Basic Types of Scrapbook Paper

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Basic Types of Scrapbook Paper

One of the main decisions you have to make in scrapbooking is on the scrapbook paper. Besides the usual cardstock and patterned paper, there’s a variety of other types of papers you can consider using in your layouts.

As scrapbooking paper will form the foundation of your layout, please remember to use paper that’s acid-free and lignin-free if you intend to preserve your memories for many years to come.

Acid-free paper: Use acid-free paper because contact with acidity from the paper can cause your photos to fade, change colors, darken and decay over time.

Lignin-free: Make sure your paper is lignin-free too as lignin reacts with light and heat to cause yellowing of your paper.

Paper Choice

Paper for scrapbooking come in a huge range of varieties and it can be a dizzying experience trying to select the best paper for your scrapbook pages. You’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to paper selection.

Just be warned, you could get addicted to acquiring more and more beautiful, gorgeous-looking scrapbook paper! ;)

Your choice of paper will ultimately show off your personality and set the tone for the layout. So have fun choosing them.

Types of Scrapbook Paper

Let’s take a quick look at the basic and common types of scrapbook paper available in the market. They include but are not limited to:


Heavyweight, thick, acid-free paper available in a rainbow of colors, textures and weights. Cardstocks are usually used as background paper and are mostly plain-colored. Cardstocks are frequently matched with patterned paper for added interest. Common uses include creating photo mats, journaling tags and die cuts.

Simple Stories - Color Vibe Collection - 12 x 12 Textured Cardstock Kit - Bolds
Simple Stories – Color Vibe Collection – 12 x 12 Textured Cardstock Kit – Bolds

Patterned Paper

Acid-free paper that come with various designs, colors and themes to be used as background paper, or to add interest to backgrounds as page accents. Also used to support the theme of the scrapbook layout. Depending on the design, patterned paper can really embellish your layout.

Simple Stories - The Simple Life Collection - 12 x 12 Collection Kit
Simple Stories – The Simple Life Collection – 12 x 12 Collection Kit


Lightweight, thin, translucent paper that can be used for layering, creating borders, stamping, dry embossing and more. Come in a variety of colors and textures too. Great at providing a distinctive look or softening the look of bold colors.

If you do stamp on the vellum paper, as this type of paper isn’t very porous, so do take note that it will naturally take a longer time for the ink to dry.

Hero Arts - Layering Paper - Classic Vellum - 10 Pack
Hero Arts – Layering Paper – Classic Vellum – 10 Pack

Acetate Paper

These transparent sheets can come in clear or solid colors, plain or with patterns or designs. They are ideal for overlays and for creating pockets or windows on your scrapbook layouts. Sometimes, they can be used as background paper too.

As many varieties are heat-resistant, they can be used for heat-embossing. If you intend to use them with inkjet or laser printers, make sure to check that they are suited for such printing purposes.

Jen Hadfield - Reaching Out Collection - 12 x 12 Specialty Paper - Printed Acetate
Jen Hadfield – Reaching Out Collection – 12 x 12 Specialty Paper – Printed Acetate

Die-Cut Paper

Die-cut paper come in very interesting shapes: football, cupcake, tea cup, scalloped border and more. There are some die-cut paper pads that you can purchase and these die-cuts could be letters to help you form your page titles, borders to decorate your layouts, tags that you write on, or shapes that you can use as page accents.

Sometimes if the die cut is large, it can become a significant decorative element on your layout.

Reminisce - Real Sports Collection - 12 x 12 Textured Die Cut Paper - Volleyball
Reminisce – Real Sports Collection – 12 x 12 Textured Die Cut Paper – Volleyball

Normally, you’ll get better value with paper packs. So it’s something you might want to consider getting.

For more articles about scrapbook paper, you can check out the following:

Where to Buy Cardstock?

Baby Boy Scrapbook Paper

Black and White Scrapbook Paper

Red and Black Scrapbook Paper

Double-Sided Patterned Paper

Learn how to mix scrapbook patterned paper

More ideas on mixing patterned paper

If you have a good stack of scrapbook paper on hand and are looking for a way to keep your paper organized, check out:

12×12 Paper Organizers

Scrapbooking Paper Storage Ideas

14 thoughts on “Basic Types of Scrapbook Paper”

    1. Hi Kamali,

      If you’re looking into getting paper for your own scrapbook, look for scrapbooking paper that are acid-free and lignin-free so they can be preserved for a long time.

      Scrapbook paper normally come in the form of cardstock or patterned paper. Cardstock are heavyweight and sturdy paper that come in solid colors. Cardstock are great as the background paper.

      Patterned paper are the paper that come with designs. You can use patterned to layer your photos, use them to decorate or embellish your page. If the patterned paper is a heavier paper and with a subtle design, it can also be used as a background paper.

      Patterned paper comes in many designs and some collections are theme-based. For example, if you are doing a scrapbook project about a baby girl, you can find a baby girl paper collection and use the various baby girl themed paper in your layouts.

      So for a start, get some cardstock and patterned paper and have fun scrapping! :)

    1. Hi Aaron,

      For scrapbooking, we prefer to use scrapbook paper that’s labeled as acid-free and lignin-free so we can preserve our layouts for a long time to come. Using craft paper that’s not acid-free or lignin-free might pose a risk that our layouts might turn yellowish or brittle over time.

    1. Hi Melia,

      If you’re intending to use the design as part of your scrapbook layout and you wish your layout to last for a long time, then it’ll be better to print the design on paper that’s acid-free and lignin-free since you’ll be incorporating the design into your layout. Have fun scrapping!

  1. Jennifer Corcoran

    I read above that if you are printing your own scrapbook paper you should use paper that is acid-free and lignin-free. What weight of paper is best? And should I get a paper that has a bit of glossiness? Do you have any recommendations on brand and type and where to buy? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      If you’re looking for paper to buy so you can print your own scrapbook paper, you can check out the below links, these are available for sale at Amazon. For paper weight, it depends on what you’ll be using the printed sheet for, either 110lb or 90lb are fine. If you’re looking for a slightly sturdier paper, 110lb would be better. These are 8.5×11 inches paper, which are stated to be acid-free and lignin free, and they will fit into normal printers.

      Neenah Exact Index, 110 lb, 8.5 x 11 Inches, 250 Sheets, White, 94 Bright

      Neenah Exact Index, 250 Sheets, 90 lb, 8.5 x 11 Inches, White, 94 Brightness

    1. Hi Alisha,

      Scrapbooking stickers work just like normal stickers that you can peel and stick on, just that they’re created to dress up your scrapbook layouts. Some brands might label their stickers as acid-free, photo-safe, pH-neutral to let you know they’re safe for using on your scrapbook layouts if you’re concerned about archival quality. Happy scrapping! :)

  2. Hello,
    Will an average printer take 12 by 12 paper to print my scrapbook pages for my album? Do they even sell 12 by 12 paper? I am looking to scrapbook all of my son’s photos over the next few years. He passed away in January at age 24 and I am trying to scrapbook all his life photos as therapy. I will probably wind up with 10 books as I have so many photos and am looking to research how to best preserve his pictures but being able to afford.

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      So sorry for the late reply and about your son! I didn’t see your comment till now. Yes, I think it can be a good therapy to be scrapbooking your son’s photos and memories. Are you intending to do digital scrapbooking and wanting to print them out on 12×12 size? You might want to approach your nearby print shops and see if they do in that size. If you’re from the US, you can also check out online printing shops such as Shutterfly or Snapfish where you can combine your digital scrapbook pages and print them out as a photobook. If you’re looking at creating paper scrapbooking, you might want to visit online Amazon store or your local scrapbook shop to get some scrapbook paper and supplies. Hope this helps and I hope you’ll find joy in scrapbooking!

  3. Which company produces the highest quality paper and how can I know the quality? Even if it says acid free and lignin free how can I be sure? Do you recommend a particular company? Are some more acid/lignin free than others? Thank you!

    1. Hi Diane,

      It’ll be hard to say which company produces the highest quality paper. What we can do is to buy from a more established company and look for the acid-free and lignin-free labels. That being said, some companies such as the American Crafts has been selling scrapbook paper for years and they are still around. The company is also carrying several other popular and established scrapbook product brands such as Bazzill, Bo Bunny, Crate Paper, etc.

      To check out the range of cardstock and patterned paper from the scrapbook brands I’ve mentioned above and many other brands, you can check them out here. Happy scrapping!

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