Graphics Notes 2

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Materials used in graphics include paper, board, and plastics. Smart and modern materials are also being developed. Many different materials can be used for model-making.

Adhesives and fastenings are used to attach materials together. They can be permanent or temporary.


coloured paper and card, coated paper, different weights, handmade paper (

Paper thickness is measured in grams per square metre (gsm). This is the weight of one square metre of the paper.

Most paper is manufactured from recycledboards and paper. Virgin paper is made from 100% wood pulp and contains no recycled material.

Different types of paper and board have different uses, as shown in the table below:

Types of paper and their uses

TypeDescription and uses Layout paper

  • - lightweight, thin white paper
  • - used for initial ideas
  • - takes colour media well
  • - low cost

Tracing paper

  • - thin, translucent paper
  • - making copies of drawings
  • - high cost

Cartridge paper

  • - good quality white paper
  • - available in different weights
  • - general purpose work
  • - can be used to make simple models
  • - medium cost

Bleedproof paper

  • - smooth, hard paper
  • - used with water-based and spirit-based felt-tip pens
  • - medium cost

Coloured paper

  • - many different types
  • - available in different thicknesses
  • - used for mounting finished work
  • - used to apply coloured surfaces to models
  • - low to medium cost

Grid paper

  • - printed square and isometric grids in different sizes
  • - a guide for quick sketches and model-making
  • - low cost

Paper sizes

Paper is available in sizes from A0 (biggest) to A6 (smallest). The most common size is A4. Each size is half the one before, eg A4 is half the size of A3.


Board (sometimes called card or cardboard) thickness is measured in microns: one micron is one thousandth of one millimetre. Sometimes the thickness of board is given in sheets. This refers to the number of pieces of paper that have been glued together to make a sheet of board.

Boards are manufactured from recycled and reusable paper.

Types of board and their uses

TypeDescription and uses Board

  • - range of thicknesses (from 300 microns to 650 microns)
  • - range of colours including solid white board, grey board and metallic
  • - used for model
  • - different applications use different thicknesses

Corrugated card

  • strong and lightweight
  • - used for packaging protection and point of sale stands
  • - available in different thicknesses

Mounting board

  • - good quality thick card
  • - coloured surface
  • - used for final models
  • - used for mounting work

Spiral wound tubing

  • - high strength
  • - 3D printable surface
  • - used for packaging


  • - large foam-based board
  • - different finishes available including metallic and hologrammatic
  • - used for food packaging, eg take-away pizza boxes

Paper based boards can be laminated to other materials. The composition can be adjusted to create different properties for specific purposes, eg advertising for shops and cinemas.

Smart and modern materials

Materials for making products are improved and refined by developing new materials or finding new uses for existing materials…


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