How to Perforate Paper for Scrapbooking


Perforated paper, or punched paper, is typically made of lightweight cardstock that has a line of regularly spaced holes punched through it. Perforation is normally used to create paper that can be torn apart along the line of perforation, but scrapbookers often create perforated paper for its decorative effect. You can make your own perforated paper at home several methods, depending on your personal preference and the supplies you own or are willing to purchase.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardstock, acid-free
  • Cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Awl, thumbtack or sharp nail
  • Optional:
  • Sewing machine
  • Rotary perforating blade, such as Fiskars or Simplicity
  • Tracing wheel, normally used for sewing patterns
  • Perforator, such as Cutterpede

Cardboard and Punching Instrument

  • Cut the acid-free cardstock to the size you desire. If you want to use the paper as background for a scrapbook page, cut the paper to the size of your album, typically 12-by-12 in., 8.5-by-11 in. or 8-by-8 in.

  • Place the cardstock on top of a piece of cardboard that is slightly larger than your paper.

  • Trace a line lightly to mark the area you want to perforate. Alternatively, place a ruler along the line you'd like to perforate.

  • Punch gently through the card stock and into the cardboard, using an awl, sharp nail or thumbtack. Space the holes about 1/8 in. apart. Punch slowly and carefully because, if you accidentally punch the holes too close together, the paper may tear. If you punch them too far apart, it's difficult to go back and add holes without tearing the paper.

Sewing Machine, Rotary Cutter or Perforating Blade

  • Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to about 1/8 i., and insert a large sewing needle. Do not use thread. Place a piece of cardstock into your sewing machine, and "sew" the paper to create the perforated line.

  • Remove the rotary cutting blade from your rotary cutter, and replace it with a specialized perforating blade. Align the cardstock in the rotary cutter, and slide the perforating blade slowly and firmly from one end of the paper to the other along the line you want to perforate. Remove the paper gently so it doesn't tear.

  • Place the cardstock on the cardboard, and hold the ruler firmly on top of the paper along the line you wish to perforate. Slide the tracing wheel or perforator along the ruler to create a line of perforations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment on scraps of cardstock first. Practice until you can space the perforations correctly and know how much pressure to apply to create the holes without tearing the paper.

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  • Photo Credit Travel image by vashistha pathak from
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