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Neenah Cardstock: Smooth vs. Super-Smooth

Neenah Cardstock Comparison

Hi All!

For my Copic coloring, I use Neenah 80lb cardstock. There are two different versions of Neenah cardstock – smooth and super-smooth. I have historically purchased from Ellen Hutson (#04701), and their cardstock is smooth. However, to save money, many people are buying from places like Amazon and JoAnn’s (#03249), who sell the super-smooth at a sometimes discounted price, especially with a coupon. I have often seen this question in the forum, and I have gotten emails about it… what is the difference? Is one better than the other? One of our members, Sherry, sent me some of her super-smooth cardstock so that I could do a comparison.

Because the coloring is kind of a long process, I’m doing this review with photos and text.

Just a couple of pre-test observations:

  • The smooth is slightly thicker than the super-smooth.
  • While the smooth is white, the super-smooth appears to be more of a bright white.
  • You might assume that super-smooth is smoother, but they actually feel exactly the same with respect to texture.

I stamped both panels with a coffee cup that has a lot of space for coloring. I used Memento ink, and the ink was absorbed exactly the same on both cardstocks.

There is going to be some variation just because a human is coloring each cup individually. I tried to color each of the cups the same, but it’s impossible for me to copy the brushstrokes exactly. That being said, here are the two panels. Click on each for a larger version:

Neenah - Smooth

Neenah Super Smooth

As I sit here looking at the samples, there is literally no difference. No difference in absorption, bleeding, blending, etc. Aside from the human coloring differences, you cannot distinguish the two. I did, however, notice one fairly noticeable difference… the back:

Neenah - Smooth Back

Neenah - Super Smooth Back

The color saturated the back of the smooth cardstock more than the super-smooth. I’m not sure how much this matters, but it’s kind of nice that it is an added bonus for the cheaper cardstock.

In summary, given that the coloring is the same, I would go with super-smooth. Although the smooth is a tiny bit thicker, the super-smooth is brighter in color, cheaper, and doesn’t soak through as much. The thickness of the cardstock isn’t enough to outweigh the advantages of the super-smooth. There you go!

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Comments

  1. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Connie

    That’s very interesting and may be very helpful for anyone in the US. But I just checked and buying 250 sheets from Amazon would be much too expensive for anyone living in Australia because the shipping cost is almost as much as the cardstock cost. I buy 80lb Neenah Solar White locally for a fraction of the cost. I also am beginning to use the Stampin Up heavy weight Whisper White cardstock too, especially for one-layer cards.

  2. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Robin L

    The #120 heavy base white from Gina K at StampTv has no bleed thru on the back. If that a con cern for maybe a single layer card.

  3. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    lovinpaper

    I have never used Neenah paper. Thanks for showing the comparison. I have Spectrum Noir 100 lb cardstock, which is pretty bright white, and also Gina K cardstock, both in layering and heavy base weight white. Like Robin said, the alcohol marker does not bleed through the heavy base weight white paper. I do like your tips on using the good paper with the alcohol markers.

  4. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Sherry W.

    Thanks for doing the comparison, Darlene. Glad to know I didn’t make a sad mistake when I bought the Super Smooth at a bargain price.

  5. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Soozie4Him

    How would you compare the Super Smooth to SU’s Whisper White (both regular and Thick)?? I didn’t even know Super Smooth existed – thanks for pointing that out!

    • wrote on March 21st, 2018 at 6:07 am

      amelialesley

      Yes. I’m curious about this also.

    • wrote on March 21st, 2018 at 9:13 am

      darlene

      Regarding the thickness of the paper, I would put them in this order, from thinnest to thickest:
      1. SU Whisper White
      2. Neenah Super Smooth
      3. Neenah Smooth
      4. SU Whisper White Thick

      I don’t like to use #1 as a card base, but I would use #2 as a card base. I don’t use the SU paper for Copic coloring.

  6. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    swimbikerunat60

    I only use watercolor paper for my cards since this is my most favorite medium but, this information is of great value for the crafters who like Copics.
    You are always so informative about this types of products to help all of us enjoy this craft even more.
    Thank you so much, Darlene.

  7. wrote on March 19th, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Carol Mac

    I never knew there was such a thing as super smooth! Thanks for the comparison! 😎

  8. wrote on March 21st, 2018 at 9:01 am

    jennyjo88

    Thanks for the comparison Darlene! I, like many others did not know there was a Super Smooth version for less. 🙂

  9. wrote on March 27th, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Lizzie

    Thank you for this comparison Darlene. I really appreciate when you go to this much trouble to answer
    a question or show us differences. I agree the super smooth it is! And, now I will go and order some as I
    was about to order some white cardstock anyway. You just continue to Rock!!

    • wrote on March 27th, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      darlene

      Thank you for your kind words, Lizzie! 🙂

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