Perfect perforations?

ghana stampRecently I posted a comparison chart of perforation methods for faux postage stamps, and the results thereof. But today, while I was sorting through some excess real postage stamps for clearance, I came across this lovely (tiny!) stamp from Ghana. I have no idea of its age, but I assume its quite likely that more recent stamps from the same region have the ‘perfect’ perforations we generally associate with postage stamps; but I truly love the imperfection of this little sample. It was sold & sent exactly as you see, and I’m sure no-one once questioned why the perforations were not pristine.

Why am I bothering to share this? I just thought it might help assuage doubts if you are afraid your own faux postage doesn’t look ‘professional’ enough. Clearly it does! (And anyway, in mail art, the individuality of your stamps is what makes them more interesting. So there.)

Faux postage trials, Part 1

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 perforation comparison(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. fayc perforations 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:

perforation flow charts

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.

Artistamp by Sam Farman, AustraliaA 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!

Click here for my original Faux Postage Q & A from 2010...

Friends & Faux is back!

I first hosted Friends & Faux back in 2010 and although slightly fewer project postcards made it home due to my moving house (twice) than might otherwise have done, it was still an awesomely fun project to co-ordinate.  The project postcards feature ‘gallery’ spaces for 8 artistamps/faux postage stamps, and are filled up as they are passed from one mail artist to the next before the completed card finally returns home.  I recently compiled 3 mini-zines showcasing the completed postcards that arrived home safely.  And I’ve also been preparing for a re-launch of the project…

FF1

ff logoFriends & Faux (version 2) has a new logo, plus its very own blog where I will be posting regular updates on postcards sent out into the world, progress reports from participants as they add their artistamps, and, of course, the homecoming celebrations!  I will also add random faux postage/mail art snippets, on occasion.  During F&F Version 1, I was alerted to the fact that some of my handmade postcards did not withstand the rigours of multiple mailings too well (peeling surfaces etc) so I have had the new postcards professionally printed to hopefully avoid a similar fate.  And if I move house again (please join me in hoping not!), I have implemented a new way of accessing the postcard return address, so hopefully I will be able to keep on top of any unexpected changes much better this time around..,

As of yesterday, the first 20 postcards are on their way out to who knows what adventures in the world, and more will follow in the near future.  Friends & Faux postcardIf you would like to learn more about the project, please visit the F&F blog, and if you would like to join in the project, you will find a brand new Friends & Faux Filately section in theTangleStore.  In fact, you can request an F&F postcard as an absolutely free add-on with any purchase at all from the TangleStore or ETPrintworks.  More news to follow, as it occurs! 🙂

I’ll let you into a secret…

F&F Mini #1…do you remember the Friends & Faux mail art project I hosted back in 2010?  Well, it’s about to return!  I’m currently in the process of building a new blog so that updates can be kept together all in one place.  Due to moving house multiple times following the inception of the first run of the project, I did sadly let it slide off the back-burner once the initial wave of postcards was sent out.  If you helped me track the project by forwarding a pic of one of the project postcards, though, please rest assured your reward (mini zine documentation) will finally be on the way to you within the next week.  And I promise I have learned from my mistakes and will be far more efficient, this time around!  Full details of the new project to follow shortly…

Beanie Mouse with F&F #1
Beanie Mouse with F&F #1

While I was working on the new Friends & Faux blog yesterday, I was reminded of one of the contributors to the very first F&F postcard – Beanie Mouse!  Beanie is star of the Found Art Blog, c/o Andrea McNeill.  Together, they create and then ‘lose’ labelled artwork around the south of England and the rest of the world, while the blog documents all the artwork as it is lost and then found again by happily unsuspecting members of the public.  As I was browsing, I soon learned that Beanie is a somewhat prolific mail artist and artistamp creator.  Above, you can see Beanie with Postcard #1 after adding his stamp, but this barely scratches the surface of his vast catalogue (album?) of work:

Photos used with kind permission of Andrea McNeill.  Please visit Found-Art for further adventures of Beanie Mouse!

MORE Christmas cards (Fast-As-You-Can!)

Even though for once I was relatively organised & had actually made a small batch of Christmas cards before December even began, I decided I needed just a smidge more variety for all that last-minute card-sending.  I should have thought of it sooner, really, but the first part of December always disappears in a flurry of time lost, and for some reason the thought only just formulated itself.  So there you go & here they are.

festive fayc cardMy little Santa-hatted Fast-As-You-Can Courier stamps have been adorning all outgoing ETPrintworks mail for the last couple of weeks, and I decided they needed a little showcase.  A mini-sheet of festive FAYC stamps is mounted on the front of the card, and the reverse has been printed so that it can later be upcycled as a postcard by the recipient (as per the Evergreen Greetings).  The back of the card features a brief introduction to the Fast-As-You-Can CoCo, and is hand-stamped with the FAYC postmark.  I’ve been long overdue in designing a FAYC CoCo envelope, so I popped that into the mix, too…  I’m really happy with them, and hopeful that my speedy little gingerbread couriers will hasten them to their recipients in time for ‘the big day’, even despite the late date.

I have an extra batch already made up, so if you want to chance a last-minute order, I have added stock to the ETPrintworks and Folksy stores & will despatch all orders received ASAP.  I will, however, be leaving them available to purchase year-round, just in case anyone actually wants to plan ahead next year! 😉

Happy Day of the Dandelion!

I love dandelions!  You probably guessed that, from the latest TangleStamp, Dandelion Smile, currently at the top of the sidebar…  Marguerite Keen of Piccadilly Post creates dandelion smiles by sending people ‘real mail’ (because who doesn’t love real mail, instead of bills, and statements etc…?), and yesterday I was lucky enough to receive one of her lovely missives. I was entertained before even opening the envelope, because it is always fun to see a TangleStamp on somebody else’s mail!  Inside, as well as a letter, was a collection of randomness which Marguerite tells me she themed by colour – and the reason for this post is simply because of how much I absolutely love the gorgeous ‘Oh Happy Day’ (vintage?) paint sample card she included.  I think I might have to frame it…
I love it so much, I’m going to post it again below, solo, in all its wonderful dandelion glory, to brighten up the weekend! 😀

 

(Click here to snaffle your own bit of Piccadilly Post Real Mail.)

I wonder if dandelions do have their own day of celebration…? Does anybody know?   If not, I might just nominate today as the official Day of Dandelion Happiness… 😀

Friends & Faux – more wanderers return!

My apologies for both the brevity and tardiness of this post.  The first 2 of these postcards returned home in early January and despite best intentions (mostly due to the sudden preparations for moving house) failed to give them the fanfare they deserved upon arrival.  They arrived within a day of each other which I did find entertaining.  The third arrived right at the end of January.  I am supposed to be packing right now (the postcards themselves are now packed, along with everything but my laptop) so I will not comment further, and instead allow these well-travelled postcards to speak for themselves: 🙂

To those who have requested to join the Friends & Faux project since December, I extend further apologies.  There are a couple of you that I promised postcards to but have not yet sent.  These will now be despatched after I unpack at the new place.  At this point, I am also closing the project and will not be sending any additional postcards out after these last few.  The time has come to sit back & watch the postcards travel under their own momentum, and – hopefully – find their way back to me.  If you have custody of a postcard ready to embark upon the final leg of its journey, please contact me for the new postal address.  However, if you send or have sent to the address printed on the card, it will still reach me, as all my post will be re-directed.  Thank you to everyone who has helped keep this project moving! 😀

TangleClub February Update

Well, who’d’ve thunk it?  Just over 2 weeks until moving day and despite having had 2 days off work, have I done any packing?  Of course not!  Following on from my diversionary sketchbook discussion yesterday (thanks all for chiming in!) I have since spent some happy hours preparing a mini arti-philately album for you lovely TangleClubbers to store your faux postage.  (Because I’m sure everything will pack itself if I just leave it long enough…! 😉 )  So head on over to the TangleClub Archive and you can claim your February freebie.

If you’re brave enough, the Etsy Store will still be up & running for the next week or so, and there are some lovely free samples from my Etsy friends up for grabs, if you do.   You’ll notice stock is currently somewhat depleted: this is because I have only left up items which are already made up & ready to be lovingly stuffed into an envelope.  The store will be closed again from mid-month, as I am expecting to be off-line for a while after the move.  However, I really truly honestly have lots of new things to add once everything has settled down a little (not to mention the return of some old favourites).  So continue bearing with me – another month, & it’ll be like all this house-moving nonsense never happened, promise. 🙂

Handwoven faux postage!

Well, it could be.  I’ve been meaning to make a matchbox weaving loom ever since writing my Borrowers zine, and today, I finally got around to it, and I even remembered to scan each step of the way:

Cut down to basics, all you need to do is:

  • Snip notches at approx. 3mm intervals along the short edges of a 32ct matchbox tray.  (My advice: mark it out first!  I ended up with 7 notches, but an even number will work better when it comes to ‘finishing’/removing from loom.)
  • Warp loom.  I warped all the way from one end to the other, around the back of the loom and back to starting point.  See finishing tips below for how the way you warp will affect your options.
  • Use matches woven under and over alternate threads to adjust tension, as required.  I removed the matchsticks as the weaving grew, so that I could weave all the way to the top of the loom.
  • Weave!  I used a (hand-dyed) variegated perle 5 cotton to get a stripy effect without having to change threads too often.  Using a needle will help you when weaving.  I used the needle I use for bookbinding, because it happened to be to-hand; but the book-binding needle is a sharp, and a blunt-ended tapestry needle would be far better advised!  Visit my weaving freebies page for basic/additional weaving instructions.
  • Removing your weaving from the loom will depend on how you have warped:
  1. If you have an even number of warps and warped all around the outside of the matchbox tray, snip across the threads in the centre of the matchbox reverse.  Tie off warp threads in pairs, and trim to preferred length of fringe.
  2. If you warped your loom back and forth around notches (across front of loom only), carefully nudge loops off notches and thread onto matchsticks for a miniature wall-hanging.

Well, it entertained me, so hope you will enjoy this little (no pun intended 😉 ) project, too.  Let me know if you try this out – would love to see pictures!