This week we’re going to look at another tool you can use to make your life easier and add a little oomph to your projects – scoring boards. Scoring boards are essentially plastic platforms with grooves in them that allow you to score your paper at pretty much any interval you want in order to fold paper a little easier. The two most popular are by Martha Stewart Crafts and Scor-Pal:
Michelle carries both at the store; I’ve worked with both and personally prefer the Scor-Pal because the markings are easier for me to see quickly while I’m working. Others prefer the Martha Stewart Crafts board because virtually any measurement is available; they both preform equally well, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.
The first thing you might be wondering is why you even want to score. Scoring paper before attempting to fold it stretches and breaks down some of the paper fibers. This makes folding easier and more accurate, for one thing. Secondly, there are some papers with coatings or inner cores that are different colors than the surface color. Stretching those fibers before you attempt a hard fold gives you a better chance of folding the paper without revealing the inner core. So scoring is definitely the way to go on those types of papers.
There are also a lot of templates out there in the world that allow you to create beautiful projects with scoring boards, so they’re much more useful than just allowing you to fold a card in half.
However, since this is a “basics” column, today I’m going to illustrate a very simple technique you can use on your cards to add some oomph. Today’s card uses the following products:
I chose the Tim Holtz Distress Collection cardstock on purpose; if you notice, the bottom tear strip is a slightly lighter blue than what you see. This kind of cardstock has a paper coating that covers a core of a different color – perfect for today’s tutorial. You can also see that I was interested in several of the Making Waves patterned papers; ultimately I only used one of them, but you can see they have some really cute papers in that stack!
First, I knew I wanted a card that opened from the bottom, so I cut my 12×12 cardstock to 4 1/4 x 11. To make a card, you would fold the 11″ length in half at 5 1/2 inches. This is how you would set it up on your scoring board:
Now I hold the paper, insert the scoring tool into the groove at 5 1/2″, and push the tool down through the paper. You can go gently the first time and then push harder the second time; just make sure you’re holding onto your paper so that it doesn’t move. If you’re comfortable looking at the numbers upside down, it’s probably better to hold the board that way and pull your tool towards you rather than pushing away; that way there’s less chance the paper will move.
Once you score the first side, turn the paper over and score in the same spot on the other side. This breaks down even more of those pesky fibers and allows you to create a clean, crisp fold:
This particular card has the mariner theme; I thought it would fun to add a little dock planking to my background. For this step, it’s important to place the card with the INSIDE facing up… we want our scored lines to raise up on the front of the card. Place your paper on your board with the inside facing up like this:
Now add random vertical lines on the card. I chose to only score the front, so I only scored half. You could do the back if you wanted to as well; it would make the over all card a little less stable, but not enough to be concerned about.
Now, when you turn your card over you’re going to have some beautiful raised lines:
They look pretty cool as they are – but if you want to step it up a notch, sand them! Use a sanding tool or light grit sand paper to lightly take the top coating off of your raised lines, revealing the inner core of the paper:
When you’re done you’ll have a beautifully distressed card front:
For the card, I stamped one of the Mariner stamps onto watercolor paper using Archival Ink. I chose watercolor paper because I wanted to use the Tim Holtz Distress Markers to color and watercolor paper offers superior blending; I used Archival ink because it’s a nice dark black ink that doesn’t react to water, so I knew it wouldn’t smear.
When you tear, pull the tear towards you rather than away; this allows the different layers of pressed paper to show
I tore a bit of the bottom off to add a little distressing to the paper; next, I colored with the Distress markers:
If you think a color will be too dark, you can color your craft sheet with the marker, then pick the color up with a brush and add it to your image:
Once the edges were colored, I put a little Stormy Sky Distress Ink (the ink pad) down on my craft sheet, then used a blending tool to pull the color from my craft pad onto the edges of the watercolor paper:
I used the Fancy Pants papers to mat my stamped image, added my sentiment and voila! Almost completed card:
But wait! Where are those lines we painstakingly added to the front? I wanted to give you an idea of the difference adding the lines makes… now HERE’s the completed card complete with our dock plank scored lines:
Pretty, yes? Sometimes it really can be a small thing that makes a big difference in your completed project, so don’t forget some of those basic techniques!