New tangle pattern Mortar and Review of Plike paper

In 1715 the Doge of Venice gave the charter for the Valsugana paper mill to influential Venetian families.  In 1975, under the management of the Gilberti family, the mill began specializing in high-quality papers. And in 2012, I read an article by Gail Green in the 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.

Red Plike paper taped to wooden tags with 2-sided Miracle tape.  Fruit added with Dreamweaver Embossing Paste and stencils.  Shadows added with Tim Holtz Distress markers.  Long drying time--several hours, but it looks great, even though I didn't get the paste totally evened out.
Terri agreed to send me some 8 1/2 x 11 sheets as well as some swatch books.  I was very happy to receive the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets but I have to admit, my heart beat a little faster when I saw the swatch books.  We crafters go to all ends to make cool journals, and here I was presented with these nifty little sample books.  Not just Plike either.  I've been strict and not allowed myself to play with the other samples yet, but, I'm telling you--wool, silk--Gruppo Cordenons makes some really interesting paper!

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.  
The covers of my journal were done with the 122 lb cover weight (similar to heavy cardstock), and the inside pages were all text weight (similar to heavy printer paper).

Inside cover of Plike Journal.  I  stamped the words using Paris Trunk Amythest dye-based ink and then cut out free form shapes with scissors (would that be fussy cutting?).  After gluing them to the other half of the Royal Blue Plike, I rubbed Brilliance Moonlight White and Cosmic Copper through Gauche Alchemy punchinella strips.  The last step was to add Washi tape for a border.

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!

Nope.  This isn't a Hershey bar, lol!  It's a 7 gypsies 'Disclaimer' stamp  image embossed with Judi Kins 'Chablis' Embossing powder on brown Plike.  

The 'Disclaimer' stamp is huge!  8 1/2 x 11.  I was concentrating so hard on placing it just right...and the phone rang.  Boom!  I dropped the stamp and had to make do with what I got, lol!  Most of it came out very nicely.  I stippled Brilliance Moonlight White ink on the bottom where the images smeared.

I cut the Plike sheet into three pieces--the smeared and stippled bit is now the inside back cover, the next bit went onto the back cover, and I had a nice strip left over for a bookmark.  I used 2-sided Miracle tape to tape the pieces down and added a border of Washi tape.

The washi tape had to be glued down to make it stay put.  However, I've had the same problem with washi on other papers.
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.
You can print on Plike with an inkjet printer but it isn't recommended because of the drying time.  I tried it, and found that even at photo-quality the detail is soft and unfocused.  The effect isn't unpleasing.  I've used photo programs to get just that look.  But you'll have more control over your results with toner and laser printers.

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.

I think the biggest surprise was how well Micron Pigma pen and American Craft Precision pen worked on the Plike.  The lines are bright and clear.  Even though my scanner shows spots in the darker areas, they don't show in the original work.

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.

Here, I used a VersaMark Watermark Stamp pad on black Plike and Judy Kin's Chablis  Embossing Powder for the Tangle (18812 ) at the top, and Ranger's Snow Embossing Powder for the Bird Thingie (18821).  Then I colored in with Sakura Gold Shadow, white and metallic gel pens.  The embossed tangle gets a little lost in the scan, but it looks pretty cool when you move it around in the light!

Since Gail Green's article, which started me on this adventure, mentioned embossing gellyroll pens, I had to try it.

The gellyroll ink didn't give me as much of a raised surface as I get with embossing powders.  I also got some color transference, which tells me that the ink wasn't completely dry after heating, even though I thought it was.

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.

So far the stamped images I've shown you were stamped in Versamark Watermark ink and embossed, but I discovered that Plike is excellent for stamping.

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.