My apologies if I offended any kindergartners.
Anyway, paper is made of fibers that, in the case of machine-made paper, generally line up either parallel to the short or long edge of the paper. That is called the grain. If you fold paper against the grain, it will look terrible...all crinkly and weird...unless you score the paper first with a bone folder and then smooth the crease with the bone folder.
Then, it looks just fine.
If the paper is thick, even folding with the grain looks better when you've scored.
So you need a bone folder.
|Teflon folding tool, plastic folding tool,|
and a butter knife.
The best bone folders are made of Teflon and will cost you around $23. Given that you will use this tool on every single card you make, it's worth every penny.
Bone folders have two primary purposes.
1) Bone folders will SCORE paper, leaving an indentation that breaks down fibers and allows easy folding. You can score by running the bone folder over the paper using a ruler as a guide, or you can use a specially designed, grooved plastic panel such as the Scor-Pal (see picture below). Now, you don't really need a Scor-Pal (who am I kidding...of course you need one).
|This is the older version I own. |
The bone folder that comes with it is plastic and useless,
and you should throw it away. The Scor-Pal itself is fabby though.
2) Bone folders will also BURNISH paper. Burnishing smooths folded paper flat (especially important with the heavy card stock I use), and burnishing also bonds glued paper to mat board (generally only applicable for book binding). Now, here's why you need to buy a Teflon folder rather than a plastic one: plastic folders leave unsightly shiny marks on paper after burnishing.
What is a crafter to do??!? Well, you could put a piece of waxed paper over the paper and burnish through that, or you could burnish the back of the card so the shiny bits won't really show. I did both of these things for years. Or you could spare yourself the anguish and inconvenience and buy a Teflon bone folder.
And if you don't trust me, perhaps you should know that I first learned about Teflon bone folders from Her Royal Rubberness Julie Ebersole herself. Seriously, they are amazing.
Butter knives are not suitable for burnishing because the edges are too sharp.
The bottom line: For picky stampers, I highly recommend a Teflon folder and some sort of scoring board (I use the Scor-Pal, but others look basically the same). I use these two tools every single time I make a card.