One of the things that often gets overlooked by beginning card makers is the card fold.
Why The Card Fold Matters
A clean, crisp fold on your handmade cards will make them look more professional. It will also help them stand up straight when displayed.
A sloppy fold can result in a crooked card edge, cracked cardstock, and a lopsided card. Which is the last thing you want after spending all that time making your beautiful card!
Materials Needed For Creating a Crisp Card Fold
The materials you are going to need to create your crisp card fold are as follows:
- Paper Cutter – for cutting your note cards
- Scoring Blade for your paper cutter
- Bone Folder
How To Create A Crisp Card Fold
In order to make it easy to follow along, I’ve taken a series of photos to demonstrate each step.
1. Use A Quality Paper Cutter
A crisp fold starts with a properly cut piece of cardstock. And a properly cut piece of cardstock requires a quality paper cutter.
After trying many different paper cutters, in a variety of different price ranges, my paper cutter of choice is Stampin’ Up!’s paper trimmer. There are several features that I really love about it.
First off, it has a good size cutting base. As you can see from the picture in step 3, it has plenty of room to accommodate my cardstock (cardstock is in portrait orientation).
The other thing I really like is that the plastic guide locks in place. That keeps my guide from moving or shifting out of place when I am cutting.
Finally, the narrow channel that the blade slides along also keeps the blade from straying off course as I am cutting.
Along with a quality paper cutter, it’s important to make sure that your blade is sharp. A dull blade will cause feathering along the edges. A super dull blade can even pull at and tear your paper.
One last thing I want to mention about the picture above is that there are two “blades.” The top blade (darker color) is the cutting blade. The bottom blade is not a “blade” at all, as it won’t cut the paper. It’s actually what’s called a “scoring blade.” And I’ll talk more about the scoring blade in step 4.
2. Choose a Quality Cardstock
Not all cardstock is created equal. Yes, you can buy cardstock at your local dollar store or your local big box stores, but it’s usually fairly flimsy.
At the very least you want to make sure you look for a cardstock that is 80 lb weight. Ideally, though, I recommend you look for a cardstock that is 100 lb weight.
My go-to cardstock for my note cards (you’ll also hear me refer to them as my card base), is Stampin’ Up!’s Thick cardstock. It comes in two colors – Whisper White and Very Vanilla.
The other thing I like about this cardstock is that it folds beautifully. Oftentimes when people talk about cardstock you’ll hear them refer to the “grain” of the paper. And they’ll tell you that you’ll get a much better fold if you fold along the grain of the paper. With Stampin’ Up!’s Whisper White cardstock – the grain doesn’t matter. It folds beautifully in either direction.
3. Cut Your Cardstock
How you cut your cardstock is going to depend on what type of fold you want for your card. In the picture above I have an 8 ½” x 11″ piece of Stampin’ Up!’s Whisper White Thick cardstock. I want to create a top fold portrait card so I am aligning the 8 ½” edge with the top of my paper cutter. I have aligned the left edge of my cardstock at the 4 ¼” marking on the paper cutter’s ruler.
As you can see my plastic guide is down and locked in place. My left hand is ensuring that my cardstock doesn’t shift as I cut it. To cut my cardstock I simply slide my blade along the channel in my plastic guide. When cutting I like to start at the bottom of my cardstock piece and slide my blade upwards. This will also help keep your cardstock from sliding or shifting as you cut it.
For every sheet of letter (or A4)cardstock you cut, you will end up with two pieces. Allowing you to create two note cards (or card bases).
The dimension of my pieces are 4 ¼” x 11.”
Step 4. Score Your Cardstock
So now we come to the secret of a crisp fold. And that is making sure that you score your cardstock before you fold it.
A score is a depression in your paper that makes it easy to fold your cardstock. When I talk about scoring your cardstock, it is referring to the act of creating a score in your paper. There are several ways that you can create a score.
The fastest and easiest is to use the scoring blade that comes with your paper cutter.
As I mentioned in step 1, the scoring blade does not actually cut. It has a rounded edge, and when you slide it along your cardstock piece, it creates a depression or channel in your cardstock.
In the picture above, I have aligned my 4 ¼” x 11″ piece of cardstock along the top edge of my paper cutter. The left edge of my cardstock piece is aligned at 5 ½.” In order to create my score, I am running the scoring blade back and forth several times across my cardstock piece, making sure to apply medium pressure.
This is what the score line will look like from the “right side” of your cardstock (the side facing upwards on your paper cutter).
See the depression (aka channel or groove) along your cardstock?
Now if you flip your cardstock piece over, this is what the reverse side looks like:
Notice how it’s raised? The raised side should always appear on the outside of your card.
Step 5. Fold Your Card
Even though you’ve created your score on your card, you can’t just grab your cardstock and fold along the score line. There are actually a few more steps involved.
Before you actually press down on or apply pressure to the fold, the first thing you want to do is to make sure the ends and edges of your cardstock are perfectly aligned.
Once the ends and edges are aligned, I run the edge of my bone folder along the fold. As I do this, I am making sure I apply enough pressure to really flatten that fold.
What If You Don’t Have a Scoring Blade?
There are a few other ways that you can score your cardstock if you don’t have a scoring blade.
The first way is to use your bone folder and a ruler. Simply align your ruler at the half-way mark of your cardstock piece and then run the pointed tip of your bone folder along the edge of the ruler. Make sure though that you apply enough pressure to indent the cardstock.
The second way to score your cardstock is with a scoring board, shown in the picture below.
A scoring board is a board that has indented lines at different increments. There are a number of different companies that make scoring boards and they come in different sizes.
The one that you see above is called Stampin’ Up!’s Simply Scored Scoring Tool. It is 15″ x 13 ¼” x 1″ with a platform size that accommodates 12″ x 12″ paper. The score lines are at 1/8″ increments. Most scoring tools come with some type of stylus (as shown above). If yours does not, simply use the tip of your bone folder.
There you have it friends.
Follow the steps outlined above and your cards will always have a professional, crisp, clean fold.