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A bone folder is a dull-edged hand tool that can be used to fold and crease material to give a sharper fold than pressing with fingers can give. You can put more pressing on the fold, really digging the crease into the paper, leather, or other material that you are folding.
Despite the name, they can be made of other materials than bone, like plastic or metal. Those made from bone, however, are less likely to leave a residue on the finished product than plastic.
Another common material that bone folders are made from is bamboo, which is popular in Japan.
Here are some ways to use your versatile bone folder:
Make a greeting card
A homemade greeting card can be made with a bone folder! Either print out or design a greeting card on the computer, or take some thick paper. Using a ruler to find the center, you can then fold the card and press the bone folder against the folded edge to dig the fold in deep.
You then have a nicely folded card ready for further decoration! And that fold won’t be coming out easily.
Bone folders are great for origami! Because origami calls for a lot of folding that can leave the paper too thick for your fingers to press effectively, the bone folder makes quick and easy work of those folds. A bone folder will set the lines in hard so that your origami is striking for weeks to come.
For leather working
Leather can be thin, but more often it is very thick. This can make it hard to fold for more intricate and fancy leather projects. A bone folder comes in handy here to press in that deep fold or for scoring in lines. This is especially useful for leather bookbinding.
When bookbinding, you’re folding 8 to 16 pages (or more!) most of the time. Again, because that many pages is thick and hard for you to fold with your fingers, you want a tool that is dull (so it won’t scratch throught the paper like your nails might) but that can press in a fold.
I hope this has helped you to find a new role for your bone folder! I use mine fairly often and find it to be a very useful little tool that is inexpensive to boot.