Cracked Spine Card Stock PaperHave you ever tried to fold thicker paper, only to find that it cracks along the spine during the folding process? There is a reason for this. The fibers in the thicker paper will actually break and crack when forced to bend, much like a twig will crack when you break it in half. This can be annoying, especially when you are trying to fold thicker paper for announcements, brochures, marketing material and more. There is a way to fold paper without breaking the spine. I would like to cover a few options that may help you prevent cracks in this article.

The biggest culprit with “cracking” the paper during folding, at least that I’ve seen, is not understanding how the paper is made. Humidity and the age of the paper can also affect the quality of the fold. One thing many people don’t realize is that paper has a directional grain pattern to it depending on how it was manufactured. Folding with the grain will produce much better results than folding against the grain and will dramatically cut down on cracks. Folding against the grain of the paper causes a lot of damage. It is possible to fold against the grain, however, which I will cover in this article.   I will also cover other popular ways to fold thicker paper in this article.

Folding BoneThere are many ways that people fold paper. One of the most common, at least on an individual level, is to fold it by hand. Folding paper by hand, however, results in a very messy spine and the results don’t look very professional. I recommend at least using a folding bone (found here) if you are going to fold paper by hand. A folding bone will crease the paper, making the fold cleaner and more precise. This also helps with folding thicker paper.

Paper ScorerOne of the most effective ways to fold thick paper, without cracking the spine, is to use a paper scorer or creaser (found here). These devices come in manual and electric designs. What these do is compress the paper in a line along the length of the paper. This helps to crush the fibers in the paper, making a fold much easier. The idea is actually very similar to a folding bone, but in a more practical design for repeated use. Paper scoring machines can be used with some of the thickest paper out there and can even be used against the grain of the paper. These tools work great for dozens to even hundreds of sheets of paper per day.

Paper Folding MachineIf you are folding dozens to potentially hundreds or thousands of sheets a day, a paper folding machine (found here) is probably more realistic. These devices do a very good job of handling thicker paper without cracking the spine, however, does not work as well with extremely thick card stock as a paper scoring machine will. What some people will do, especially when folding thousands of sheets of thick paper a day, is score the paper on an automatic scoring machine prior to feeding it into a paper folding machine. This two-step process is ideal for folding thousands of extremely thick sheets of paper a day.

None of these folding methods is completely fool proof, so I recommend if there is any doubt to send in samples for testing prior to purchasing a machine. This way we can guarantee the machine you are purchasing will work with the paper you are using. If you have questions about your paper, and the best machine to fold it, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We have a lot of experience with folding thick card stock and can probably help point you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading this article. If you have your own experience or feedback you’d like to share, please post it as a “comment.” We would love to hear from you.

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