How to fold paper?

I am trying to make cards.
I thought it is easy to fold if I use bone folder, but the paper break when I bend the paper.

I am wondering if somebody have good idea to hold the paper.

I am using Lettra Cotton paper #110, and Strathmore Bright White 110LB.

Thank you so much for your help!

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Folding paper can be made easier by scoring it first with your bone folder and a ruler. Score with the tip of you bone folder, using the ruler as a straight edge.

Make sure you’re scoring it with the grain, not against.

Look into scoring matrix. You can order it from NA Graphics. It’s really easy to set-up on a pilot (or any press) and it will fold paper beautifully and professionally.

What Widmark is referring to is that the scoring matrix will put in a wonderfully developed score that will make your folding look really good.

Though I wouldn’t mind having matrix that would fold stock for me….

Thank you so much!

I think most of cards score front.
When I score with bone folder, should I score front and flip the paper, put the scale on the other side and score?

Or should I score back and change to scale and bend straight?

I did both way, but so far the paper still break.
(Lettra and Storathmore wove 110lb)
I used bone folder, butter knife, spoon…etc.
I will practice again.

I am going to get the scoring matrix from NA graphics as well.

Thank you for your help!

With reference to Jonsel’s post above, the grain direction is important when folding paper. Do you know how to tell which way the grain runs in a sheet of paper? I won’t bother to go over it if you already know, but if you don’t know I can explain 4 ways to determine it, in addition to looking on the package, where it usually is specified.

Not sure what the original poster knows or doesn’t know, but I only know one way and would love to learn three more, so please do.

Thank you, Geoffrey!
I don’t know how to find the grain direction.
Will you explain the 4 ways?

I use Lettra and Strathmore paper right now.
Can I fund the direction for both of them?

If you are buying parent (uncut) sheets the paper will be identified as Long or Short Grain. Long grain means the grain of the paper runs along the longest measurement of the sheet, and short grain along the shortest measure. Usually a carton of paper will have the grain measure underlined. It makes a big difference to have the right grain for running on a cylinder press so that the grain runs the length of the cylinder and ‘lays down’ as it goes around the cylinder. It matters less on a platen press, but matters quite a bit for the finished product. To tell the grain on a single sheet of paper, you can: 1. Dampen the sheet slightly, it will curl along the length of the grain. Sometimes you can accomplish this with a few hot breaths on the paper depending on the thickness. 2. Gently roll the sheet in each direction. If you roll the sheet along the grain it will feel flexible and supple. Against the grain it will feel stiff and springy. 3. If you try to fold the sheet without scoring, (and a folded sheet of any thickness should be scored), folding along the grain should have a smooth, unbroken edge, whereas if it is folded against the grain the edge of the sheet will look broken and flaky, and will be difficult to fold accurately. I recently purchased a lovely little pamphlet printed on a nice mould-made paper that was folded against the grain. The pages turned flat, like plywood boards, instead of rolling over like one is accustomed to in printed books. It was a disappointment in what otherwise was a lovely production.


I have one of those crafty rotary paper cutters (12x12”). You can get it at a craft store for $50 or so (then use a 40% off coupon). What I do is put the paper in and using the blade I lightly cut the paper, so it just kisses the paper and scores the top of it. Then it folds SO easy!! If you are making a2 cards, score the full sheet at 4.25” and then cut in half, so you only have to score one time per two sheets. :)

We do all scoring on the press using Channel Creasing Matrix. Sometimes it is frustrating to set up the press for just a few cards, but it is worthwhile for consistency.

For 110# Lettra, we use #67 Violet. For 110# Strathmore we use #60 Yellow.

I was using the Yellow on the Lettra but I like the big fat score of the Violet now.

I used one of these once, and it was actually pretty good:

Thank you for the all information and suggestions!

I need to get a paper cutter as well, so I am going to try the method too. :)

I also contacted to NA graph and ordered the Creasing Matrix. They told me that I should get Creasing Matrix Mauve for Lettra paper.

Thank you for the many good advice!

Paul of Devil’s Tail Press (above) told you 3 of the 4 methods. For Paul’s method #2, I have a slightly different variation. I cut two 1” (2.5 cm) strips from a sheet, cutting one strip from the paper at right angles to the way I cut the other strip. Place the strips side-by-side on a flat surface like a table. Then slowly push the strips off the edge of the table. One strip will bend down more than the other strip. The strip which bends the least is the grain direction, because paper is stiffer in the grain direction.

The fourth method is to grab the paper in both hands and tear it. Then tear it again, but this time tear it at right angles to the way you tore it the first time. One of the tears should be slightly more straight and even than the other. Paper will usually tear more straight and even in the grain direction.

There is one other point about scoring and folding which I don’t think we have mentioned in this thread. Often (and probably most of the time), paper and paperboard is folded opposite to the way it is scored. In other words, if you score a sheet, causing it to rise up in a “V” shape, you should not close the “V” to make the fold, but you should fold the “V” back on itself to make the fold. This will cause less stress and pull on the paper fibers, and cause the excess paper material to be on the inside of the fold.

If you want to see scores and folds made this way, take just about any folding carton from your house such as a cookie or cracker box. Take it apart and open it out flat. You can see all the scores on the OUTSIDE of the carton, opposite to the way it was folded. On the INSIDE of the carton behind the scores, you can see the bulges of pushed up material.

I’m sure a lot of us print on paper which is as heavy as, or heavier than, the paperboard which is used for folding cartons, so this method should be applicable to us as well.

You are correct in most part you always crease for instance a cover of a booklet from the outer face and just about any other product as you say. the reason in real terms stress is less as you said but if you look at it mathematically it makes perfect sense . When you fold a sheet of x in half the material has to bend through 180 degrees , if you crease it you are in real terms now only going to bend the material through 90 degrees , the fold will look as you describe like three sides of a square in profile.
also he adds quickly it adds greater rigidity in the case of a greeting card etc AND YOU CAN IGNORE GRAIN DIRECTION , this being a american site means that adding this bit wont be thought to be a sneak ad . Peter Luckhurst Cutting and Creasing Services.

We old style letterpress men would crease and print in the same pass as long as the print was on one side of the rule only , using below type high rule and a matrix on the tympan , the same with perforating but yo could print all over sheet as you did not get the pull created by the crease. the same for perforating and numbering in one pass , this is why the modern approach of heavy impression is so irksome to many of us just enough pressure folk .

Thank you so much for sharing the all information!

In the first of my 2 posts from 23 Nov which is above, I want to clarify one thing which wasn’t too clear in my post. Regarding cutting the strips of paper, I cut the strips 1” (2.5 cm) WIDE by at least 8.5” (21 cm) LONG.