Faux Postage Trials, Part 4

The lovely Britta (of JaguarSnail) has found yet another potential faux postage perforation solution for us to try and I, for one, am sold!

While rummaging in a junk/antique shop recently Britta came across a pair of rusty, slightly odd-looking scissors with teeth on one side, where the blade would normally be.  When she asked what they were for, she was told they were thinning shears, used in hairdressing.  Who knew?!  (Not us, but probably many other people in the world…)  Anyway, I tried out Britta’s shears and they did indeed make neat-if-square-ish perforations which tore off nicely, so I immediately ordered a cheap pair of (new!) thinning shears to try for myself.

New TangleStamp perforations
New TangleStamp perforations

Mine arrived this morning, and when I tested them out, not only did they make a lovely perforated edge to my new artistamps, but they separated them in the same swift movement, without any need for tearing!  (I’m assuming Britta’s shears only pierced holes because they had been dulled slightly with with age and use.)

I’ve just made a new series of artistamps, printed on self-adhesive label paper, using my most recent postage stamp collages as background images.  Here I’ve done a comparison test, first using a serrated pattern tracing wheel to tear off a stamp, and second using the thinning shears (not shown to scale!).

Faux postage perforation comparison
Faux postage perforation comparison

The auto-separation of the paper after using the shears means that rather than pre-perforating a whole sheet of stamps to tear off as needed, I will be cutting off one stamp at a time, but I like the clean edging so much, I’m pretty sure I can live with that compromise!

I designed the sheet of artistamps from notebook covers collaged in July.  This is my first notebook collage of August in a combination of some of my favourite colours: an imaginary landscape which only narrowly missed the window of joining the artistamps above!  Check out the TangleStore listing for more details.

The latest imaginary landscape
The latest imaginary landscape

For more info about faux postage/artistamps, please see my Faux Postage Q & A page, plus all of these previous posts!

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More postal patchwork (& other fun things)

Another crafternoon with Britta produced lots of fun results!  Of course, my new Postal Patchwork experiments paled somewhat beside Britta’s amazingly detailed hand-carved stamps – applied to Moleskine notebooks, so we can all share the goodness!

Badgified BoxesAs if that wasn’t enough, Britta presented me with a little stash of badges she’s been working on, made from the quality control marks & recycling logos on salvaged packaging (‘Badgified Boxes‘, as we decided to call them!).  We worked together on the presentation, hand-cutting mount cards from discarded packaging lying around TangleCrafts HQ, together with low-fi hand-stamped title & by-line, using my DIY printing kit.

We had a fun afternoon (topped off by pizza!), and I was inspired to carry on with a little more Postal Patchworking the next day.  This one is a postcard, and I’m thinking of putting together a tutorial zine & possibly kit so that you can try it out yourself.

airmail arrow 1

As soon as I started laying down the stamps for the above ‘airmail’ arrow pattern, I started visualising alternative pattern variations which are crying out to be tried.  The problem with this Postal Patchworking – with any kind of patchworking, probably – is that there is an almost infinite number of variations for every pattern, and it’s simply impossible to act on them all!

I’m suffering slightly from ideas-overload at the moment, so am planning to scale back again on PP experiments while I try to let some of the other ideas that are buzzing around in my head chance to breathe (before they just spill out of my ears…).  Watch this space (&, of course, the TangleStore) for the results!

Pinwheel Patchwork Stampification

The second Postal Patchwork experiment:

Pinwheel Patchwork stampificationI’m loving the way the colours play against each other when the halved stamps are realigned with their mismatched partners!

I’ve sketched out lots of sample patterns, and have found myself far happier with designs measuring 4 x 4 stamps rather than 3 x 3 (or 3 x 4), due to the 4-way (and/or symmetrical) nature of this type of geometric patchwork pattern.

My head is buzzing with ideas but I will have to be patient until I have the stretch of time available to put them into action…

Progressing in Postal Patchwork…

Now THIS was fun!

Purple Postal PatchworkWhen I first started dabbling in patchwork-style collage with postage stamps, it was enough for me to see a variety of tone-on-tone colours in serendipitous side-by-side placement (left).  Today, however, my attraction to creating more collages using this style of stampification was definitely on the wane – lots of stamps everywhere around me, but somehow not quite the right level of inspiration…  (I have been in a state of what might be called overdrive since stampifying my first notebook and so this was a natural & perhaps overdue decline in enthusiasm.)  Then – out of nowhere! – I was motivated to return to my old favourite Machins and…start cutting them up!

Diamond Patchwork ExperimentAfter spending a little time pondering the absolute sameness of the Machin stamp design – each issue identical in size and image, the only variable being in the colour – I just wanted to see what would happen if I took one half away and replaced it with an identical half in a contrasting colour.  I’ll tell you what happened, it captured my imagination!

The diamond pattern notebook (above right) is the result of my first experiment, but I suspect an investigation into quilt block patterns may not be too far behind.  This postal patchwork technique has real possibilities!  As you can probably tell by my overuse of exclamation marks, I am genuinely caught up in enthusiasm for this idea.  Will post some more pics once time allows further experimentation…

Handwoven faux postage #3

handwoven letter collectionOver the last couple of days, I have been weaving yet more postcards.  Why? I hear you wondering…  Well, partly to try out some different yarns, partly to try out some alternative woven postage ideas, and partly for…another reason.  Where are the postcards going?  What are they for?  Well, this time I’m not sending them to myself, but I won’t say more than that for now – look out for updates!

handwoven postage 1My postcard from a couple of weeks ago (right) was woven with an aran weight knitting yarn.  The ‘stamp’ was a very basic surface needle-weave which hid the background weaving nicely.  The more recent postcards, however, were woven with a less bulky (dk) yarn – largely because I simply could not find the blues I was looking for in a heavier weight.  (I always find it surprising that despite the vast array of yarns out there, sometimes it’s impossible to find one that matches the colour in my mind’s eye…)

woven faux postage comparisonI soon discovered that the same simple needleweaving came nowhere close to covering the background.  I got around this by weaving diagonally (both directions) across the grid that was formed, and this did the trick.

For the sake of experimentation, I also tried weaving the ‘stamp’ as part of the main body of the postcard weaving, rather than as an embroidered addition on top.  I instantly liked the way the splicing together of the envelope & stamp colours gave the appearance of a serrated edge (well, at top & bottom, at least) and will most probably use this method again.

I still also want to experiment further with the matchbox loom, though, and applique a tiny weaving onto the postcard, instead.  Another day, though…!

The Handwoven Postcard Project

Spot the difference!

postcard 1a before & after

postcard 1b before & afterCan you spot the difference?  The weaving of Handwoven Postcard #1 appears remarkably unscathed & not at all traumatised by its little jaunt through the Royal Mail.

The address side bears an unfranked stamp, and a couple of very minor scars – if not for the postal ‘barcode’ overlapping the address box, it could easily be believed it had never left my hands or home (but it did!).  I’m very impressed by its survival skills & can’t wait to see if Postcard #2 fares quite so well…!

The Handwoven Postcard Project

Paper trials

Once upon a time, the Enchanted Times was but a small part of my creative output, which as a categorical Jill-of-all-trades flitted about from one craft to the next as the whim took me.  Well, to be fair, I do still flit about a bit, but also I appear to have settled so that one thing – the fairy tale theme – has become what I could call a specialism (at least when measured against the bits & bobs of…everything else).  So with that in mind, I decided that I really ought to make sure I was using the materials which best complimented these creations rather than just using what I had because it was there.

I actually really like the thick newsprint-type paper that I currently use for Enchanted Times Mini, but my home printer is less keen, and insists I hand-feed every sheet (otherwise it instantly jams), which can – obviously – be quite time-consuming.  So over Christmas I trialled several different recycled papers to find one that I liked aesthetically in terms of a ‘newspaper’ but also which my printer did not object to so vociferously.  The results:

  • The first was just the right shade of off-white/grey, printed crisply without jamming, but was not thick enough (wrinkled with block-colour areas).  This one is perfect for general office printing, though, and will definitely be made use of.
  • paper comparisonThe next was another pleasing shade of off-white with random speckling for a nice recycled appearance.  It was also a good weight & before it went into the printer I had high hopes for it.  Sadly – as you can see from centre sample (right) – it bled horribly, to the point where the text was almost illegible.  Even in plain black on white areas, the text instantly appeared faded.  Well, I can use it for testing layouts etc.  Or maybe we’ll just keep it as spare drawing paper for our god-daughter to use…
  • I also trialled a lovely creamy coloured hemp paper, which was also nicely speckled and a good weight.  This one printed beautifully in all respects – no problem with printer jamming & nice sharp text/images.  This one lost out only due to the overall colour which was simply not ‘newsy’ enough.  It will definitely be used for other future projects, though.
  • The winner you will see in action very soon.  It had very similar results to the hemp paper, but with a more newspapery, off-white colour & all-over speckling it better suited the task to hand.  And the printer likes it, too – yay!

In the meantime, you can pick up half-price copies of Enchanted Times Mini in the E.T.Printworks & Folksy stores while the old paper-stock is used up – the perfect opportunity to get Behind the Times!