Cardmaking 101 - Scoring

Scoring is defined as marking with lines, grooves or notches. When I first started cardmaking, I found it very difficult to fold my card bases without scoring the paper first. Scoring makes it easier to fold cardstock because it breaks the fibers in the paper and makes them easier to bend.

Scoring can also be used as a subtle embellishment on a clean and simple card. Notice on this card how the scored lines frame the stamped image and provide a perfect way to center the brads. On this card I made score marks 1/4" and 1/2" from the edge of the top panel on all four sides.

There are several kinds of scoring boards and tools available, but it's not necessary to buy fancy equipment to score your paper.

Scoring "blades" are available for most paper cutters. See how the black insert has only a notch for making the score mark while the orange insert has a blade for cutting the paper.
Even this type of scoring tool is not necessary. In fact, the sample cards in this tutorial were made by using a bone folder on my paper cutter.

Just place the paper so that the groove in the paper cutter is where you want your line, then press down with the tip of your bone folder to create the groove. If you don't have a bone folder you can use any number of other things. I have used popsicle sticks, ball point pen caps, the end of a large paper clip, and the back (dull) edge of a butter knife.

(Reminder, it's not too early to start making holiday cards! Keep in mind the Half & Half Card Challenge now through Aug 14!)

Repeated score marks (these are 1/8" apart) can be used as background embossing. Try this if you don't have an embossing tool like a Cuttlebug or Big Shot.

What ideas do you have for using scoring as an embellishment? Many of you have asked that we add a Mr. Linky to our tutorials so everyone can share their pictures when trying new techniques. Please share your pictures with us. And, as always, if you have suggestions for future tutorials, or if you would like to present a tutorial yourself, please contact me at

Sharanda  – (July 6, 2010 at 5:29 AM)  

OMGosh...You really do learn something new every day!! I have learned sooo much since I started making cards, and this piece of information you have shared will happily be crammed inside my! I never even thought about using scoring as decoration. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm going to link back to this post on my blog!!

Beth  – (July 6, 2010 at 11:26 AM)  

I love this technique. Never thought of using it as added interest in a creation or design. Thank you so much for sharing!

Sherry Hickey  – (July 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM)  

I really like the scoring look and appreciated this tutorial!

Unknown  – (July 6, 2010 at 6:27 PM)  

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Your cards are awesome!

Eileen  – (July 6, 2010 at 8:31 PM)  

This is a timely post, I just used scoring in some cards I made for OWH yesterday.

Erika  – (July 6, 2010 at 9:18 PM)  

Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

Ms  – (July 6, 2010 at 9:26 PM)  

awesome tutorial.... I forget about scoring part of the background. loved the cards you showed too. Thanks for sharing your creativity...

Jackie  – (July 7, 2010 at 7:43 AM)  

I have too many scoring devices and never think to use them for decorating a card. These are such great ideas - maybe I can remember to try some of these now.

Unknown  – (July 10, 2010 at 8:00 PM)  

Thanks for this tutorial. I didn't really embellish a card with scoring but I did mark off a grid for my 1" stamps. Finally I was able to line them up nicely for a "quilted" card front.

Dolores A.  – (July 11, 2010 at 1:46 PM)  

Thank you for this tutorial... it's wonderful to be learning so much here. Interesting idea to use it as an embellishment and I'm sure everyone will come up with a lot of ideas from this.

Kajikit  – (July 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM)  

Hint for people using a bone folder - the pointy end of my bone folder was sliding all over the place and not staying in the groove of my paper cutter - the ROUND end works perfectly. Also, to make a raised line on the front of your card, you need to score the BACK.

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