How to Keep Your Papers From Tearing on Score Lines

Do you wonder how to keep your card stock or Designer Series Paper (DSP) from splitting when you crease it?  I got an email from cardmaker and paper crafter Marty Childers asking this question recently, and thought there are probably other stampers who struggle with the same thing.

If I’m making a 3D project or an envelope, sometimes when I’m using a Bone Folder my card stock or DSP looks like it has split.  Is there a way to keep that from happening or am I doing something wrong?  I am quite a bit OCD and it drives me crazy.  Please help.

Here’s an example of what Marty’s asking about:
ragged score line on Designer Series Paper

I did some experimenting before writing this post.  I tested three different tools with three different papers:  Designer Series Paper, Whisper White card stock (which is lighter weight than our colored card stocks), and Marina Mist card stock.

Here are the tools:  Bone Folder, Stylus, and the scoring tool from the Envelope Punch Board. 

Scoring Tools from Stampin' Up!

The examples below each have three score lines, corresponding to the tools above:  From the left side, they’re scored with the Bone Folder, Stylus, and Punch Board tool.  They were all done on the Simply Scored except where noted otherwise.  For the sake of this experiment I scored pretty deeply to exaggerate the effects a bit.

When you score, fold, and crease paper or card stock, you always run the risk of breaking down the paper fibers.  Designer Series Paper is the most fragile, as it is quite thin.  Here’s a picture of DSP that’s been scored with the different tools, then folded and creased with the Bone Folder.  If you try this experiment yourself, you’ll feel the paper fibers tearing a bit more with the stylus, and a lot more with the Punch Board tool.  The Bone Folder has a thicker tip than the other two, and is gentlest on the paper.  If you click on the image you’ll get a larger view and see the difference more easily.

Designer Series Paper scored with three different scoring tools

Next is Whisper White card stock, which is much lighter weight than our colored card stocks.  Very Vanilla is also lighter weight and performs just like Whisper White.  You can see that the stylus was most gentle in this example.

Whisper White card stock scored with three different scoring tools

I also tested Whisper White with the Envelope Punch Board, using it to score on the diagonal as if I were making an envelope.  Once again, the Bone Folder was gentlest on the paper fibers.

Whisper White card stock scored on the Envelope Punch Board

Finally, I scored some Marina Mist card stock with Simply Scored and the three scoring tools.  The scores are all fairly neat, without the raggedy edges you’ve seen in the other examples.  This confirms that the heavier card stocks are much more resistant to tearing of the paper fibers, and they can take more pressure than lighter papers and card stocks.

Marina Mist card stock scored with three different scoring tools

As I wrote this post, I realized I didn’t test the scoring blade on the Stampin’ Trimmer.  I tend not to use it, as I’m usually scoring heavy weight card stock and it scores too lightly to be effective.  But look how nicely it works on Designer Series Paper.  The score is so clean you can barely see it, and I had to fold the paper a bit to capture it in a photo.

Designer Series Paper scored with Stampin' Trimmer scoring blade

Other trimmers I’ve owned have scoring blades that aren’t such a light touch, so you’ll have to test the one you use.

I had never done this kind of comparison before, and I was surprised at some of the results!  Here are the conclusions I reached:

  1. Score very gently, especially with Designer Series Paper, Whisper White and Very Vanilla card stock. 
  2. Use a Bone Folder when scoring DSP, or the scoring blade and Stampin’ Trimmer.
  3. When making a 3D project or envelope with DSP or even card stock, I tend to crease the folds with my fingers instead of a Bone Folder.  This is gentler on the paper fibers and prevents ragged edges and tears.
  4. You can use a heavier touch with our colored card stocks.  When I make a card base, I usually use a score board and stylus because that gives me a little deeper score and a crisper fold.  However if I use too much pressure, I can end up with a fold that’s a little ragged.

For more information on papers and card stock that affect how they fold, check out this video:

I hope this post on how to keep your papers from tearing on score lines will help you create beautiful paper craft projects in your studio!

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10 Responses to How to Keep Your Papers From Tearing on Score Lines

  1. Colleen March 14, 2015 at 2:58 am #

    Very informative and interesting.
    Thank U

    • Sage March 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Colleen.

  2. Barb March 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Thank you-very helpful!

    • Sage March 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks, Barb. Glad you found it helpful!

  3. Mylissa Stout July 27, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    This was very informative….so glad you took the time to test the tools and share your findings.
    I have had this happen to me before….I was thinking my paper was really CHEAP….but now I’m
    thinking it was me! I shall have to be more careful. However….. I think I should try this test on the
    paper I used. Thank you!

    • Sage July 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

      Thanks, Mylissa. I’m glad you found this helpful, and that you’ll find the right combination for your score lines!

  4. Nancy November 6, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    Thank you for this! 🙂
    Very detailed review of the different scoring techniques and tools used.

    I personally use with the scoring “blade” my papercutter comes with.

    SInce I use 100lb 270gsm cardstock I have always had tearing on the score.

    However, I found if you score the line TWICE right next to the other, giving you a wider score line, you will get a nice clean score with no tearing.
    Hope this is useful to your readers!

    • Sage November 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Nancy. The Designer Series Paper I showed is very light weight. I’ll have to try your technique and see if it helps!

  5. Laura August 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    I know this is an older post, but it’s still so helpful – thank you so much! I bought an envelope score board, and I’ve had so much grief with paper tearing. Now I know to be more gentle, or to invest in some different tools!

    • Sage August 17, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, I always appreciate hearing from followers, even on older posts. I hope your papers won’t tear so much after seeing these tips.

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