As you can see from my previous post, faux postage has been on my mind, lately. A few days ago, I started work on a set of new text-based artistamps (right, still a work in progress!). Inspired by Beanie Mouse & his tracing wheel I decided to think about alternative methods of perforation. My fallback method is to print rows of dots – faux perforations – onto the sheet of artistamp designs, then either use the perforating blade of my paper trimmer to perforate along the rows, or just cut out by hand with scissors. There’s nothing wrong with this method: at a glance, the stamps do indeed look perforated, and when the paper trimmer is applied, do indeed tear off like perforated stamps; however the optical illusion doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, and as soon as the stamps are separated, the gig is pretty much up (unless stuck to a dark background, in which case the black of the faux perforation half-holes blends in nicely).
So I did some trial runs to compare visually the results of some different perforation types:
Results, from left to right:
- Inarguably, the most successful method of perforation is the paper trimmer. My only problem here is that the edges of the finished artistamp do not look sufficiently stamp-like (for my taste). But it works, there’s no denying that.
- Tracing wheel #1 has a pin-style wheel and I thought might produce cleaner, more holey perforations. However, the spacing of the pins meant that the perforations were far too far apart, and when separated looked like the (less sharp) inverse of the paper trimmer’s perforating blade: marginally more stamp-like, but much rougher.
- Tracing wheel #2 has a serrated wheel and was far more successful (I believe this is the type of wheel used by Beanie!). The perforations were much closer together & far more stamp-like before tearing off stamps – an aesthetically pleasing start! And although there is still an element of ‘fluffiness’ where the paper is torn apart to separate stamps, it is less obvious than with the pin-type wheel, as there is less paper between each perforation. Definitely my preferred method of the three, although clearly has a more rustic ‘flavour’ than the crisp paper-trimmed edges!
A top tip, whichever method of perforation you use (with the possible exception of the paper trimmer) is to always fold and crease along the row of perforations before tearing, which creates a much neater edge, and minimises the fluffiness. I tried using tracing wheel #2 on a variety of papers (the one in the picture is white kraft paper) in case the fluffiness was accentuated by the fibres of a recycled paper, but it made little difference – this kind of fluffiness you will always get along a paper edge when torn by hand, whether aided by perforations or not.
A similar result can be achieved by perforating paper using an unthreaded needle in a sewing machine – sadly I could not demonstrate this method as I have still not learned to control my tiny sewing machine sufficiently to achieve a straight line… (But the results can be seen around the edges of the artistamp by Sam Farman, shown right.)
I have tried the tracing wheel method of perforation previously, and the only reason I didn’t use it for my original TangleStamps is because I like to add a self-adhesive backing to them, and this added thickness was far harder for the tracing wheel to perforate. I’ve ordered some new papers, though, and will soon be experimenting with different methods of adhesion, so watch this space for Faux Postage Trials, Part 2!