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52 Types of Paper

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
April 26, 2024
 21 min read
Mark Osterman, VP of Technical Sales and Pre-Sales Engineering
June 7, 2024
 3 min read

Paper, an integral part of human civilization, evolved over many centuries and has served a variety of purposes beyond mere writing. The world of paper encompasses a vast array of types that are tailored to satisfy specific needs and applications.

This article will discuss 52 types of papers, exploring their characteristics, advantages, drawbacks, and costs. 

1. Wallpaper 

Wallpaper is a decorative type of paper used to enhance the visual appeal of interior walls. A big advantage of wallpaper is its customizable nature and extensive range of design possibilities, making it suitable for many different environments and styles. Disadvantages of wallpaper are that its installation is labor intensive, and its removal may damage the wall. The cost of wallpaper varies based on its design and quality of fabrication.

2. Graph Paper 

Graph paper is a type of paper with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines. It is used to make it easier to plot mathematical functions, to facilitate drawing diagrams, and to provide an easy way to neatly order the steps of computations. Graph paper is commonly employed in educational, mathematical, or engineering environments. Graph paper’s grid lines are a big advantage since they make plotting diagrams easy. However, its disadvantages include limited use beyond drawing diagrams and note-taking. Graph paper is cost-effective and easily accessible.

3. Parchment Paper 

Parchment paper is a type treated with sulfuric acid or zinc chloride to give it a smooth, nonstick surface. It can also refer to an obsolete type that documents like the Declaration of Independence were written on. In today’s use, parchment paper is frequently employed in cooking, where its nonstick properties make it a viable alternative to cooking oil in some situations. Key advantages include its nonstick performance and ease of use, while disadvantages include environmental considerations due to chemicals leaching into the environment upon disposal.

4. Wrapping Paper 

Wrapping paper is an ornamental type of paper that is used to cover gifts for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. It is lightweight and covers a myriad of design choices, though the fact that it is intended as a single-use, disposable product is a disadvantage. Wrapping paper is affordable. Its cost depends on the quality and design of the paper. 

5. Cardstock 

Cardstock, a thick and durable type of paper, is known for its heavy weight. Because of these properties, cardstock is often used for greeting cards, invitations, postcards, playing cards, business cards, and more. Its durability is an advantage while its lack of flexibility is a disadvantage. Cardstock is still inexpensive but typically costs more than other types of paper such as tissue or copy paper.

6. Butcher Paper 

Butcher paper is used to wrap meats like: beef, pork, poultry, fish, and more. Its thickness, durability, and waterproof coating make it useful for wrapping meats, but it has limited use outside of that application since the waterproof coating affects printing capability. Butcher paper is affordable and widely available.

7. Tissue Paper 

Tissue paper is a type of paper that is characterized by its thinness, softness, light weight, and ornamental potential. Because of these characteristics, tissue paper is often used to wrap and protect gifts and fragile objects with an elegant presentation. Another common use is facial tissue or toilet paper. Its light weight and ability to conform to irregular surfaces are advantages, but it can be easily torn. Tissue paper is cheap compared to other types of paper.

8. Construction Paper 

Construction paper is a popular type of paper used for arts and crafts. It comes in a variety of colors and is known for its thickness compared to copy paper, its flexibility, and versatility. Despite these advantages, a disadvantage of construction paper is its rough texture which makes it less than ideal for printing, and its brittleness compared to other types of paper.. Construction paper is widely accessible and affordable.

9. Watercolor Paper 

Watercolor paper is a paper type that is commonly used in art and comes in hot-pressed and cold-pressed varieties. The difference between the varieties is in their texture — cold-pressed has a textured surface, while hot-pressed has a smooth surface. An advantage of watercolor paper is that it absorbs water well, which makes it useful for watercolor painting. Limitations include the expensive price compared to other types of paper and limited use beyond watercolor painting.

10. Wax Paper 

Wax paper consists of layers of tissue paper that are coated with food-grade paraffin wax. This makes it useful for nonstick cooking applications and moisture resistance. Parchment paper has a similar function, but compared to parchment paper, wax paper is cheaper and less tolerant of high temperatures.

11. Crepe Paper 

Crepe paper is another type of ornamental paper that is used in crafts and gift wrapping. It is similar to tissue paper in that it is thin and comes in a variety of colors and textures. This makes it commonly used for decorating parties or special occasions or for wrapping gifts. However, crepe paper is easily torn and has limited use outside of its ornamental value.

12. Vellum Paper 

Vellum, a translucent paper, is favored by scrapbook makers and card artists for its appearance, elegant texture, and capacity for creative endeavors. Initially crafted from lambskin or calfskin, modern vellum imitations are composed of cotton and come in, off-white varieties in varying weights. Despite its appeal, caution is advised when handling vellum for crafts due to its tendency to smudge and crease easily.

13. Copy Paper 

Copy paper serves the purpose of document copying and printing and is typically available in standard legal and letter sizes. Copy paper is versatile and can be used for a variety of applications — from printing official documents to sketching — due to its moderate weight. Advantages of copy paper include its widespread availability and low price, but a major disadvantage is that its thickness may not be ideal for certain applications, like printing photos.

14. Sandpaper 

Sandpaper is a heavy-duty paper with abrasive bonded to it and is characterized by its diverse range of grit sizes. It is commonly utilized to alter the surface textures of wood, plastic, drywall, metal, and other materials by removing, smoothing, or roughing surfaces. The grit size numbering system assigns low numbers to more coarse abrasives, while high numbers denote finer abrasive textures. Sandpaper’s ability to alter surfaces is an advantage, although a disadvantage is the risk of damaging delicate surfaces. Sandpaper is affordable but more often more expensive than other types such as copy paper and tissue paper.

15. Litmus Paper 

Impregnated with dyes extracted from lichens, litmus paper undergoes color changes based on the pH level of any solution it contacts. This property allows for quick assessment of the pH level of various liquids. Its rapid response time is a notable advantage, although it may lack precision in determining specific acidity or alkalinity levels. Litmus paper is a specialized type of paper that is cost-effective over time given the price of test strips. A pack of 100 test strips can be purchased for less than $5.

16. Tracing Paper 

Thin and translucent, tracing paper serves as an ideal medium for replicating patterns for design and artwork. Its lightweight construction and translucent appearance contribute to its preferred use in artwork, though, like tissue paper, it is susceptible to ripping. Tracing paper allows a user to precisely copy designs and drawings, facilitating the creation of intricate artwork or precise patterns in a variety of projects. Tracing paper is relatively inexpensive. A 1’ wide by 150’ long roll can be purchased for roughly $15.

17. Photo Paper 

Photo paper has special design features to enable it to accurately reproduce images. Photo paper is thicker and heavier than copy paper and has specialty surface coatings composed of various polymers or resins that make it ideal for use in photography where it bolsters the image quality of photos. Despite its advantages for optimizing image quality, photo paper can be expensive and is seldom used for other applications. For example, 20 sheets of letter-sized photo paper cost roughly $10.

18. Printing Paper 

Printing paper is a versatile paper type that encompasses a range of types tailored for various commercial purposes. Uses of printing paper include: books, magazines, newspapers, office documents, and more. Each type of printing paper has distinct characteristics such as varying weight or surface texture that make it suitable for different applications. The advantage of printer paper lies in its versatility and compatibility with various printing devices. However, this versatility means that it does not offer the same excellent results as specialized papers made for specific applications, such as photo printing or greeting cards.

19. Blotting Paper 

A convenient accessory in calligraphy, blotting paper is a type of paper known for its absorbency and smudge prevention. Blotting paper is porous and easily absorbs extra oil or ink when doing calligraphy. This trait is a well-known advantage. However, a big disadvantage of blotting paper is its limited thickness.

20. Kraft Paper 

Kraft paper, manufactured from wood pulp, is typically brown and is known for its tear resistance. Its strength and versatility make it a popular choice for food packaging, envelopes, and paper bags. It is both flexible and strong which makes it ideal for various packaging applications. However, one disadvantage of kraft paper is that it becomes weak when wet. 

21. Bristol Paper 

Bristol paper typically refers to drawing paper composed of multiple layers of paper bonded under high pressure between felt rollers. This paper type offers a sturdy surface for artistic endeavors without the need for additional mounting. Outside of drawing and painting, Bristol paper can also fulfill many of the same uses as cardstock.

22. Linen Paper 

Linen paper is a type used for “fine stationery.” It is often used for elegant certificates, wedding invitations, restaurant menus, resumes, and more. Its aesthetic appeal and resemblance to linen fabric is an advantage. However, it is expensive compared to other types of paper.

23. Manila Paper 

Crafted from partly bleached wood fibers, manila paper finds extensive use in businesses as document storage folders and in art for many of the same applications as cardstock or paperboard. Compared to these two types of paper, manila paper is the lighter, more pliable, and more cost-effective option. However, its pigmented appearance may be aesthetically undesirable for some applications.

24. Thermal Paper 

Thermal paper is a unique type of paper that changes color as heat is applied due to heat-sensitive dyes present in its composition. Thermal paper is often used in point-of-sale terminals commonly seen in retail and food-service environments or financial institutions like banks. Thermal paper’s advantages include instant printing without the need for expensive consumables like ink. However, a disadvantage is that it fades over time and is not suitable for archival documents.

25. Foil Paper 

Foil paper is a unique and lustrous paper type that consists of mylar-coated paper sheets. The malleability of foil paper allows it to easily be bent or wrapped around objects, allowing it to satisfy many uses — from cooking and food storage to packaging to arts and crafts. Advantages include malleability and heat resistance while a big disadvantage is that it is unsuitable for printing.

26. Newsprint

Newsprint is a thin, weak, and not tear-resistant paper variant fabricated from finely ground wood pulp. It is commonly employed in the printing of newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Newsprint is characterized by its affordability, light weight, and availability in multiple grades that are often used for advertisements and or vibrant color photos. The cost-effectiveness, lightweight, and suitability for large-scale printing operations are notable advantages of newsprint paper but disadvantages include brittleness.

27. Filter Paper

Filter paper serves to separate contaminants from liquids or gasses. Its filtering properties originate from the web of fibers that limit the passage of oversized particles. This makes it useful for air filters, coffee filters, oil filters, teabags, and more. The advantages of filter paper are its affordability and filtering capability. However, certain disadvantages include limited compatibility with certain particles that are desired to be filtered. Filter paper is inexpensive.

28. Bond Paper 

Bond paper, a premium type of paper, finds widespread use for letterheads, reports, and stationery. Crafted from rag pulp or textiles, it boasts superior strength compared to the majority of paper varieties. However, a big disadvantage is that it can be expensive.

29. Chart Paper 

Chart paper is commonly used in the medical or scientific fields. It is a lightweight, lustrous, and heat-sensitive paper that resembles graph paper. Medical diagnostic scans such as EKGs can be printed onto chart paper due to their ability to facilitate organized presentation of content. However, chart paper is expensive and has limited use beyond the specific tasks it was designed for.

30. Mulberry Paper 

Mulberry paper is named after the bark of the tree it is fabricated from. Mulberry paper is often textured and available in a variety of weights. Because of its composition and processing, mulberry paper has a distinct finish that features long fibers and irregular, yet attractive, edges. Mulberry paper is often used in traditional papermaking practices, arts and crafts, and is on par in price with other types of art papers, but has limited use outside of the arts.

31. Art Paper 

Art paper is a general term used to describe types of paper that are used in many different art endeavors, including: drawing, painting, and printmaking. It is also available in acid-free options, which makes it useful for artists concerned about the longevity of their work. However, one potential drawback is that the quality of art paper may vary depending on the specific brand or type, which can impact its performance for different artistic techniques.

32. Canvas Paper 

Canvas paper resembles canvas fabric, and is often employed in painting and other mixed-media artwork. Compared to traditional canvas, it is lighter and thus easier to frame. However, it has less durability than actual canvas and can be relatively expensive compared to actual canvas and other types of art paper.

33. Rag Paper 

Rag paper is a high-quality paper type fabricated from cotton or linen fibers. It is often used for fine art and archival documents. Its notable advantages include its longevity and ability to maintain the integrity of documents and artwork over extended periods. However, one potential drawback is its higher cost compared to standard paper options. Additionally, rag paper may have limited availability, particularly in certain sizes or formats, which can pose challenges for specific projects. 

34. Archival Paper 

Archival paper, a type of rag paper, was developed to guarantee the preservation of the quality of paper documents over time by preventing degradation and discoloration. It is acid-free and manufactured entirely from cotton instead of wood pulp. While this is a desirable advantage of archival paper, it also makes it expensive in comparison to other types of paper.

35. Photographic Paper 

Photographic paper is infused with chemicals sensitive to light. These chemicals facilitate the conversion of images into either a color or black-and-white printed image. The photographic paper serves as an excellent choice for individuals aiming to produce photographs suitable for display in printed formats. Additionally, photographic paper comes in multiple finishes. However, it requires specialized printing equipment and can be expensive.

36. Book Paper 

Book paper is specifically designed for use in books due to its balance of weight, texture, and ease of printing. From paperbacks and hardcover books to manuals and diaries, book paper is a versatile paper type. The range of book paper varieties is extensive and encompasses thin, lightweight options like Bible paper, to thicker variants utilized in manuals or specific hardcover books, with numerous options available in between. It is affordable and widely available, however it is prone to yellowing over time.

37. Coated Paper 

Coated paper is a type of paper that is covered with a gloss or matte layer. This coated layer helps to enhance print quality and paper durability. Additionally, it makes the paper more resistant to ink bleed which is often a challenge when using a rougher type of paper.. A major drawback of coated paper is that it is more expensive than copy paper or bond paper.

38. Greaseproof Paper 

Greaseproof paper, also known as butcher paper, is a type of paper specially treated to resist grease and oil. This makes it a popular choice for baking and food packaging. Its advantages include preventing food from sticking and maintaining food freshness. However, it has limited heat resistance. Regarding cost, it falls within the moderate range compared to wax paper and parchment paper on the low end and sandpaper on the upper end.

39. Honeycomb Paper 

Honeycomb paper is a type of kraft paper characterized by its lightweight nature and hexagonal cell structure which makes it suitable for packaging, insulation, and crafting purposes. Its advantages include being lightweight, yet remarkably strong. However, it may have limited availability and is typically reserved for specialized applications.

40. Wove Paper 

Wove paper is a paper type that is commonly handmade by straining pulp with a wire mesh screen or woven fabric. Its name, wove paper, is attributed to its woven appearance when held against light due to the imprint of the screen used during its fabrication. Wove paper was an early type of paper and is still common today amongst hobbyists and in cultural traditions.

41. Typewriter Paper

Typewriter paper is a type of lightweight paper used for manual typewriters that is seldom used today due to the prevalence of personal computers. The benefits of typewriter paper include the availability of different colors and a specialized type for airmail due to weight considerations. 

42. Uncoated Paper 

Uncoated paper is similar to copy paper or printer paper but unlike these types of paper, it does not have a matte or glossy top layer. This makes it more prone to absorbing ink, and it has a rougher surface. These traits have both advantages and disadvantages. The capability to absorb more ink makes it more compatible with writing or printing compared to coated paper but also makes it more prone to smudging and having less vibrant printed images.

43. Greeting Card Paper 

Greeting card paper is a type of cardstock that is used for special occasions such as: anniversaries, holidays, bereavement, and graduations. Because it is cardstock, greeting paper is heavier and thicker than regular printer paper or copy paper. Its aesthetic appeal and ease of taking on creative designs are advantages, but its lack of flexibility can be limiting. Cardstock is relatively expensive compared to copy paper and printer paper, but cheaper than photo paper.

44. Food Paper 

Food paper encompasses other types of paper such as wax paper, parchment paper, and butcher paper. All of these papers are commonly used in cooking applications. Food paper’s characteristics depend on the specific application. For instance, meats are wrapped in butcher paper which is thicker than the wrapping paper used for candy. A big advantage of food paper is that there is a type to fit every need and every food. However, the single-use nature of these paper types can be wasteful.

45. Tobacco Paper 

Tobacco paper is a type of thin paper specifically tailored for the manual rolling of cigarettes. Tobacco paper is traditionally composed of wood pulp, but can also be fabricated from cellulose from other plants, such as hemp or rice. Advantages of tobacco paper include minimal taste interference and slow-burning, however, disadvantages include limited use beyond smoking applications.

46. Offset Paper 

Offset paper is a medium-weight paper that is wood-free and brighter than copy paper. It is frequently used in large-volume offset printing processes due to its smooth surface texture. While its smooth texture and compatibility with large volume tasks are an advantage, it has limited availability in specialty sizes which poses challenges for specific printing requirements.

47. Envelope Paper 

Envelope paper is a type of paper for enclosing and protecting documents or mail during transit or storage. Envelope paper offers security to sensitive documents through an opaque texture printed on its surface and often features an adhesive or clasp for closure. Envelope paper comes in different colors and sizes. Envelope paper is affordable compared to more expensive options like Tyvek envelopes.

48. Acid-Free Paper 

Acid-free paper is characterized by its neutral or alkaline pH level, which prevents yellowing and deterioration over time. It is appreciated for its ability to preserve documents, photographs, and artwork — making it a popular choice for archival applications. However, one potential drawback is its higher cost. Overall, the cost of acid-free paper typically falls within the moderate to high range due to its superior quality and preservation properties.

49. Banknote Paper 

Banknote paper is a paper type that is often used for printing currency. Commonly composed of cotton and linen, banknote paper is known for its fiber distribution which adds aesthetic appeal to the paper, and watermarks which help to make currency counterfeit-proof.

50. Laid Paper

Laid paper is a type of paper similar to wove paper in that it is created by using a screen. Unlike wove paper, however, the screen used leaves vertical and horizontal ribs on the laid paper due to inadequate absorption of pulp during the fabrication process. Like banknote paper, laid paper is used for currency due to its counterfeit-proof characteristics, but also in ledgers and books.

51. Shoe Paper 

Shoe paper is a specially tailored paper used to protect shoes while in transit or storage. It is a thicker type of paper and an effective barrier to scuffs and dust, but its limited use beyond shoe protection is a disadvantage.

52. Post-Consumer Recycled Paper 

Post-consumer recycled paper is fabricated from previously used paper that is recycled back into the paper manufacturing process. Breaking the recycled paper back down to pulp requires processes to remove inks and adhesives and then mix it with newly created pulp. Post-consumer recycled paper products find many uses — from copy and printer paper to cardstock and more. This type of paper is often more expensive, 10-25% more, than other types due to the extra processes required to create it.

What Is Paper?

Traditionally, paper is a material composed of cellulose fibers derived from wood, rags, grasses, or other sources, processed into thin sheets. These sheets are then utilized for writing, printing, drawing, packaging, and a multitude of other applications. Generally, paper can also be defined as any thin, flexible material that can be written on, printed on, or used for packaging.

To learn more, see our full guide on What is Paper.

What Are the Considerations When Choosing a Paper Type To Use?

Selecting the appropriate paper type depends on such factors as: its intended use, durability requirements, printing method, and budget constraints. Factors like weight, texture, finish, and composition play crucial roles in decision-making.

What Type of Paper Is Used for Embossing? 

Embossing typically requires thicker paper types such as cardstock or Bristol paper, which can withstand the pressure required for embossing without tearing or warping. These papers provide a sturdy base for creating raised designs or patterns.

What Type of Paper Is Used for Laser Engraving? 

Laser engraving requires paper that can withstand the intense heat generated by the laser without scorching or igniting. Therefore, coated papers such as cardstock, or specialty laser engraving paper are commonly used for this purpose.

Are There Any Types of Paper That Are Suitable for 3D Printing?

While conventional paper is not suitable for 3D printing due to its lack of structural integrity and flexibility, some specialty papers infused with polymers or other additives can be 3D printed through a type of 3D printing called selective deposition lamination (SDL). SDL consists of bonding successive layers of coated paper together that are cut into the desired shape.  However, the use of paper in 3D printing remains limited compared to other materials such as plastics, metals, and resins.


This article presented different types of paper, explained each of them, and discussed their various applications. To learn more about paper, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.


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Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.