How to Score Vellum Paper

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2 Vellum Weights, 3 Scoring Methods – Which is Best for Crisp, Clean Folds

For arts, crafts, stationery and more, sheer, delicate vellum has a million and one uses – many of which require a crisp, clean fold be created in the sheets. What’s the best way of doing this, you ask? Truthfully, we didn’t know either, so we tested some things out. Our results (which are kind of surprising) are below.

The Vellum Papers Tested

  • Lightweight (30lb Translucent) – Light, thin, flexible (similar to a 70lb text weight)
  • Heavyweight (48lb Translucent) – Thicker, heavier (similar to a 65lb cover weight)

The Scoring/Folding Methods

  • Folding by Hand
  • Scoring with an Industrial Scoring Machine
  • Scoring by Hand with a Bone Folder

Folded by Hand – Great for Lightweight Vellum

Below, we folded vellum in half by hand – lined up the edges, pressed along the fold, you know the drill. Left is the lightweight vellum, right is the heavyweight vellum. Here’s what we found:

  • Lightweight vellum – Hand folding worked great! We had no trouble achieving a crisp, clean fold on these light and flexible sheets.
  • Heavyweight vellum – Not so hot. Much like folding card stock by hand, folding this heavy vellum by hand gave us a fold with lots of cracking and a sloppy appearance overall.

Lightweight and heavyweight vellum folded by hand

Scored by Machine (or Not)

Attempting to score vellum with our industrial scoring machine didn’t go over so well (or at all). Likely due to the translucency of vellum paper, the machine seemed to be unable to detect either sheet and spit them out unscored time and again. Onto the next test!

Note that other industrial or automated scoring machines may work with translucent vellum.

  • Lightweight vellum – No go.
  • Heavyweight vellum – No dice here either.

Lightweight and heavyweight vellum unscored. Scoring machine unable to detect translucent vellum paper

Scored by Hand with Bone Folder – Great for Heavyweight!

Finally, we scored each sheet of vellum with a bone folder prior to folding. The results were great.

  • Lightweight vellum – Using a bone folder tool to score vellum (lightly) created a crease for easy, accurate folding. However, keep in mind that you can get a clean fold even without the use of a bone folder on light vellum.
  • Heavyweight vellum – Scoring heavy vellum prior to folding resulted in a much cleaner fold than folding by hand did, eliminating much of the cracking along the fold.

Lightweight and heavyweight vellum folded by hand

The Conclusion: Light, Go for It. Heavy, Hand Score It.

Our testing reveals that lightweight vellum can be cleanly folded by hand. If you would like to lightly score lightweight vellum prior to folding for ease and accuracy, it certainly won’t do any harm, but we do not feel it is necessary.

When it comes to thicker, heavyweight vellum, we recommend scoring before folding with a handheld scoring device to eliminate cracking along the fold.

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