If you have ever tried folding a thin piece of cardboard, such as a cereal box, you are familiar with the fact that heavyweight card stocks have to be scored before folding to avoid cracking along the fold. Scoring, or making a crease in the stock before folding also makes folding much easier, more accurate, and overall, gives your design a crisp, clean, professional look.
How exactly do you go about scoring your own card stock, you ask? There are many tools for card making & paper crafts, from basic to advanced, all of which we have reviewed below. Read about them all, then decide which tool is best for you and your paper crafting needs!
1. A Butter Knife. Yes We’re Serious.
All you need to score paper is a thin tool with a smooth surface that can provide enough pressure to make a crease. As silly as it may sound, a butter knife fits this criteria (just steer clear of the serrated edge).
How It Works
To get a crisp, clean, straight score using a butter knife, you will have to use a ruler or other straight edge. Simply place the ruler on the paper where you want the score and the smooth edge of the knife alongside, pressing firmly as you go. You may want to repeat this once or twice, just to make sure the crease is defined.
- You already have one available – no need to purchase anything
- Simple, handy
- When used correctly, metal surface creates really crisp score
- No built in measurement
- Can’t use it without accompanying straight edge
- If the straight edge is crooked, so is your fold
- You may snag your paper with the serrated edge
- People might look at you funny
Summary – It Does the Trick in a Pinch. Nothing Wrong with That!
The butter knife may not be the most professional or accepted scoring tool out there, but it does the trick! When used with a straight edge (that remains straight), the non-serrated edge of a butter knife provides crisp, clean, scores. If you have a few sheets of card stock to quickly score, head into your kitchen and grab your trusty butter knife. When your done, make some toast.
2. Bone Folder
Also paired with a straight edge, a bone folder works the same way a butter knife would, but is more socially accepted in the craft world. Some bone folders are actually made of bone, though many are smooth, hard plastic – no serrated edges on these guys to worry about.
- Easy, simple design
- Compact, handy
- No serrated edge to worry about
- When used right, creates crisp, clean scores
- No built in measurement
- Must be used with a straight edge, that must remain straight
Simple, Affordable, Handy, and Great for a Quick Score or Two
A bone folder’s sole purpose is to score paper, and that it does well. If you’re scoring just a few cards, a bone folder is a perfect little tool. Just make sure you hold that ruler straight.
3. A Scoring Board (We Like the Scor-Pal)
Scoring boards, like the Scor-Pal, typically come with a bone folder, and make scoring much more convenient. They come with built in measurement and a series of grooves to guide a bone folder through, making scoring faster and much more convenient.
How it Works
Place your paper up against one of the straight edges of the board and use the built in measurement to figure out where you will score the sheet. Place a straight edge parallel to the score line/groove in the board below, and guide your bone folder along the paper. Since the paper will be pressed into the groove below, you will not have to press very hard, and will not have to go over the score multiple times.
- Built in measurement
- Built in straight edges – don’t worry about keeping your paper straight!
- Grooves and measurement make scores smooth, straight, and accurate
- Much more convenient and faster than a bone folder and ruler alone
- Typically comes with bone folder. Score (no pun intended).
- Still have to use a separate straight edge to make sure scores are straight
If You’re Scoring a Lot of Paper, Do Yourself a Favor, Get a Board.
With built in measurement, grooves, and straight edges to align your paper to, scoring boards make scoring paper much faster, easier, and overall, more convenient. If you plan to score a lot of paper, do yourself a favor and invest in a scoring board.
4. A Rotary Trimmer with a Scoring Blade
Oh the handy rotary strikes again. Great as a paper cutting tool, just take out the cutting blade, pop in a scoring blade, and bam, you have an awesome scoring tool!
How it Works
Rotary trimmers, or rotary scorers, in this case, feature a circular blade that is guided along a track. They have built in measurement and swing out arms to align the paper to, making it easy to achieve straight, accurate scores. To use it, just place the paper beneath the track in the desired location and roll the blade along – so easy!
- Built in measurement and straight edges – no rulers required!
- Easy, quick, and convenient to get straight, crisp scores
- You may forget to change the blade and cut your paper instead of scoring it (a stretch,but we had to say something negative)
For Lots of Scores, This is Our Favorite (Not to Influence Your Decision)
Rotary scorers have built in measurement, straight edges, and a scoring tool that is guided along a track for straight, accurate scores every time. No muss, no fuss, no rulers. If you are hand scoring lots of paper, rotaries are great, simply put.