Scoring paper?

I really enjoy this forum.I’m learning so much!


I am also interested in this for the purposes of printing on paper via engraving, for example, not just cutting out a playing card, but engraving the image and text as well. Based on what I see here, as long as I get the settings correct, it should be possible.

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@chadmart1076, you get the prize for resurrecting a classic thread on Throwback Thursday. I have been doing the same. So much stuff I forgot I knew! We can’t just rely on @rpegg to quote all the posts, although he is so good and patient👍🏽


There was some discussion of cutting stacks of paper in this thread, as well.


I also do dashed lines for scoring paper. I know this thread is older, but thought it worthwhile to mention that the type of dashed lines makes a big difference. A lot of close, small dashes will sort of work like perforated paper, and might have a tendency to tear. It looks pretty, though. This is also a good option is you need a fold line that will hinge both ways, if that makes sense. Once this is folded, it doesn’t necessarily hold the fold, and will move easily. If you want movement, that’s a good thing. If you want structure, maybe not so much. Widely spaced long dashes is very sturdy, but the paper can sort of pucker at the cuts. That’s not a good description, but I’ve found this doesn’t make for a very pretty fold. It is easy to fold, however, and pretty resilient. I think it would be good for something that needs to stand up to some abuse, though, like maybe a project for a child. Small and widely spaced dashes makes for a pretty fold, and is sturdy, but can sometimes be a bit harder to fold as the scored line isn’t as obvious; if you aren’t careful, you might not fold perfectly along this line. Closely spaced long dashes is weak and not very appealing. I mean, it’s practically a cut line. But if you wanted something to hold together until you neatly tear it with ease, this is a good option.


Bookmarked! That’s some great advice.

Thank you, @erin! That’s super helpful.

I have been messing around with cutting dashed lines and it seems that in one direction it tears much more readily that the other.
My wife, the paper nerd, tells me that paper has a distinct grain, and that it folds best when the fold goes with it. Maybe you can comment from experience?

Im not sure if it applies to all paper, like handmade paper or modern vellum, but the manufacturing process makes almost all the paper fibers lay in the same direction, so it ends up with a grain like wood. Or fabric? Paper obviously tears easily in all directions, but tears more neatly if you tear with the grain than against. I think some wood might be similar, where it splinters more when cut against the grain?

Here’s a photo of just cheap computer paper. I didn’t fold or score either piece ( just tore it over the edge of my desk to keep it straight). The top piece is torn with the grain and the bottom piece is against the grain.

With folding, I’m a little shakier on the specifics. I think you’re supposed to fold with the grain to get a stronger cleaner fold. If you fold against the grain, it’s supposedly weaker, and you will sometimes tear things up when you score it (by which I mean score it with a bone folder or your finger nail or something).

I’m sure there are practical applications for this with cutting dashed lines, but I’ve never really paid close enough attention to when folds tear - I think I just always assumed I’ve fiddled with them too much. If you want to run some experiments, 8.5 by 11 paper is usually long grain. If you fold the paper parallel to the long side, you’ll fold with the grain. If you fold it like a card, you’ll fold against the grain. The Internet is telling me that the last paper dimension notes the grain (so, on 12 x 9 paper it would be the short side, I guess), but I’m not sure I’d bet my life on that.


Grain in paper depends a lot on the type of paper and how it was made.
Yes, mass produced paper tends to have a preferred direction (and short fibers).

The opposite example is Tyvek (ok, not quite a paper but everyone has seen it) or Unryu (mulberry) papers with very long fibers – with both, tearing will always give a rough/deckled edge.

Short fiber handmade paper will tear roughly, but with a very different sort of edge and no preferred direction.


yep - just try tearing a newspaper coupon or article out. One direction it’s like cutting butter with a hot knife - the other direction like being extremely drunk and cutting butter with another stick of butter.


I was reading this and wondered if anyone had tried and had recommendations on the dashed line concept? I’m making an advent calendar and want to cut a tiny half moon for a pull spot and continue it around 3 sides of the ‘door’ so you can pull the door open and not tear up the rest of the page. Its a secret squirrel project so I don’t actually want to ask hubby who’s the guy who’s been doing all the work on it. I was thinking of printing a nice colour pic on some heavier grade paper and rubber cementing it to the front edge of the mdf box I made but have the little doors in the paper that can be torn open. Then after Xmas he’ll still have the divided box for storing all his tiny warhammer bits as the rubber cement would come off the edges with a bit of rubbing. Does it sound like a concept that might work?

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Yes, there are tutorials for it now…which program are you using? We might have one for it.

I’m using adobe illustrator. Well - learning adobe illustrator.

Ah! My fav…Quickest method with AI is creating a brush for it… @likeablejerk did a writeup on how:


Hey, that’s me! I helped!


And I like that method too! (Used it for half a dozen repetitive tasks lately!) :sunglasses::+1:

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i missed this thread before, but for those looking to find out which way the grain goes on a sheet of paper, if you can find the manufacturer specs, paper is listed as “long grain” or “short grain.” “long” grain means the grain goes along the long side of the paper. short grain means it goes along the short side.

in particular, with digitally printed sheets, if you fold against the grain, you will sometimes see the toner “break” across the fold. this is especially true if you don’t have a good score. in my office, we actually use a large manual paper scoring machine before we fold sheets. a morgana docucrease 52. it will crease up to a 20" (shortest side) sheet of paper. we use folded covers (as opposed to laminating) and do a lot of short-run saddle stitch using this machine.

here’s a good article about what paper grain means.