Digital image correlation was used to measure the full-field deformation of paperboard and handsheet tensile specimens. The correlation technique was able to accurately measure strain in
regions 0.6 by 0.6 mm. Results showed the variation of strain to be much larger than has been previously reported. For machine-made paperboard tested in the cross-direction, the variation of strain increased throughout the tensile test and became erratic near failure, indicating many local failures. The measured strain distribution can be characterized by a Weibull function in agreement with weak-link failure theories. The analysis of a handsheet tensile specimen with a low-grammage region, approximately 4mm wide, showed large negative strains near the region’s edge.