How To Papercraft - Cutting, Scoring and Folding

If you are learning how to papercraft, the basic techniques - cutting, scoring and folding, are probably the first you will need to acquire.

You can start to papercraft with just the essential supplies of paper, card, pencil, ruler and scissors. With these tools you can measure and mark your card lightly with pencil and then cut out your card and shapes with scissors.

However as you progress with your hobby you will find the following equipment useful: a craft knife, a cutting mat, a metal or metal edged ruler and a bone folder.

A bone folder can be substituted with the rounded edge of a knife for scoring and the back of a spoon to define a fold.

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You can use a plastic or glass cutting mat. A glass mat doesn't get cuts in its surface and it is useful for doing other techniques on, such as blending inks. Though for cutting I prefer the grip that a plastic mat provides. 


I cut my card and paper by placing it on the cutting mat and use the measuring guidelines on the mat to cut my card to size. If you prefer you can measure with a ruler and lightly mark your cutting lines with a pencil.

Hold your ruler firmly on the card on the cutting mat and cut along the edge of the ruler with a craft knife.

A steel edged ruler is much better than a plastic one for this as the plastic edge will eventually get damaged by the blade.

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Scoring and Folding

When you want to fold a piece of plain thin card this can be done easily by matching the edges and corners of the card to be folded and making the crease with your fingers. However when you use thicker card or card that has a surface coating, it is better to score and then fold the card to prevent creasing and cracks on the fold.

Place your card on a solid surface. Lightly mark in pencil where you want to fold or use the cutting mat guidelines. 

 Hold your ruler firmly just a tiny bit to the side of the fold line (which side will depend on whether you are right or left-handed), so that when you score the line it will be on the fold line. Use your bone folder or other scoring tool and press into the card, then move the tool steadily and firmly along the ruler. Then fold over the card and use your fingers to make the crease

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You can give the fold a really defined look by using your bone folder to rub along the crease.

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As you learn how to papercraft you will find that a piece of equipment that makes scoring much easier is a scoring board. There are many types available, but for scoring they all have grooves in the surface which you place your card on and then use a bone folder or other tool to score the line.

When you are following instructions for a papercraft project you might come across the terms mountain or valley fold. In a mountain fold the paper sticks up with the fold at the top and in a valley fold the paper dips inwards with the fold at the bottom.

When you have mastered these first steps in how to papercraft you might like to go on and try some of the other techniques.

Cutting, Scoring and Folding > Techniques  > The PaperCraft Room