Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's the Score? Or Folding Note Cards

By MaryAnn Cleary

When making note cards, a touch that will add a professional look to the final card is a process called “scoring”. Professional card suppliers in the industry actually have a machine that does this. So, how does the small business person or hobbyist add this look of professionalism, especially when using a heavy card stock?

First: Grain direction

It is important to know the grain of the paper or card stock. The grain is the main direction that the fibers run on the sheet. This has to do with how the paper was manufactured. Typically, it is made into a long roll and the grain direction would run parallel with the roll. It is fairly easy to determine. Take a sheet of card stock and tear it in two directions perpendicular to one another. One way should tear more easily than the other and the edges should be smooth. This would be the grain direction. The other way should be harder tear and the edges much rougher. This would be the non-grain direction.

Paper is easier to score in the grain direction and this has to do with how the paper fibers are laying. However, either direction will work, but it is helpful to know what the fibers are doing when being creased.

Second: Scoring

The purpose of scoring is to release tension in the grain fibers so that the card can be folded easily. How is this done? There are craft tools out on the market that have been made just for this process. (e.g. Scor-It and/or Scor-Pal). However, I have found that my paper cutter or mat cutter can be improvised to work just as well. The most important thing is to insure that the score line is in the right place – so measure carefully and practice on something other than a printed card.

It is best to have a hard edge to place the card stock against prior to scoring so that the card will not move or shift. I have laid tape out on my cutting board to place the card and then I can use the actual holder for the cutting mechanism to hold the card (of course not using the cutter) and some painter’s tape to tack the card in place. Some instruments that make great scoring tools are: a butter knife, the point of golf tee, or an empty ball point pen. Or, of course, you can go purchase the actual tool for around $5.

A ruler or other straight edge is placed where the score line will occur on the card stock. Using the score tool and pressure, make a score along the line where the card fold line will be.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the score line is on the correct side. When a score is made there should be a valley in the paper. The paper is folded opposite of the valley. The score line is made on the inside of the card.

Improvising a cutting board to score cards

The score line

Once the score line has been made, it is a simple process of folding the card in the proper direction and using the back of your fingernail or a card boning tool to finalize the crease.


kat said...

I was able to get a scoring "blade" for my paper cutter which works wonderfully for these kind of projects

ArtisticEdition said...

I love my Scor-Its, I have the full size and the mini. Great article MaryAnn! :)

♥ Lindsay ♥ said...

What a nice tutorial! I just pulled some bag toppers off of my printer and was wondering the best way to fold them when I found your article. Ty!