What Is Chipboard and How Is It Used?

Using Chipboard to Texture Scrapbooks

handmade birthday card with chipboard letters
The H and B are made from chipboard. Lauren Manning / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Over the years, several materials and gadgets have trended in the scrapbook industry. Shaped paper cutters, gel pens, and tags have all had their moments in the sun. Chipboard is another material that seems to be trendy; it is one of those materials that has staying power when it comes to scrapbooking for a variety of reasons. 

What Is Chipboard?

Essentially, chipboard is a thick fiber paper that is typically made from recycled paper.

It is similar to cardboard and is a non-corrugated cardboard, so it is not hollow. In scrapbooking, it is used to make scrapbook pages that are held together with ribbon or binder rings--then you decorate the entire page, no book needed as the chipboard pieces make up the pages. Chipboard can also be used as a scrapbooking embellishment.

Using Chipboard in Scrapbooking

Chipboard can be used to create thickness or texture on a scrapbook page and is often used to make cut-out letters.

Chipboard is also versatile. It comes plain or with a finish. Additionally, you can paint it, sand it, cover it with patterned paper, and use rub-on letters to embellish it. Mat board, found in the framing section of your local craft store, can be used as an excellent substitute for chipboard.

The thickness of chipboard thickness is measured by a point system. Each point is 1/1,000 of an inch. Light chipboard is 20 points or 1/42 of an inch.

XL thickness is 32 points or 1/32 of an inch. Extra heavy ranges from 50 to 52 points and is as thick as a penny. The thickest 2X is 85 points or 3/32 of one inch--similar to the thickness of two dimes.

Additional Uses for Chipboard

Chipboard is also used as a stand-alone craft. It can be cut precisely to create frames and other decorative objects.

Some people make chipboard frames and then decorate the chipboard surface. In recent years, craft stores have featured a wide range of chipboard produced in pre-cut shapes that can be used in scrapbooks but also in frames, on wreaths, and just about anywhere the creative mind sees fit.

In addition to scrapbooking, it is often used for rubber stamping and painting. It's that versatile, as it can be a stand-alone craft or part of one.

Some chipboard products also have adhesive on them so they can easily stick to surfaces. This is especially popular when creating custom garlands that convey a message--just stick on the chipboard letters and spell out anything you'd like. Letters without adhesive can simply be glued on.

The rustic cardboard color of it also ties into the farmhouse/rustic decorative trend, so you may see chipboard cutouts that haven't been adorned and are simply loved for their natural look.