Paper: Tear or Cut?

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
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  • #127776
    Sharon Nolfi
    Participant
    @sharonnolfi

    I’ve heard that’s it’s best to tear watercolor paper rather than cutting it. Is this true? Please share your experiences. I want to make some smaller sheets.

    #127777
    Sandra Strait
    Participant
    @sandra-strait

    I always tear mine.  You do need a surface where you can lay the paper flat and a metal-edge ruler (or something with a straight-edge).  You fold the paper where you want to tear and run a bone folder or spoon along the crease.  Fold the paper going the other way and crease again. Keep doing this until the paper wears down a bit.  You might even want to moisten the crease slightly if the paper is really thick.

    If you keep the ruler flat against the edge of the fold and apply even pressure you can get a nice even tear.  If you’re tearing a really big piece, you need to move the ruler down the page as you go.

    You need to make sure your hands, the ruler and the table top are clean. You might want to wear gloves to keep the oils from your hands getting on the paper.

    You also need to figure out which side to tear from.  On one side you’ll get a fuzzier edge.

    I find I’m better off if I only make a few tears at a time – maybe one full sheet into four pieces.  After that, I get tired or bored and am more likely to get rips along the edge instead of an even tear.

    I know it sounds like it’s hard to do and time-consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take all that much work – it takes more time to explain it than to just do it.

    It’s probably a matter of preference as to whether it’s better.  I can never get a straight cut.  If I tear something crooked it still looks decent.  When I cut I always get a weird curve.

    #127779
    Sharon Nolfi
    Participant
    @sharonnolfi

    Thanks, Sandra! Yes, I’ve seen some videos of people doing it that way. I have a paper cutter that will accommodate pieces up to 18 inches wide – I’m sure I couldn’t cut straight with a scissors! How do you know which side to tear from? When you rip against the ruler, is the paper under the ruler right side up or down? (Not that I’d know the right side with any certainty).

    #127797
    Teri Casper
    Participant
    @teric

    That’s exactly how I do it also Sandra.  Your explanation is perfect!

    although I admit, when working with a big sheet I sometimes cut it using a quilting ruler and cutter, then tear the rest to cut those beautiful edges.

    #127801
    Susan Cuss
    Participant
    @susan-cuss-1

    I tear the paper, too. I’ve done it the way Sandra does, but I’ve also just folded once, then added water in the fold, applied several times with a paint brush, until the paper was quite damp. Then I would tear along the side of the ruler. This can create a rougher edge, but sometimes that’s the look I’m going for if it’s a piece to add to a card front etc.

    For large pieces, I’m more apt to do it the same way as Teri does, as I find it difficult to maintain the same pressure with the ruler. The larger the paper, the more apt I am to have unruly tears.

    #127808
    Sandra Strait
    Participant
    @sandra-strait

    I find that if I tear about half way down the length of the ruler, stop, move the ruler down and re-apply my pressure at the same point, that I don’t often have ‘unruly’ tears (as Susan called them – perfect term).  I gave up on cutters.  Somehow, I always managed to get the paper lined up crooked or cut it at the wrong place.  It’s a talent I have.

    #127809
    Sandra Strait
    Participant
    @sandra-strait

    Sharon, I need to actually tear some paper to find out which way I do it, lol.  I’m so used to just looking and doing it that I don’t even pay attention.  I’m not where I can do that now, but I’ll get back to you.  I do know that it can differ according to the paper, but that one way is more common than the other.

    #127822
    Susan Cuss
    Participant
    @susan-cuss-1

    I didn’t think about it until later, but it’s funny having an unruly tear while tearing with a ruler. ha ha ha.

    Also, I’ve found that I have a more even edge when tearing away from myself than towards myself (and I tried this on both sides of the paper, which didn’t seem to make sense). Weird. One would think it would be the opposite from one side to the other……?

    #127835
    Sandra Strait
    Participant
    @sandra-strait

    Sharon, I seem to get a cleaner edge when I have the most raised portion of the crease at the top.

     

    #127836
    Sandra Strait
    Participant
    @sandra-strait

    Susan, I always have mine flat against the table so I have to tear towards myself, but I do better with the most raised portion of the crease on top.  If I’m tearing a smaller piece, like ripping off a corner than tearing away works better for me.

    #127839
    Sharon Nolfi
    Participant
    @sharonnolfi

    LOL. I need to wait for my broken right hand to heal before I can try this! At least I can hunt and peck with a left hand finger to type, and my husband set my mouse so I can use my left hand to click, otherwise I’d be losing my mind.

    #128269
    Kate Powell
    Participant
    @kate-powell

    Tear.  I don’t fold, but I have a heavy metal straightedge that I tear against.  If I want very deckled appearing edges, I will wet the line I am tearing with an eyedropper.

    #128272
    Lisa
    Participant
    @lisa-j-cihlar

    I fold my paper both ways, then insert a knife in the cold and slit the paper. I lose the deckle edge, but as I am in a wheelchair, I find this the easiest method.  On smaller pieces I just told back and forth a few times and tear along the fold.

    #128361
    Sharon Nolfi
    Participant
    @sharonnolfi

    Thanks for all this great advice!

    #128365
    Jennifer McLean
    Participant
    @jennifer-mclean

    thanks Sandra, now I gotta go buy a bone folder. YAY, shopping!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
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