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How to Create a Ripped Paper Effect

Ripped paper edges can be a simple artistic touch.
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A ripped paper effect is an often used technique to give a unique edge to cards and paper crafts. The soft, torn looking, frayed edge of ripped paper may make an average straight edge immediately look more artistic or interesting. Achieving this look is a simple set of steps. At first, some of the edges may turn out a bit crookedly. Practice and increased confidence in the tearing process will make perfectly shaped torn edges easy.

Things You'll Need:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper That May Be Easily Torn
  • Flat Surface

Straight Edge

Place the ruler on the paper and draw a light pencil line along the ruler to mark where you wish to create the ripped effect.

Fold along the pencil line. Draw your fingernail or some other smooth object along the edge to flatten it completely.

Fold the paper at the line the other way and again use your fingernail -- or some other object -- to flatten the fold completely.

Unfold and lay the paper on a flat surface.

Make a 2-mm tear at the top of the crease that was created when it was folded twice. Use your fingers.

Place your hands on either side of the crease in the paper. Rip or pull the paper apart at the crease by sliding your hands in opposite directions as they are pressed on the paper against the flat surface.

Complex Shape

Design a relatively simple shape on a separate sheet of paper without too many intricate areas which will be difficult to accurately tear.

Pencil-in the shape with light pencil strokes on the paper you wish to tear.

Use a sponge to moisten the paper lightly in the areas that will be torn.

Pull away the paper gently along the penciled edge, keeping the weight of your fingers or some other object pressed against the paper portion you do not wish to tear in order to preserve it.

Allow the paper to dry completely.


You may want to sponge the entire surface of the paper when using the sponge method in order to keep an even tone over the whole surface of the paper.

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