160GSM Ivory Linen – Paper Story

When I first started cutting I used 160gsm paper, I thought that it would be easier. The last time I tried to cut Rosie on 160 I gave up because it had become hard work to get through the thickness of the paper. I had also thought 160 was not the best option for small details. Thinner linen papers I have tried have felt horrible to cut and barely had any texture to them, this one does have a gorgeous texture.

Printing

Ivory Linen 160Printing it will hold even pure black without showing through, light colours are easily visible though so save the ink and print light. Being a thicker paper it had no difficulties going through the printer so no worries there if you have a printer that doesn’t like heavier weight paper.

Drawing

No sheen so just like drawing on normal drawing paper for pencil choice. Don’t go too hard though or you could end up adding more texture to the page.

Cutting

For a heavy weight paper it doesn’t “feel” as thick as some of the others I have tried. Cutting the detail was more difficult than lighter weight paper, but it was workable, the larger sections in the tail though were lovely to cut and I barely noticed at that point that it was a thicker paper.

The texture doesn’t get in the way at all, so no worries with snagging on the curves but take your time with large curves to make sure you get it right with the extra pressure involved.

Somewhere I did slice through a line while cutting, it took me a while of poking to figure out where it was so the paper is very forgiving on slight mishaps making it good for newer cutters.

Blades

Blades, when working on detail blade use is going to be high but on larger areas it’s surprisingly good on blade usage quite unlike what you would expect for this weight of paper.

Price

£1.95 for 10 sheets so works out as around 19p/sheet.

Conclusion

Once you turn it over any small areas you may have had issues with become very worth it. If you are doing wedding invite cuts use this paper. Anything that suits texture will look fantastic on this. Paper story themselves recommend it for typographical cuts and I can see why. If you are working on lots of details this probably isn’t the best choice but for the finish it can be worth persevering with the challenge just to have the amazing texture.

You can buy this paper on Paper Story’s website here.

110GSM White – Paper Story

Another from Paper Story. I normally cut on 100gsm so this is the closest to what I am used to. The paper is flat with a pearlescent sheen to it and is also available in ivory.

White 110

Printing

When printing very light grey is best, no trouble seeing even the lightest colours, of course you can go a little darker if you are printing flat but for floating go as light as you can see.

Drawing

As like other pearlescent papers, don’t go to soft with your pencil choice or it will smudge though this will take up to a 4B before going smudgy. 2H max if you prefer harder pencils.

Cutting

Very easy going on the details and larger areas. It handles curves beautifully and glides over the mat as you move the paper around. Very few fluffy bits, even if you go for too long with a blade but you will see a difference.

Blades

Blade use is good, totally what you would expect from this weight of paper. 15-20 minutes.

Price

10 sheets for £1

Conclusion

A lovely light weight paper. Due to the weight probably not one for new cutters as if you do go a little further into a corner on a cut it will be visible. Highly recommended to those that prefer lighter papers. It has a good structure if you are more used to heavier weights though so don’t let that put you off.

You can buy this paper here

 

120GSM Bersan – Paper Story

This paper feels lovely, Available in White or Cream. Paper Story teamed up with PayperBox to offer this paper and it’s worth noting that the Bersan is a range of charitable products which Payper Box donate 5% of their sales to cancer charities.
I think this paper would be perfect for wedding cuts, there is an opalescent shine to it rather than being “in your face” shiny.

Printing

Bersan 120Printing in pure black will result in some of the ink showing through even when flat, medium greys are fine if you are flat mounting but go light if you plan to float.

Drawing

HB or at the softest 2B, anything softer is likely to smudge harder and you will have the drawing showing through.

Cutting

When cutting it does feel heavier than it is, I would say it feels more like 140gsm to the blade though to the touch it is clearly 120gsm. It does mean that it isn’t as good at handling small detail as you would expect but it does still perform well if you plan which section to cut first properly.

The layers in this paper can separate if you are not careful, check you have cut all the way through, though it is easy to see where you have cut. Because of this the paper can be prone to the occasional fluffy bit, they are easy to remove though with a fresh blade.

As an advantage though once the details are cut and the paper removed everything still holds well.

Blades

Reasonable blade usage, especially considering it feels thicker to the blade. 20-25 minutes on regular cutting but 15 on the details because I was changing just before the drag to avoid the paper fluffing. I may have been able to have got slightly longer though.

Price

10 Sheets are £1.50 making it 15p per sheet. Reasonably priced for the finish and remember some of that cost also goes to charity so even more worth it.

Conclusion

On the flip, it’s worth it. A clean finish on a beautiful looking paper.

I wouldn’t recommend this paper to a new cutter, because of how the paper can behave if you don’t change the blade at the right time. Though for those with more experience at knowing when you feel the drag you can easily handle the paper. If you’re after a paper that behaves like a heavy weight but less work and easier on the blade usage then this is what you should be using.

Buy the paper here.

Safe Disposal of Blades

I really can’t stress enough that when you are done with your blades they must be disposed of safely, in most places blades are destroyed by incineration as this is the safest way to ensure they don’t damage anyone or anything in the environment.

Safe Disposal

Mostly the type of blades used are surgical so logically you should dispose of them just like any other surgical type of equipment. Here in the UK we have Sharps Boxes which are available from doctors or pharmacies at a very low cost. (The smallest box would last you years.) Once full the box is designed to be impossible to open once sealed.
When ready for disposal the box should be labelled as craft blades – non medical waste so it is known that your box does not contain any sort of contamination. Then usually it can be returned to your doctor or pharmacy and they will ensure it is disposed of correctly.

However in some areas they state they cannot take the box (and will not allow you to have one) unless it is for medical waste only so please be clear when you request one.

Some councils will allow you to seal your blades in a container that can not be broken label it as craft blades and be collected with your normal domestic waste, if you are a business this will go with your business waste and not household.

Please always check with your local council or environmental agency how you should be disposing of your blades. If neither the pharmacy, your doctor or the council will take your used blades contact a waste contractor, they will charge you a fee but it is imperative that blades are disposed of correctly.

Be Safe at Home

Whatever method you need to use when it comes to disposal you also need to make sure all these used blades don’t end up all over your house. They may not be any good for paper cutting but they are still very sharp.

As a sharps box cannot be closed properly without permanently sealing it, it is possible for it to be knocked over and blades can spill. Make sure you keep it in a safe place where it is unlikely to be at risk of being knocked, either from children, pets or clumsy spouses.

Money tins that require a tin opener to access are also a favourite as the blades cannot “escape.” Jars can be used but aren’t ideal as glass can be broken if dropped or especially when placed in with domestic waste if you have that option.

It is best to assess the personal risk in your home, if you are the only one in the house there is far less chance of any problems arising from how you store your used blades, for those of you with children remember that some places that may seem inaccessible actually are when you have a toddler with enough determination.  For really inquisitive children perhaps a lockable unit (key not a child lock) or tool box is the best option.

However you store your used blades it may be best to test the method before filling it with blades.

Be safe and enjoy your craft.

130GSM Pearlescent – Paper Story

This paper is from paper story. Mid-weight for paper cutting so ideal for beginners  This paper is double sided (other than the latte, which is single sided) and comes in all sorts of gorgeous colours, The golds and silvers are divine and for some reason I adore the tropical orange (not a colour that would usually take my fancy.
I selected the Bearly Pink for the test.

Pearlescent 130Printing

Since I am used to printing on white or single sided paper my template lines are quite light to prevent them showing through. While I can still see the template printing slightly darker would have been an advantage (necessary on some of the darker colours.) Pure black doesn’t show through to the opposite side if it is flat, but if you plan to float don’t print too dark.

Drawing

If you draw your templates don’t go for a soft pencil HB to 2H is ideal for drawing on this type of paper, white pencil for the darker shades.

Cutting

When I first started cutting I did wonder if I was going to like this paper, only because I am used to a lower gsm. Once I had got a little more into it I began to just enjoy the greater control and structure of a higher weight.

Fluffy bits, barely any with this paper, you can see where you have cut easily so you know where the danger zones are. If by any chance a fluffy bit does appear they come away easily with a fresh blade and are even removable with a slightly used one.

Blades

This surprised me blade usage was quite low, I got closer to half an hour out of a single blade working on the detail, 40 minutes on larger areas (which is why you can see more cut in this photo.)

Price

A pack of 10 sheets in a single colour is just £1.50 so at just 15p/sheet it’s a good price for an excellent paper. Or if you like to buy in bulk there is an option for 100 sheets at 12p/sheet where you can request the colours you would like.

Conclusion

Over all, a brilliant all round paper it looks lovely once it is flipped over and because it is double sided there are no white bits. However that is also the only disadvantage as the darker colours are harder to work with if you print a template rather than draw.

Here is the link to the white, the colours are all listed separately.

How to: Typography for Templates

If it’s just a sentence or a single word then the typography in my paper cuts is usually done by hand.  I’m not the most artistic person ever when it comes to using a pencil but I have learnt a few tricks along the way that help me achieve what I want.

Typography

Typography can be pretty daunting when you don’t feel your normal handwriting is up to the task.

One quick way to get around the typography issue, if you want to hand draw the rest of the template, is to type out the words you want and print them so you can draw around them. Make sure you select fonts with the correct licence if you plan to sell your cuts or templates.

With people out there selecting the same fonts hand lettering will help you create unique templates, every design is then personal to you.

Transform Your Handwriting

So let’s look at how you can transform your own handwriting to make some great typography without having to buy anything special or spend a long time learning about the specific rules of typography. After all we are creating individual works of art, not perfect graphics.

Let’s start by writing out a word with a pencil. I have added guide lines to my paper as I’m very guilty of writing on a slant without them. You can use pre lined paper for this or you can draw guide lines on plain paper if you want larger line spacing.

Pretty boring normal writing but now we can start to build it up to look more interesting. Lets go back and add some more detail to the letters.

To be honest I picked a pretty boring word to start with but you can add little flicks to the tops of the L’s, extend the crossbar of the H , add a few swirls and bend a few of those straight lines. Already our boring word and shapeless handwriting is looking a little more decorative.

Now we can start to build up the letters by thickening some lines to make a faux calligraphy style.

Use your pencil to make the vertical strokes of the letters thicker and keep the horizontal lines thin, or vice versa. You can taper the thickness so it blends in easily. You may also decide to make all the lines thicker, so long as one set of lines is thicker than the other. Maybe have a play with making the horizontal lines thickest?

Once you are happy with the lines you can go around the outer edges of the letters with a fine liner pen and erase all the pencil marks. It does look pretty nifty like that or you can fill all the gaps in with pen after you have erased the pencil marks.

There are many other options to explore using this method, try making the lines vary in thickness through one stroke, extend lines more or even less. Add serifs or other shapes to terminate the letters. If you normally write with a round hand put some angles in and vice versa.
Once you have the typography for the template you want to create, scan the text (always save the original) and print a copy to start drawing the other details on.
If you want to feel particularly organised rather than doing single words and short sentences create a whole alphabet in upper and lower case. Then you can trace the letters as you need them.

Obviously none of this is joined for cutting so we can’t cut it yet (unless we added some anchors to cut in negative) but next time we will look at ways to decorate your typography to turn it into a cut-able template.

Rules Lampworkers Live By

Lampworkers Rules

  • No matter how much glass you have it’s never enough
  • Beady hugs are best
  • If you lick it, it’s yours
  • Thou shalt not show receipts to your spouse
  • Pray to the kiln fairies
  • The longer you spend on it the more likely it is to break
  • Warning flying glass

These are the rules in my Typographical paper cut design. The design also has flames, a heart and a dragon.

wpid-wp-1422370251535.jpegI’m currently working on a version for the Flame Off Charity auction. I went out the other day and bought a beautiful light blue glitter card backing for it and have just started on the cut itself on white hammered paper.

This is the start of it, hopefully it will all be finished and mounted in the next few days. Then I will add the finished cut to the portfolio.

First Experience: Papercutting

Paper Cutting is a craft that I have been looking at trying for a while, I stumbled across this blog post from SLS Creative. A free paper cut template that looked simple enough to tear me away from the “nah, to fiddly” thoughts.

paper and scalpelSo What do you need to do a papercut?

  • Scalpel (I opted for an x-cut swivel knife)
  • Cutting Mat
  • Paper

I printed the design out on 200gsm white card, standard copier paper was far to thin. It didn’t take too long for me to finish the design and while yes there are mistakes, (it was my first cut after all) I was very happy with the results.
As a craft its either really relaxing or wants to make you curse.

first cutThings I learnt

  • The parts you cut away don’t have to be perfect, you are allowed to chop them up if you need to.
  • Don’t press too hard, it hurts your wrists (and the blade gets stuck in the cutting mat)
  • 200gsm is probably a bit thick.
  • The blade needs changing sooner than you think.

I have since bought some watercolour paper and I changed the blade to start a new cut and now it’s all a bit easier and very enjoyable.

Have you tried paper cutting or do you want to?