What is paper scoring and how does it work?

What is paper scoring and how does it work_ _ Pel Hughes print marketing new orleans

Did you know there is a professional way of folding paper? Yes. There is a correct way to make those crisp lines, and if you don’t believe us, go grab a cereal box and do a little experiment.

Take said cereal box and disassemble. Now take a square section of the box and fold it in half to create a clean, sharp line.

How’s it looking over there? We’re going to guess it’s looking neither clean nor sharp.

That’s why “scoring” exists in the great wide world of paper products. In short, scoring is the creation of a crease in a piece of paper that will allow it to fold easier and result in a better looking line.

This is achieved by creating a ridge in the paper with an indentation device, and that ridge is where the fold line will occur. Typically this line is made by using a piece of metal to compress the fibers of the paper in one small area in order to create a dip in the paper where it can easily fold.

You can score paper as it goes through the printing press (inline scoring) or you can score the paper after it is finished printing (offline scoring). We recommend offline paper scoring as it tends to be more precise and offer the printer greater control over the process.


So why score paper?

It’s all about looks. Scored paper is less likely to “buckle” or “crack” while being folded, and it decreases the chance that the folding process will hurt the ink that is delicately placed on the surface of the paper.


When should you score?

Scoring is most effective when used upon heavyweight papers like cardstock and cardboard. It makes sense that these varieties would be more resistant to our manipulations as they are thicker and more stubborn. Generally, the thicker the paper, the wider the score.


Tips for scoring paper:

  • Only use new paper. Old paper tends to be dryer and less receptive to a successful score
  • Always score with the grain of the paper, never against
  • Score one practice piece before scoring an entire batch
  • Once scored, fold the paper so the hinge is on the inside of the fold


If you have any additional questions about paper Scoring or any other printing or finishing operation, give Pel Hughes a call. We’re always happy to answer your printing related questions.