Welcome! Today I’m starting with a series on basic tools for a paper crafter’s supply collection. The tool I’m highlighting first is a bone folder. What is a bone folder? This paper folder and creaser is one of the most basic and essential tools for cardmaking and other paper crafts. If you’re a beginner papercrafter looking to learn, or an experienced crafter frustrated with trying to get your cards to lay flat, you’ll want to keep reading!
What Is A Bone Folder?
A bone folder is tool used by crafters and bookbinders to create crisp, sharp folds in paper and other materials. Bone folders can be used with a ruler or scoring tool to create perfectly straight score lines on paper, and then used again to burnish the paper for a sharp crease. This tool is long, narrow and flattened with rounded edges for a comfortable grip and no marks left on your paper.
Now that you know what this tool is, let’s talk about how to use one.
How To Use A Bone Folder
First let’s talk about how to create your score line and second we will discuss creasing the paper.
Creating a Score Line
There’s an assortment of tool options that can be used with the bone folder to score a straight line. Take a look at three common options below.
A ruler can be used to create nice, straight score lines. One benefit – you probably already have a ruler in your home!
A paper trimmer can also be paired with a bone folder to create a score line. If you’re doing much paper crafting, you’ll definitely want to have a good trimmer in your collection, and it can be used for scoring paper as well. For this option, you’ll want to line up the score mark over the cutting track groove.
*Side note – when using the Stampin Up trimmer, you don’t need to use a bone folder to score paper, because it has a scoring blade included. I love this feature!
My favorite tool for scoring paper is this Simply Scored scoring board. It comes with a stylus for scoring paper, but I find that a bone folder is more precise.
I love to use my scoring board especially when making 3D projects that require multiple folds.
Next let’s talk about a few tips for how to score paper.
How To Score Paper
Scoring paper isn’t a hard task. By using one of the tools named above, you’ll be able to create a nice straight score line.
Step 1 – Choose A Coordinating Tool
First get a ruler, trimmer, or scoring board to use with the bone folder.
Step 2 – Line Up Paper
Next, line up your paper with the tool so that your score line will be in the appropriate location. For creating standard A2 sized cards, which are exactly 1/2 a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock, your score line will need to be at 4 1/4″ as shown below.
Step 3 – Score It!
Place the bone folder against the paper in the appropriate groove or along side the ruler at the very top. Press down with moderate pressure and slowly move the bone folder downwards to the bottom of the paper. Be sure not to press too hard or you could tear through the paper.
After you do this a few times, you will get comfortable with the pressure and speed. You’ll be scoring paper like crazy in no time!
The last, and very important step is to crease the paper. Let’s talk about it!
How To Crease Paper
Once scored, fold on the score line and create a crisp crease. Fold the card in half gently, then run the flat part of the bone folder along the edge, with the rest of the straight edge over top of the card. This process is called ‘burnishing.’
Optional – I have found I get a slightly nicer fold if I flip the cardstock over after scoring it, and prior to folding it, so that the score line ‘bump’ is facing upward. I will also mention it doesn’t make a big enough difference that I make sure to do this every time. Just a note if you want to play around with it yourself!
One last note before we go – what if you need a great sharp crease and you don’t have this handy tool on hand. No worries!
Substitutes For A Bone Folder
If you haven’t purchased a paper bone folder yet, or are waiting for one to arrive in the mail, here are a few substitutes you can use until you get one.
- finger nail
- stamping block
- ink pad
Pretty much anything with a nice flat edge can work as a substitute for a bone folder until you get one.
Let me know what you think of this tool and my tips in the comment section below. While you’re there, list some of your favorite tools for papercrafting. Maybe I can highlight some of them soon!
Order A Bone Folder & Start Crafting Today!
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Thanks for joining me today as we answered the question, “What is a bone folder?!”