Today's blog post subject is part of a regular challenge that I and quite a few other Stampin' Up! demonstrators get from the organizer of a group to which we belong. And I have to tell you that this one kind of threw me a curve. I had to think back to the last time I saw a really badly constructed greeting card and wondered what ONE thing could have helped that card not be quite so bad.
For a card to be truly bad, there has to be a lot wrong with it. After all, home made is heart made! But when I thought of this card, I remembered that the card base wasn't folded nicely; the cut edges were frayed; ink was smeared; the wrong kind of glue had been used to put it together; and the paper itself was not the best quality. In considering this card, I wondered what skill I could have taught the person who made it that might have helped her make a nicer card. Then it came to me: the skill is to learn how to understand the most important part of a card – the paper! Once you know what kind of paper you're dealing with, you have a much better chance to use it properly.
Here are some examples to explain what I mean:
Light vs. heavy paper.
- Light paper is much easier to fold than heavier paper. So you can get a nice, crisp fold with just a small amount of effort to crease it nicely. On the other hand, heavy paper, such as cardstock, is a better base for a greeting card. Knowing that will clue you in that you should score heavier paper before folding it. Stampin' Up! introduced Whisper White Thick Cardstock this year to provide us with a good heavy card base. I always score that, or any of the colored cardstock, before I fold it so that my folds are clean and crisp.
- Light paper doesn't take as much pressure to create a clean cut as heavier paper. Whether you're using scissors or a paper trimmer, you'll find you have to use a bit more pressure to get a clean, clear cut from a heavier paper than from light paper, such as Designer Series Papers. Stampin' Up!'s paper trimmer has a great cutting blade and surface. But the blade doesn't last forever – to keep your trimmer cutting smoothly whether your paper is heavy or light, replace it at the first sign of paper fraying.
Smooth vs. textured or porous paper.
- Smooth paper will take a stamped image without allowing the ink to spread into adjacent areas. Porous paper, such as construction paper, allows ink to sink into it and spread outside the lines of the stamped image. Textured paper, including watercolor paper and Specialty Designer Series Paper, or paper that you've texturized with an embossing folder, may not allow your stamped image to transfer completely. If you're not sure how your paper will react to being stamped, test a scrap-sized piece of it before you stamp on your project. Most Stampin' Up! cardstock, whether light or heavy, is made to accept a clean stamped image. You should definitely test any Designer Series Papers before you stamp on your project.
- Adhesives act differently on textured or porous paper than they do on smooth paper or cardstock. Liquid glue is likely to soak through porous paper. Monoadhesives may not adequately cover textured paper to allow it to fully adhere to another layer. And the list of how different adhesives act with different papers goes on! In the Stampin' Up! Catalog's description of their adhesives, you can get some information about how it should be used. But the best way to find out which adhesives are best in which situation is to ask your Stampin' Up! demonstrator – ME! That's where I really shine – helping you know which products to use with Stampin' Up! paper to best show it off!!
I'm sure you can imagine that knowing paper is a bit more complicated than this. But the key point here is to look at your paper before you start working with it to get to know it a bit better so that you can make the best use of it. And by all means, let me know if you have any questions! Yes, I use Stampin' Up! papers exclusively when I post projects on my blog. But I've used – and continue to use – papers from many other manufacturers. For example, as Stampin' Up! no longer sells alcohol markers and I like to use alcohol markers, I have several kinds of papers in my stash that are specifically designed to deal with the propensity of alcohol markers to leak through. So, yes, I may be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. But first and foremost, I'm an experienced paper crafter! And who better to help you with your own paper questions than someone with my experience!
Whatever kind of paper you're using, Happy Stamping!