Since discovering the imperfect perforations of the real stamp from Ghana, I have felt far less of a compulsion to achieve perfect perforations on my faux postage stamps. Nonetheless, perforations are still an integral part of the artistamp process, so my experiments have continued.
Last time I compared 3 different perforation types: paper trimmer perf blade, serrated pattern wheel, and pin-type pattern wheel. My favoured results at the time were achieved with the serrated pattern wheel. The test runs first time around were all worked on plain, non-adhesive paper. The new experiments compare the serrated pattern wheel perforations from last time with a new, finer perforation from a pounce wheel, tried out on three different paper types. (Click on the images below for close-up views.)
- #1: Kraft paper with peel & stick backing
Due to the self-adhesive backing on this kraft paper, the perforating blades have 3 layers (paper, adhesive, peel-off backing) to penetrate rather than the standard single thickness of other papers. It therefore took extra pressure for the pounce wheel to pierce through the paper. The pattern wheel perforated with far greater ease and created a far more convincing visual effect before the mini sheet of stamps was separated. The backing paper accentuates the ‘fluff’ around the edges when separated but both methods of perforation were successful. I did prefer the appearance of the stamps with the larger, pattern wheel perforations, in both sheet & individual form.
- #2: Plain gummed paper
This gummed paper is very thin compared with Paper #1 and is therefore far easier to perforate by any method. The paper isn’t quite as thick/shiny as the coloured gummed paper I remember from school, but prints & perforates well which more than compensates! I found I actually preferred the finer, pounce wheel perforations on this paper. The pattern wheeled mini sheet was pierced deeper than Paper #1 making the holes appear more ‘obvious’ but not as round or clean, whereas the pounce wheeled sheet separated very cleanly due to the closer perforations. The edges are still clearly serrated, although the appearance is definitely not the same as a real perforated stamp.
- #3: Plain, non-adhesive kraft paper
Thicker than Paper #2 but obviously not as thick as Paper #1, Paper #3 perforated cleanly with both wheels, but I preferred the appearance of the serrated pattern wheel, this time. Both perforation types resulted in ‘fluffy’ edges, but this was due to the fibrous nature of the kraft paper rather than perforation type or spacing. I wasn’t really keen on either of the separated stamps.
CONCLUSION: I will have to do individual trials for each paper type I consider using, because there are clearly differences within the papers which affect the success and appearance of the perforations. I also clearly have entirely arbitrary, personal preferences, not necessarily based on those factors alone. (For example, I just love the stamplike lick-&-stickiness of the gummed paper, even though most real stamps these days are self-adhesive, and even though the recipient would never know which kind of sticky had been used for their artistamp, anyway…)
Of the latest experiments, my preference falls firmly with the gummed paper combined with fine pounce wheel perforations, even though this possibly has the less stamp-like appearance. Of course, my opinion is quite possibly influenced by the fact that I find it far easier to control & run a straight line with the pounce wheel than the pattern wheel… 😉
In conclusion, if you are making your own faux postage, I advise trying out different combinations of whatever perforation methods and papers you have available, and find the one that works best for you. I don’t think there is one magic solution that will suit us all, I’m afraid. Have fun! 🙂