: The secret is in the sauce, so they say, and the final card stock that results is dependent on the quality and ratio of the fibers in the blend

To understand how card stock is formed, you must understand the materials and the process. Both are key to the quality of the final product that results.

Hardwood, Softwood & Fillers

Generally speaking, card stock is made up of a blend of hardwood and softwood fibers and fillers. Hardwood provides proper paper formation, softwood provides strength, fillers add to the opacity, brightness, and overall appearance of the card stock. The secret is in the sauce, so they say, and the final card stock that results is dependent on the quality and ratio of the fibers in the blend.

The Process

Before being formed into card stock, the fiber/filler blend is about 99% water - so how is this fibery soup formed into card stock? Here's the abbreviated version!

  • The fiber blend is dispersed from an opening at the bottom of the headbox - a storage container at the start of the paper-making machine
  • Blend flows onto a wire - a wide, flat, porous moving screen
  • Water drains from the bottom of the wire, while fibers form into a cohesive sheet above
  • Sheet is guided through a series of roller presses and heat dryers until it is a flat, uniform, dry sheet of card stock
Here's the full version: How is Paper Made?

Quote: Is card stock generally all the same? Absolutely Not!

Why are Some Stocks Thicker than Others?

Although most machine-made papers are manufactured in the same general fashion, there are several variances in the weights and thicknesses of these papers. Variances in weight are simply due to the amount of fiber that is dispersed onto the wire at the start of the paper making process. The opening at the bottom of the headbox is adjustable, allowing for different amounts of fiber to be dispersed. In a nutshell, the more fiber that is present at onset, the thicker the paper in the end.

In some cases, thick card stock is made by adhering two thinner sheets together, rather than placing twice the amount of fiber on the wire at onset.

Are all Card Stocks Created Equally?

Since most card stock is created in the same general fashion, is card stock generally all the same? Absolutely Not! Each mill uses different fibers, in different ratios, and in a slightly different fashion. What is the result of these many differences? Many different card stocks of many varying qualities that are in no way, created equally.

What Determines a Quality Card Stock?