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Print Resources: Converting GSM to Pounds

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  • Print Resources: Converting GSM to Pounds
15 May 2024

Welcome to SunDance, your friendly guide through the paper weight puzzle of GSM vs. Pounds! We've crafted this guide to demystify the process and help you seamlessly convert GSM (grams per square meter) to pounds, which is especially handy if you're accustomed to inches and pounds but find yourself in the land of paper metrics. As a commercial printer working with international brands, we often find there is some confusion when trying to convert paper weights. Have no fear, we are here to help with all of your printing woes!

Internation Paper Weight Metrics

GSM, the global standard for measuring paper weight, can sometimes feel like a foreign language in the US, where pounds reign supreme. While GSM measures the weight of a square meter of paper, pounds, on the other hand, are determined by the actual scale weight of a ream (500 sheets) of paper.

When converting GSM to Pounds, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Each sheet's weight indicates how hefty the paper is, with lighter weights being thinner and heavier ones boasting more thickness. Text stock and cover stock are both measured in pounds, often referred to as lbs or #, so you must specify if you are interested in a text-weight paper or a cover-weight paper.

Sounds simple, right? Well, the pulp thickens (or should we say, the GSM increases) when it comes to paper thickness. Don't be fooled! Just because two papers boast the same weight doesn't mean they're identical in thickness. Factors like composition and manufacturing process can lead to variations. And remember, weight doesn't always equal quality. It's all about finding the right fit for your needs.

How to Convert GSM to Pounds

Now, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of conversion! Using the formula below, you will be able to convert grams per square meter to pounds:

1. Identify Your Paper Type:
  • Text Weight Paper: Think flyers, brochures, and letterheads.
  • Cover Stock: Sturdier stuff for business cards, postcards, and book covers.
2. Choose Your Conversion Formula:
  • Text Weight Paper: Multiply GSM by 0.676 to get pounds per square meter
  • Cover Stock: Multiply GSM by 0.369 to get pounds per square meter

Example: So, you've got some 120 gsm text weight paper on your hands. Let's crunch the numbers:

    • Conversion factor for text weight paper: 0.676
    • Calculation: 120 gsm * 0.676 = 81.12 pounds per square meter (rounded to two decimal places)

But hey, if math isn't your jam, we've got you covered with this handy conversion chart:

SunDance LBs to GSM Conversion

Keep in mind that once converted, your new unit of measure may not perfectly reflect a paper weight on the market. Round your final number up or down to the closest paper weight available in the market you are printing in. While our guide offers a solid starting point, for precise conversions, it's always best to consult a printing professional. 

SunDance is Your Print Resource Partner

At SunDance, we're not just about paper; we're about making your life easier. Our team of print professionals are here to assist with your projects from concept to completion. Do you have questions about paper weight, converting GSM to pounds, or need help selecting the perfect paper for your project? Reach out to our friendly team! We're here to guide you every step of the way.

Ready to take the stress out of paper weight? Let's chat!

Joanna Quentin

Joanna Quentin

As a successful working artist, Joanna brings a unique perspective to every customer’s printing project. With over twenty years in the fine art and wide format printing industry and plenty of hands-on experience, she understands attention to detail, quality materials, and a dash of creativity is key in producing a piece that you are proud to stand behind. Her commitment to customer satisfaction and willingness to explore “outside the box” solutions to difficult or unusual printing requests make her a welcome addition to the SunDance team.

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