June issue of Scrap & Stamp Arts magazine.
The article was Plike: The Pleasure From Touch!, and the subject was a marvelous paper, Plike, that is manufactured by Gruppo Cordenons in Milan. Yes--that mill is still running, still family-owned by the Gilberti family, and still producing quality papers. And one of their papers is Plike, unique for it's velvety, plastic-like feel. Yet no matter how it feels, Plike is made of cellulose. There is no plastic in it whatsoever.
Traditionally, Plike has been used for printing greeting cards, calendars, menus, luxury packaging, brochures, envelopes, and ... well, the list goes on, but surprisingly Plike is also excellent for crafting. In her article, Gail talks about her experiments with the paper, including her discovery that you can draw with a Sakura's Gellyroll pen and emboss the ink! If you can find a copy of the magazine, I highly recommend reading Gail's article for yourself (there were lots of other interesting articles too!).
|A selection of flowers folded from Ivory Plike paper, colored with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist. Centers of various kinds were adhered with Elmer's All-Purpose glue.|
To say the least, my curiousity was piqued. So I contacted Gruppo Cordenons' U.S. West Coast Regional Sales Manager Terri Hill and offered to review the paper.
We spoke a few days later. Terri explained that Plike is pulp-tinted, so the color is solid through-out. You won't find a white-core if you fold or score the paper. She spoke of the pride the company takes in being enviromentally responsible, assuring me that the water coming out of the mill is cleaner than the water that comes in. Plike is made from Elemental Chlorine Green (ECF) pulp from responsibly managed forests, is FSC-certified, and Cordenons is a charter member of UNESCO’s “Trust the Forest” program.
I did use some of the larger sheets, but due to several factors, such as the long drying times, I decided to use the Plike Swatch book for most of my examples. It's a very portable size, which meant I could carry it, and it wasn't in the way at my mother's very small apartment or the doctor's office and occasionally at the hospital, plus I could finish each example faster. AND I end up with a really cool Plike journal. I truly think Gruppo Cordenon's should consider selling the swatch books for art journaling!
|Front cover of Plike Journal. I cut an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of Royal Blue Plike. Decorated with Sakura White and Metallic Gellyroll pens. Long drying time--about 1/2 hour to surface dry.|
You've already been seeing some of the work I did in my posts over the last few weeks. You may have wondered what 'Plike' was. Now you know!
Acid and Lignin Free
Available in white and 13 colors
Weight / Caliper:
95 lb text (140g): 227 / 6 pt
63 lb cover (170g): 275 / 7pt - available in white only
122 lb cover (330g): 534 / 14pt
NOTE: I've saturated the pages and used the entire surface in most of these examples because I wanted to give the paper a workout. However,you do lose the 'Plike' feel if you cover too much of the page.
Between reading the article and my talk with Terri, I was concerned that Plike might be fairly limited in use. My concern was unfounded. You do need to be careful with drying times and the paper should be scored before folding.
|Photo printed on my Hp Photsmare C5580 inkjet printer.|
I used wet mediums and heat embossing. Any warping, buckling or dimpling straightened out on its own. I did get some very slight dimpling in the text weight with all-purpose glue, and the paper turned shiny on the back where the glue was applied.
Here I painted the right side with Twinkling H2O watercolors and then closed the book to transfer color to the left side. I used a rollerball pen to add my tangles on the left, and Sakura Gold Shadow gel pens on the right.
I had already used Micron Pigma pen on the Plike (shown farther down) with no problem, but when I tried to used it over the Twinkling H2O, the Micron begain to skip badly, and eventually stopped working all together. After working it on a piece of scrap paper, I got the flow started again.
Care will need to be taken if you mix meda on Plike. I've used Micron over Twinkling H2Os with other papers and had no problem. But the texture of the Plike changed after being wet. The roller ball didn't give me any problem, and when I switched to gellyrolls, I had no problem.
This is an envelope that is included in the Swatch book. I used Elmer's acrylic Painter pens. Whoa! Psychedlic!
The biggest disappointment for me was the way that alcohol markers acted on the paper. Even though Plike isn't glossy, it is coated and markers often don't do well on such papers. I couldn't avoid streaks, and the colors didn't want to blend. Since the ink dried slowly, I thought I might be able to pick up some of the color, but you can see the gray streak that was created when I tried. Still. I kind of like the effect, lol. I want to play around with this. I love it when the tools tell me what they want to do.
The ink does take a little longer than usual for drying, so some care must be taken not to smudge it. I used colored pencil to add the touches of color.
And speaking of colored pencil...
Another surprise. Plike is very smooth to the touch, but took colored pencil marvelously! I had to be careful because the color went down darker than was I used to, even with a light touch, and it practically glows. I did this birthday card on white Plike. I did a little rubbing of page to page to see if I could get color or wax transference, and I did not.
But colored pencil usually rubs off if you don't use a fixative or put it under glass or plastic. I don't have any fixatives (can't stand the smell!) so I didn't have any to try, and I don't know how Plike would react to one. I'd definitely try it first before using it on a finished piece.
The best thing about the colored pencil was that it didn't change the feel of the Plike even though I really saturated the page with color.
Since Gail Green's article, which started me on this adventure, mentioned embossing gellyroll pens, I had to try it.
I want to try a few things with the amount of ink used and heating times, so you'll be seeing more of this kind of work. The upshot is Sakura Gellyroll pens look awesome on Plike, no matter how you use them!
I drew this pattern with Stabilo's Erasable Colorkilla pens. Even though I used the black pen, it becomes a dark green on Plike. The color looks uneven in the scan, but it isn't on the actual page.
The Mortar pattern I'm sharing here is an enhancement rather than an actual pattern. You've all seen brick walls with their layers of mortar between the rows of bricks and you've probably seen diptychs or triptychs--pictures broken up into separate panels, that use a similar pattern. There are probably whole books devoted to why broken brick and mortar layout is so pleasing to the human eye. I'm not sure why we like it. We just do.
I've simply added a bulls-eye type pattern to my panels, but you could use many other tangle patterns or a mixture of them, with any number of panels. My horse example above uses 7 panels, one very large and 6 smaller ones. I've used the panel idea for the whole of my design, but you can also use for just part of the page.
It's the breaking apart--adding a layer of mortar (i.e. blank space) that gives the effect. It can be used to add a bit of elegance or interest to your tangles.
Plike is sensitive to oils and gunk on your fingers. Most fingerprints will fade, and they don't show on lighter paper, but can interfere with the results of your stamping. The broken images toward the bottom occurred because of something almost unseen on the paper.
Doily images from Viva Las Vegastamps! stamped stamped on Black Plike with Brilliance Starlight Silver. (Doilies 18847,18846, 18845). You'll be seeing these as part of another project in the future.
Another piece I have planned for a future project. I used a Fiskars stencil and stylus to dry-emboss this pattern on Pink Plike text weight, and intend to use it as a 3D border. Plike is both easy to cut and emboss in this way.
Despite the drying times, if you take a little care you can use almost any medium on Plike paper. Just remember that inks may feel dry to the touch, but will still rub off if pressure is applied too soon. So far, the only thing I wouldn't recommend (unless you really like to experiment) are alcohol markers such as Sharpies, Copics, Spectrum Noirs).
Covering too much of the page can result in the loss of that unique 'Plike' feel. Plike allows you to use many mediums that would buckle or dimple other papers. You can stamp, heat, emboss, and watercolor in small areas without losing the smooth, straight surface of the paper.
I know what I'll be doing for my Holiday Cards this year! The metallic colors on darker Plike is so striking and just screams Christmas and New Years to me.
You can buy Plike in 50 sheet sets at the Gruppo Cordenons Website, in 8 1/2x11, 12x12 and 11 x17 sizes in both the text and cardstock weights. As of this posting, the order forms have not been set up, so you should contact customer service for more information. Let them know the size and colors you are interested in.