Are you making a card, pamphlet, booklet, or origami piece that requires clean folds and crisp creases? A bone folder is the answer. Used originally for folding letters and traditionally made of wood, bamboo, or genuine bone, this tool reached commercial popularity when, in 1889, J. C. Forman of Cleveland, Ohio, patented an aluminum version that was sturdy and cheap to manufacture. Today these tools, although still called bone folders, are made of a variety of plastics, woods, and metals (and there are still some made of genuine bone). To achieve a precise line and a knife-sharp crease, peruse our roundup below to find the best product for your needs.
1. Lineco Genuine Bone Folder
Unlike some more modern counterparts, this bone folder is made out of—you guessed it—actual bone. Measuring 8 inches in length and 1 inch wide, this large and easy-to-maneuver folder works on even the heaviest of materials. It is a standard shape, straight with a pointed and satisfyingly pointy tip, but its natural material makes it one of the strongest and most long-lasting options out there.
2. Fiskars Traditional Bone Folder
If you don’t like the idea of handling bone, go with one made of plastic. This is a basic but dependable folder with one end rounded and the other shaped in a soft point, measuring six inches long. The plastic is durable and smooth, with clean edges that feel good in the hand and won’t damage paper. The pointed tip excels at scoring, cutting clay, and getting into hard-to-reach corners. Though the plastic construction may not be as tough as bone, this sharp-folding tool is a great addition to any studio, classroom, or office.
3. Ecohu Square Bone Folder
While its shape is nontraditional, this folder is made of real bone, and it provides more surface area for holding and folding. You have a wide area to place your fingers on, which makes it easier to apply even and consistent pressure as you glide the tool over paper. One thick edge is ideal for creasing, and a thinner, angled edge allows you to position your hand comfortably as you burnish. A long, rounded tip is an excellent tool for scoring. Unlike cheap folders, this one does not leave a shiny mark on your materials.
4. Arteza Bone Folders
This set of four bone folders is a great option for artists who need different shapes to satisfy a variety of highly specific jobs. Made of heavy-duty plastic, these tools glide easily on paper and create pin-straight edges. The standard bone folder is great for folding cards—or use the knifelike folder with a pointed tip to burnish your crease. The curved tailbone folder helps make origami folds with its curved edges and tail, and the pointed-tip tool is great for bookbinding or smoothing out glue bubbles.
5. Crafty Gnome Teflon Bone Fold Folder
This bone folder is made of Teflon, an ultrasmooth material that reduces friction as you move it along your working surface. It is also waterproof and will not scratch delicate materials or surfaces as you use it. It has a slightly blunted tip that is easily maneuverable into tight corners. This is a fairly large tool as bone folders go, measuring 6.25 by 0.75 inches. Our one gripe is that the tip seems to wear faster than traditional bone and plastic.