How to Measure the Thickness of Paper: Easy Tips With VIDEO

It may seem like an impossible thing to do, but it’s not. Measuring the thickness of the paper is totally possible, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing it for.

It’s not easy. You’ll first need to have the ideal tools like a caliper, micrometer, or ruler. You will also need enough paper to stack them and measure.

Luckily, we’ll teach you how to measure the thickness of a paper with these tools. Whether it is a few sheets or an entire stack – you’ll have no problem.

Once you know the thickness, you can start any project that you like. But first, let’s explain these three methods in-depth:

1. Measurement of paper thickness with a Caliper

A caliper is the first method on our list. Calipers are extremely accurate, which makes them even more useful. They look like a ruler, so they’re reasonably easy to use. They also measure accurately, making them your best option. Here’s what you need to do:

Install the Caliper

A caliper can be purchased at most hardware stores, stationery shops, and online. If you already have one, then you won’t have to spend any money or time searching for it.

There are many types of calipers. Because of their ease of use, electronic models are preferred to manual ones. And they don’t lose much accuracy either. A manual caliper, such as a Vernier or Dial, may be a better option. Any model will work fine.

Once you have the caliper, follow these steps:

  • If you have an electronic model, adjust it to millimeters. Otherwise, ensure it adjusts easily.
  • Reset the caliper so it gives you a standard measurement. Rotate the wheel and adjust it to 0.
  • Next, measure something around like a stone, a pebble, or a knife. Then, reset it to 0.

For the best results, it is essential to set it up and reset the caliper.

Measure the stack

Now that you have the caliper in hand, it’s time to turn the wheel so that it matches the stack or ream paper. This will give the measurement.

Here’s how to do so:

  • First, find a stack or ream of paper. You don’t need to measure more than 50-100 pages. This will allow you later to calculate the measurements.
  • The caliper should be adjusted to the thickness of the ream/stack you are measuring. To fit the ream paper inside, rotate the jaws.
  • The paper should be held tightly by the jaws. Don’t grab the paper too tight or you might end up tearing off or crushing it. This will cause a mess in the measurement.
  • If you have an electronic caliper, then you’ll receive the measurement on display. But if you have a manual one (Vernier or Dial), then you’ll have to look for what the dial marks in the scale.
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It is extremely important to do so with care. The final result will be more precise the more precisely you place the caliper onto the stack of paper.

Get the Final Measurement

After measuring the stack of paper, you will find something about 1 to 2 inches in your caliper. This will help you calculate each page’s thickness.

Here’s how to make the final measurement:

  • If you measured approximately 100 pages, you should get about 1 inch in your caliper. You will need to divide 1 inch by the number sheets in the stack.
  • Let’s say you measure a 50-page ream. If the total measurement is 1 in, then divide it by 50. That would give you 0.02.

Once you have the 0.02 inch per page, you can calculate the paper thickness. Now you can do whatever you like with it.

2. Measurement of paper thickness using a micrometer

A micrometer is the second most accurate method to measure thickness of paper. This measurement is at least twice as precise as a standard ruler, so it is probably your best choice.

It works just like a caliper – yet you need to be a little more careful when measuring as it is way more accurate. At the same time, a micrometer lets you measure way fewer sheets – which is an excellent advantage for extra accuracy. Here’s how to proceed:

Install the Micrometer

If you haven’t heard of a micrometer, then you’re probably confused about what it is. We can summarize it as a caliper that is used for micro-measurements. You get the same purpose but smaller and more precise.

There aren’t many types of micrometer. You only have to choose between the ones that use inches or those that use millimeters. Same as calipers, they’re usually sold in hardware and stationery shops.

After this, set up the micrometer.

  • Make sure that you can open and shut the jaws of your micrometer. Move the dial so that the measuring shaft moves up or down.
  • You can look for the shaft to see if it gives you accurate measurements. To determine if it works, measure everything around. Make sure it is easily readable.

Once you have set up the micrometer, and checked it works properly, you can start measuring the paper.

Measure the paper

Once you have a microscope, it is time for you to measure the paper. This is not an easy task because micrometers are very precise. Therefore, you need to be careful.

Here’s how to measure with a micrometer:

  • Start by deciding whether you want to measure just a few pages (20 pages is sufficient) or an entire stack/ream (100-200 pages). A micrometer can be used to measure both.
  • Next, set the micrometer at the desired thickness. Move the dial/thimble accordingly so that the claws fit the paper. You’ll be able to see how the shaft moves based on how wide you open your jaws.
  • If the stack is less than 20 pages, you can adjust the jaws accordingly. This usually starts at 0.1 inches, and goes up from there. These tools can be very low in inches so it is important to place the micrometer as precisely as possible.
  • Next, mark the shaft gauge or sleeves. This is a small number of lines that can range from 0 up to 25. This measure should match the lines on the tube shaft. 
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To illustrate, adjust the jaws to the paper to get the first measurement. This is a measurement of 0.1 inches. Then you’ll get the second by looking at which lines on the gauge fit well with the opposite lines on the shaft tube. These usually go from 0 to 11 – with 1 meaning 0.005 inches.

These lines/marks will indicate how thick the paper. Write or type these two measurements, so you don’t lose it. 

Calculate the thickness

There are two measurements. The measurement from the shaft is approximately 0.1 inches. The measurement from the gauge’s other side is then shown, which ranges between 0 and 11.

What can you do with these measurements then? Follow these steps:

  • Let’s say the first measurement ended up in the number 1 (0.1-inches). The second (gauge and shaft) gave 5 (0.005 inches). Now you will need to add them all together. This should give you an overall thickness of 0.105 inches.
  • This would be the final thickness if you only measured one sheet. However, if you have to measure an entire stack of sheets, you must divide that number by the number. For example, 0.105 x 20 = 0.00525 a sheet.

As you can see this process takes more time and effort. But it is the most accurate out there – so we recommend it if you need the exact measure.

3. Use a Ruler to Measure the Thickness of Paper

Let’s say you don’t have a micrometer or a caliper around. A ruler would be the obvious choice. This is the simplest, but not the most accurate way to measure it. So, we recommend doing this only as long as you can’t use any of the other two tools. Here’s how to measure with a ruler:

Stack sheets

Because rulers are less accurate than both calipers and micrometers, you’ll need to stack at least 1-inch thick to get an ideal measurement. If you can get an unused ream of paper, that will make it easier – because they’re already counted and put together tightly.

Here’s how to stack up the sheets:

  • Make sure they’re all of the same type of paper. You won’t like to measure thick with thin paper, as that will give you an inaccurate result.
  • Next, count at least 100 sheets and then join them. If you’re measuring really thick paper, then you can use 50 or less. It should be at least an inch thick. The whole stack should be arranged so that not one sheet moves or bends. It should be as flat as possible.
  • Ream paper should not be disturbed if you have it. Wrapped reams: Be as careful as you can when removing the wrap. You should also know how many sheets are included in each ream.
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You can use as much paper as you wish. But remember that rulers are less accurate – so knowing the number of sheets is vital so you can calculate easily.

Measure the stack/ream

You can now measure the thickness of the stack or ream once you have it ready.

Here’s how:

  • Make sure that the stack is well-organized and firm. It can be difficult to organize newspaper sheets and other types. For that, place something heavy on the top – such as a book, or something that won’t damage the paper. This will help to secure it. You can also use your hand.
  • Move the ream/stack towards the border of a table, until one of its corners floats. To measure the thickness, use the ruler.

Depending on the paper you use, you should get a measurement of over 1 inch if you have more than 100 pages.

Calculate the thickness

With the total measurement of the stack, then you’re ready to calculate the entire thickness of each sheet.

This is pretty easy – you just need to:

  • Divide the total paper stack/ream by the number of sheets. For example, 2 inches/100 pages = 0.01 inch sheets.
  • If you measured the stack and got less than one inch, you will need to do the exact same. For example: 0.5-inches/100 sheets = 0.005-inches per sheet.

We take a deep dive into the site review inspiration Find out more about sketchbooks, paper, cardstock, and other arts-related articles.

Start measuring the thickness of paper right now!

It takes more effort and time to measure the thickness of paper than it appears. But with the right methods, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Once you are able to measure the thickness of paper, you can start any project with confidence and greater precision. So follow this guide Start measuring.

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