different paper weight

Paper Weight Guide: GSM vs. LBS, How to Convert and Choose

Posted by UNPAKFUL on

When it comes to choosing the right paper for your project, understanding paper weight is crucial.

Whether you're selecting paper for printing, packaging, or any other purpose, the weight of the paper can significantly affect the look and feel of the final packaging material.

Paper weight is often represented in two common measurements: GSM and lbs.

Let's explore the meanings, differences, and conversion methods of these terms, with a focus on selecting the right paper weight, especially for wrapping tissue paper.


What is GSM?


GSM stands for "grams per square meter" and is a metric measurement of paper thickness.

It represents the weight of the paper as measured in grams per one square meter of paper. GSM is a more universally recognized and used measurement system, particularly outside of the United States.

It offers a precise and straightforward way to understand the thickness and heft of paper. The higher the GSM number, the heavier and typically thicker the paper.

Here is an example of 17gsm tissue paper:

11lb/17g tissue paper



What is Lbs?


Lbs, or pounds, is a measure of paper weight used primarily in the United States. It is determined by weighing 500 sheets (a ream) of the paper in its basic size before cutting it to the final size.

Here is an example of 15lb tissue paper:

15lb/22g tissue paper

Because the basic size can vary for different types of paper, lbs measurements are not as straightforward as GSM.

For instance, the basic size for bond paper is different from that of cardstock, leading to potential confusion. In general, the higher the lbs measurement, the heavier the paper.


How to Convert Between GSM and Lbs


Converting between GSM and lbs can be helpful when you're working with international clients or suppliers, or simply when you prefer one system over the other.


Here's the formula for converting lbs to gsm for paper:

1lb of Text paper = 1.48 gsm

1lb of Cover paper = 2.708 gsm


Use this convenient conversion tool to quickly translate paper weights between gsm and lbs:

Paper Weight Conversion Tool

lbs to gsm


gsm to lbs


Paper Weight Examples


To give you a better idea of how paper weights vary for different purposes, here are some common examples:

  • Wrapping Tissue Paper (17-45gsm): Printable with logo, light, and soft. Ideal for product packaging.
  • Food Paper/Glassine Paper (40-60gsm): Suitable for food packaging, balancing durability and hygiene.
  • Gift Wrapping Paper (80gsm): Flexible yet strong, perfect for attractive gift presentations.
  • Office Copy Paper (90-120gsm): The standard choice for everyday printing needs.
  • Stickers and Labels (100gsm): Durable enough for long-lasting stickiness and clarity.
  • Greeting Cards/Post Cards/Thank You Cards (250-300gsm): Heavy and robust, designed to convey messages with quality and durability.


Common GSM to Text LB Conversions:

  • 17 gsm = 11 lb
  • 22 gsm = 15 lb
  • 30 gsm = 20 lb
  • 45 gsm = 30 lb
  • 60 gsm = 40 lb
  • 80 gsm = 54 lb
  • 100 gsm = 68 lb
  • 120 gsm = 81 lb
  • 150 gsm = 101 lb
  • 160 gsm = 108 lb
  • 180 gsm = 122 lb
  • 200 gsm = 135 lb


Common GSM to Cover LB Conversions:

  • 200 gsm = 74 lb
  • 230 gsm = 85 lb
  • 250 gsm = 92 lb
  • 270 gsm = 100 lb
  • 280 gsm = 103 lb
  • 300 gsm = 111 lb
  • 350 gsm = 129 lb
  • 400 gsm = 148 lb


Different Paper Weights of Wrapping Tissue Paper:


For brands looking to customize their tissue paper, here are some tissue paper weight options:


  • 11lb/17g: Most used, thin, soft, semi-transparent, and most cost-effective. Suitable for clothing and shoes.


Over 11lb/17g will be considered thick tissue paper:


  • 15lb/22g: Offers stronger resistance and a luxury texture. Provides better protection and feel than 17g options.


  • 20lb/30g: Known as white kraft paper. Thick, with good product protection. Ideal for packaging wine or heavier clothing.


  • 30lb/45g: Much thicker, for packaging very heavy products.


Unsure Which Weight to Use?


Order our sample pack to feel the real papers. Our sample pack includes various weights mentioned above, helping you choose the most suitable paper weight for your brand!


Wrap it up


In conclusion, at UNPAKFUL, we recognize the crucial role paper weight plays in the aesthetic and functional aspects of packaging.

That's why we offer a comprehensive range of paper weights for our custom tissue paper, ensuring you can find the perfect match for your brand's specific needs.

From the delicate touch of our lightweight options to the sturdy embrace of our thicker papers, we are committed to providing quality materials that enhance your product presentation and unboxing experience.

Whether you're looking to elevate your packaging with a luxurious texture or seeking cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality, Unpakful has you covered.

Let us help you make an unforgettable impression with your packaging, one that resonates with your brand values and delights your customers at every touchpoint.

custom tissue paper

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