You might be wondering what could be so special about a bone folder. However, we think these little tools have some serious crease-making superpowers that might surprise you!
Used to make flawless straight lines and folds, paper bone folders are at the heart of any successful, clean-cut papercraft project, whether origami, scrapbooking, bookbinding, cardmaking, and more.
But it doesn’t stop there: folding bones are also excellent tools to add to your textile and leather crafting toolbox and are compatible with a diverse list of light and heavyweight materials and surfaces.
If you want to know what these highly effective, easy-to-use tools are all about, start scrolling to discover more; we’ve included some of the best folding bones in our lineup to simplify your search!
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Best bone folders: Quick picks
Lineco Bone Paper Folders and Scorer
- Genuine bone
- Excellent burnishing tool
- Different variations available
VENCINK Genuine Bone Folder
- Versatile tool for different crafts
- Great value for money
- Can be used to cut clay
CrafTreat Teflon Bone Folder
- High-quality Teflon product
- Non-stick properties
- Best suited for home crafters
What is a bone folder?
Bone folders are elongated, dull-edged tools that are used to mark crisp, linear creases on paper.
Although primarily sought-after by papercrafters and stationery enthusiasts, bone scorers are also considered a must-have for leather crafting and textile creative hobbies.
However, we especially recommend these tools if you’re all about cardmaking, bookbinding, scrapbooking, and origami — it’s affordable, easy to use, and will give your work a clean-cut finish.
Read also: 100+ creative hobbies to try, and how to get started
As you may have suspected by now, traditional, authentic folding bones are made from — yes — animal bone. Commonly, recycled cow bone, to be precise.
And while most papercrafters look for the real deal, others prefer plastic or Teflon bone folders as an alternative: the latter is very effective due to its low-static properties and slippery, non-scratch nature.
Besides scoring and creasing paper, other techniques applied with a bone folder include burnishing, shaping, and tearing.
How to use a bone folder
So how exactly does one apply these narrow, little “bone thingies” you’ve heard so much about?
The truth is that you can use these tools for various purposes, but specific applications are more common than others.
This process involves using the tip of your tool to emboss a straight line onto your paper. To make a scoreline, you’ll press and drag your tool alongside a ruler across your cardstock or fabric.
Once you have a line, you’ll fold your paper outward vs. inward (imagine closing a book backward) a few times to reduce stiffness and add more flexibility.
Besides rulers, many crafters resort to embossing tools, paper trimmers, or scoring boards to help achieve neat, straight scorelines.
After scoring your paper, you’ll want to crease it to define a permanent, flat fold. To do so, you’ll fold your paper (imagine closing a greeting card) and run your tool up and down the edge while applying pressure.
Instead of the tip, hold your folding bone horizontally and use its wider sides for this step.
The purpose of burnishing is to give your cardstock a more well-rounded, organic look by smoothening irregularities and, in this case, making creases less apparent.
Essentially, this is a method to polish your paper in its final stages. While everyone has their own technique, burnishing with a bone folder often translates into applying pressure on paper with a scrub-like or sweeping motion.
Another way to use a paper bone folder is for tearing. Yes, we’ve all done this the practical-sloppy-who-cares-way, which is fine for everyday tasks, but this is different when it comes to crafting.
To tear paper neatly with this tool, you’ll go through the same steps as scoring. The only difference is that you should run your bone folder up and down your cardstock a few times vs. making a single fold — especially with heavyweight material.
Opening and closing your card a few times to loosen up the fold will also help you tear effortlessly. Next, define your crease with the tool, and once ready, tear away!
Best bone folders
Find the best bone folder in our lineup below for paper crafting, stationery creative hobbies, leather crafting, and more.
Best genuine bone folder: Lineco Bone Paper Folders and Scorer
At the top of our list is the Lineco bone folder, our overall favorite for its precision, durability, and price; the brand is also specialized in bookbinding, so keep your eyes peeled if this is your craft of choice!
This top-quality, genuine bone tool is surprisingly affordable, boasts exceptional sturdiness and smoothness, and is particularly beneficial for burnishing — you won’t be left with shiny surfaces!
Read also: Best book binding glues
It’s also perfect for embossing neat creases on heavyweight cardstock.
Like most of these devices, the Lineco model is standard shaped, features a dulled, well-sculpted V tip, and is available in two sizes: 6×7/8 inches (~15×20 cm) and 8×1 inches (~20×3 cm).
If you want to add to your Lineco set, Blick also sells this curvy genuine bone paper scorer. Note that you can only buy these items separately vs. as a set. Amazon also sells the same Lineco scorer but for a slightly lower price. However, go with Blick when purchasing the other two Lineco bone folders (whether the large or small model); it’s cheaper there!
Best value for money: VENCINK Genuine Bone Folder
Another genuine bone folder we recommend is the ultra-popular VENCINK, which is suitable for both lightweight and heavyweight surfaces and materials.
This folding tool is a versatile option that performs beautifully across various creative hobbies, whether bookbinding and scrapbooking or leathercrafting and textile-related projects. You can even use this tool to slice through clay before throwing it on your pottery wheel!
Read also: Best leather craft kits
On another positive note, this perfectly smooth bone folder is priced at an excellent value: you can purchase this tool on Amazon for only ~$6 — now that’s what I call value for money.
Using this 6-inch tool will feel effortless, whether creasing, scoring, or burnishing, despite the thickness and weight of your materials. If you’re looking for versatility and quality on a budget, this is your pick!
Best Teflon bone folder: CrafTreat Teflon Bone Folder
For those of you who would rather use something other than a genuine bone folder (this is pretty common, you aren’t alone!), there are fantastic Teflon alternatives; we highly recommend the CrafTreat Teflon folding tool!
Ultrasmooth and waterproof, this product is compatible with an array of crafts, whether paper or textile related — including coarser materials like leather. It’s also a great tool to eliminate annoying air bubbles when applying glue to your bookbinding projects!
Read also: Best card making kits
This ~6 x 0.8 x 0.3 inch (~15 x 2 x 0.76 cm) item is also resistant to heat and, therefore, won’t warp over time. In addition, its non-stick properties make it incredibly resistant to gooey substances; you won’t have to worry about transferring debris, ink, or paint onto crisp, new surfaces.
However, while built with durability in mind, this tool isn’t as resilient as a real-deal bone folder. If you’re crafting daily or for hours on end, you’ll likely see the tip of your tool wear over time. As anyone with Teflon pans knows, the finish doesn’t last forever.
That said, we believe leisurely hobbyists will have a more satisfying experience with this tool than more seasoned crafters.
Best bone folder set: Arteza Bone Folders
Another option we recommend if you’re not into the idea of using a genuine bone folder is this versatile four-pack by Arteza.
Targeted for papercraft and stationery creative hobbies, this complete set of heavy-duty plastic paper folders and creasers is a handy solution if you’re looking for quality, budget-friendly bundles: this product costs ~$13 on Amazon. Essentially, you’ll be paying a little over $3 per item!
Read only: Best paper making kits
Because each tool is ergonomic and shaped differently, you’ll be able to apply specific techniques to various paper projects without having to wing it when tackling tricky angles, whether for scoring, creasing, or tearing.
I especially love this product for origami and paper quilling! Since these particular crafts demand intricacy and precision, this set will give you enough range to test the waters to achieve detailed, effortless folding.
Best square bone folder: Ecohu Square Bone Folder
If you’ve never seen a square-shaped bone folder, remember there’s always a first time for everything! With that in mind, our last recommendation is Ecohu’s unique square bone folder!
Under $9 on Amazon, this unconventional genuine bone paper folder features different edges to accommodate all your paper crafting needs in a single, compact-sized tool. Due to its wide, flat surface, this ergonomic paper folding tool provides a comfortable grip and more control. It’s perfect for arthritic crafters!
Read also: Best calligraphy sets
Its size is also convenient for storing and transporting, whether in your toolkit or handbag! And best of all, this item provides an all-in-one design: each side is intended to meet different needs, whether for scoring, creasing, or burnishing.
Another perk is its high-quality make, allowing for beautiful, gloss-free burnishing, which is harder to guarantee with cheaper, generic alternatives. Besides this product, Ecohu also sells more traditional, genuine bone models worth checking out: Ecohu Folder Tool, Ecohu Bone Creaser, and Ecohu Bone & Creaser Tool 2-piece set.
How to choose the best bone folder
While bone folders aren’t costly or extremely difficult to replace if needed or desired, why not make the best pick right from the start?
Considering a few simple but fundamental aspects before purchasing these items will help steer you in the right direction; here are a few things to think about!
- Do you want a genuine bone folder, or are you looking for a Teflon/plastic alternative? Remember, although there are excellent faux bone paper folders, an authentic bone-made model will always be more long-lasting.
- Define which materials you’ll be crafting with. Whether lightweight fabrics, paper, heavy-duty leather pieces, or cardstock, ensure you purchase a tool that will be resilient enough to successfully score, crease, and burnish specific surfaces.
- Although it may seem obvious, considering the size of your paper folder is essential. Because these tools are purely manual, we advise you not to overlook ergonomics and comfort. We especially recommend this if you craft daily or do intricate papercraft projects like origami that require lots of folding work.
- If your primary goal is to buy a folding tool for scoring, evaluating the quality of the tool’s tips is important. These shouldn’t be pointy enough to rip through paper but rather sculpted in a rounded V-like form. We advise scoring with an authentic bone model if you’re working on more professional or special projects.
- Also, know that some paper folders may be more or less flexible. Using something less sturdy will work fine if you stick to lightweight materials. However, if you’re going all in with heavy-duty crafting, you’ll want to get something with less flex potential.
- Depending on how you like to build up your toolkit, you may want to buy items individually or as a complete set: sets are commonly cheaper than individually-bought items. Nevertheless, keep quality at the forefront of your decision-making — it’s not worth spending less on generic items that will wear out quickly.
- If you plan on doing a lot of burnishing work, ensure you know what kind of finish your tool will leave on your items. Cheaper products may leave you with a shiny, glossy effect you may not want.
- When searching for a folding tool for bookbinding projects with glue, we advise purchasing a non-stick model. Otherwise, you’ll have difficulty removing glue from your paper folder, which will not only progressively damage your item but also transfer unwanted debris onto current projects. Also, clean your bone folder before the glue dries!
That’s it for our guide to the best bone folders! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!