When it comes to printing on cardstock, you might be scratching your head, wondering if your trusty ol’ printer can handle this thicker and sturdier material. Well, my curious friend, let me unravel this puzzle for you. It’s not as simple as a “yes” or “no” because you see, there are a bunch of factors at play here.

First off, you need to ponder the horsepower of your printer. Does it have the guts and glory to push those cardstock boundaries? Keep in mind, not all printers are created equal, just like superheroes come in different capes and cowls.

So, Buckle up, ’cause we’re about to embark on an exhilarating cardstock printing adventure!

Understanding Cardstock

Cardstock is like the heavyweight champ of paper types. It’s thicker, stronger, and tougher than your regular printer paper. We’re talking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger of papers here!

Cardstock is the go-to hero for a whole bunch of cool stuff. We’re talking invitations that scream, ‘Hey, come to my awesome party!’ Greeting cards that make your loved ones go, ‘Wow, you’re so thoughtful!’ Business cards that make you look like a total boss. Postcards that teleport your vacation vibes to friends and family. And let’s not forget crafts that turn your imagination into reality!

The weight of paper plays a significant role when it comes to purchasing paper for printing purposes. When it comes to measuring the weight of cardstock paper, we have two systems to keep track: GSM & LB…paper weight chart

GSM, which stands for grams per square meter, measures the weight of the paper per square meter. It’s a metric unit, so if you’re all about that metric life, GSM is your jam. The higher the GSM, the thicker and heavier the paper. Picture a muscular bodybuilder, flexing those thick paper muscles! In the world of cardstock, the typical weight ranges from 200 to 400 gsm, giving you a sturdy foundation for your projects.

On the other hand, we have lb., which stands for pounds per ream. lb is a non-metric unit, so if you prefer good old pounds, this one’s for you. It measures the weight of the paper per ream, which is usually 500 sheets. The higher the lb, the tougher the paper. Think of it as upgrading from a feather to a solid brick! In the realm of cardstock, you’ll find weights ranging from 80 to 150 lb, ensuring your prints and crafts can withstand the test of time.

cardstock paper weight example

And in case you are scratching your head over lb to gsm or gsm to lb conversions? Fear not, ’cause I’ve got a solution at hand: a nifty Paperweight converter.

Printer Specifications

Determining whether your standard printer is capable of handling cardstock requires a thorough examination of its specifications. The majority of printers provide information regarding the media types and paper weights that they are capable of accommodating. These details can be found in the user manual of the printer or on the manufacturer’s website.

Supported paper media weight by printer

It is essential to pay close attention to the maximum paper weight that your printer can handle. If the maximum weight is higher than the weight of your cardstock, you’re heading in the right direction. However, it is important to keep in mind that some printers may have limitations even within their specified weight range. For instance, a printer may be able to support cardstock that weighs up to 110 lbs, but it may struggle with consistent feeding or ink saturation on heavier stocks.

Did you know that certain printers come equipped with a specialized manual feed slot specifically designed for handling specialty media like cardstock? It’s a little known fact that may surprise even the most seasoned printer aficionados out there!

You see, the manual feed slot allows for precise control over the feeding of cardstock, ensuring that each sheet is properly aligned and printed on with the utmost clarity. Picture this: You’re printing out your wedding invitations on some fancy cardstock, and suddenly, the printer jams! You panic, thinking that the printer has ruined your special day. But wait, you remember that your printer has a manual feed slot for cardstock! Crisis averted, and you can rest easy knowing that your invitations will look stunning.

Usually, a lot of inkjet can handle heavy paper but finding a laser printer that can handle cardstock is like finding a needle in a digital haystack! It’s a real head-scratcher because most laser printers out there won’t give your cardstock the love it deserves, capping out at a measly 163 gsm of paper.

So, before you go ahead and print your precious cardstock, take a moment to get to know your printer’s personality. Is it a risk-taker that’s up for the challenge, or is it more of a cautious observer that prefers to stick to its comfort zone? Knowing your printer’s personality will help you get the best possible results and avoid any potential mishaps.

Adjusting Printer Settings For Thicker Media 

If you have a printer that can handle heavy or thick types of paper, it’s crucial to adjust certain settings to ensure the best possible results. Let’s take a look at some of the most important settings you need to consider.

Paper Thickness Setting: When it comes to printing on cardstock, your printer needs to know how thick the paper is. This is where the paper thickness setting comes in handy. By selecting the appropriate thickness setting, you can ensure that your printer feeds the paper properly and produces high-quality prints. Don’t forget to choose the right thickness setting for optimal compatibility with cardstock.

paper-type printer setting

Print Quality: If you want your prints to look their best on cardstock, it’s important to choose the highest print quality setting available on your printer. This will ensure that your text is crisp and clear, your colors are vibrant, and your ink coverage is optimal. Keep in mind that choosing a higher print quality may result in slower printing speeds, but the improved output is definitely worth the wait.

Paper Path: When printing on cardstock, it’s crucial to choose the right paper path for your printer. Some printers have a straight-through paper path, while others have a U-shaped path. To avoid paper jams and printer damage, make sure to refer to your printer’s manual and choose the appropriate path for cardstock.

manual feed slot printer settings

Troubleshooting Tips

In case you encounter issues while printing on cardstock, here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you overcome common challenges:

  1. Ensure Proper Feeding: It’s crucial to ensure that your cardstock is loaded into the paper tray with precision. Take a moment to adjust those tray guides to snugly fit the stock, avoiding any overloading that might result in frustrating misfeeds or nasty paper jams. We certainly don’t want that, right?
  2. Check Ink Levels: Your printer’s ink is running low. That’s a recipe for poor print quality. So, before you dive into the printing extravaganza, take a quick peek and verify that your printer has a healthy supply of ink or toner. Trust me, it’ll save you from a whole lot of disappointment.
  3. Allow Sufficient Drying Time: Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to printing on cardstock. After you’ve completed your masterpiece, give that ink some breathing space and ample drying time. Don’t rush into handling the cardstock right away unless you’re aiming for a smudged mess.
  4. Experiment and Test: Sometimes, we all like to try new things, right? If you’re venturing into the world of different cardstock types or facing some printing issues, I’ve got a golden rule for you: start small. Conduct those tiny test prints first before diving headfirst into larger print runs. This way, you can make adjustments on the fly and identify any potential problems before committing to a full-blown printing extravaganza.


In conclusion, while the ability of a regular printer to print on cardstock depends on various factors, it is indeed possible with the right considerations and adjustments. By understanding your printer’s specifications, adjusting relevant settings, selecting appropriate cardstock, and troubleshooting effectively, you can achieve outstanding results when printing on this thicker material.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your initial attempts are not flawless. With time and experience, you will become adept at printing on cardstock, producing professional-quality prints for a wide range of applications.


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