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Paper Tearing

Use these quick paper tearing techniques from Maria Nerius to create scraps for your next scrapbook, card or journal project. It's easy and it's a great way to recycle paper.

Paper Tearing


  • Paper: All types of paper work well with this technique including cardstock, decorative, handmade, tissue, corrugated, origami, washi, vellum and linen
  • Optional: Straightedge like a ruler or decorative edge ruler.


  1. When tearing paper one side will show the paper core and the other will not. (If your paper is a solid color, this is not a concern). Where you want the core to show will determine which way you hold and rip the paper.
  2.  Rip a piece of red paper (that has a white core) down the middle. If you rip with your dominant hand (let’s say your right hand), the core (white) will show on the left hand side. If you rip with your left hand, then the core shows to the right side.
  3. For more controlled tear hold the paper and tear towards you. Usually the slower you tear the more ragged or deckled the edge of the paper will be.


  • Ripped and torn paper is great for collage, card making and altered art as well as scrapbook pages.
  • Mulberry paper gives a soft wispy edge when torn, as do many handmade or specialty papers.
  • Try tearing 2-tone or double-hued paper; one color on the front and a different color (not just white) on the back. This type of paper can be found in origami sheets and cardstock sheets.
  • Scraps leftover from ripping and tearing can be used to make serendipity paper.
  • Layer the ripped or torn paper. Layers add texture, depth and interest.
  • Tear paper for the mats around photos or captions.
  • Some thick handmade papers are very unpredictable when tearing so to get an even deckled look you can “water cut” the paper. Dip a thick round brush into water. Brush the water along the edge you wish to rip. Rip along the wet area.
  • For more control you can use a straight edge or deckled edge ruler to rip against.
  • If you aren’t sure how the paper will look torn always practice with a scrap of the same type paper before tearing your main paper.
  • Chalk the torn edges. Especially pretty with white core edges.
  • Don’t stop at paper, rip some fabric, tear some ribbon, and rip some photo edges for fun.

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