Add Natural Texture of Mulberry Paper to an ImagePosted by Admin on June 27th, 2011
High resolution photos are hard to find without purchasing. If you are looking for photos to use as backgrounds in your artwork, look no further. To download this week’s image, click on it. When the high resolution copy appears, right click on it to copy or save it.
The 11×17-inch scanned image of mulberry paper can be used as a background in graphic design or photo illustration, crafts or greeting cards, and gives the appearance of natural texture. Any time you are printing and desire a paper color and texture other than white, consider scanning a natural, handmade paper, where each sheet is unique.
Clear bags protect greeting cards and morePosted by Nancy Haberman on March 18th, 2011
Clear bags aren’t just for greeting cards and note cards. These crystal clear sleeves have all the benefits of double-sided full color envelopes at a fraction of the cost. Clear bags are suitable to send through the U.S. postal service, provided you follow a few simple rules.
A clean, white label area on the inside or outside of the package, preferably, but not necessarily, with a bar code. Bulk postage, bar code and address information can be printed directly on the the mailer, while postage stamps must be canceled; therefore they must be affixed to the outside of the sleeve in the proper position. It’s always best to check your design, printing and mailing plans with your local post office to confirm current postal regulations.
Benefits of clear mailers are huge. There’s no question that we’re hooked and will open “The Printer’s Glove of Choice!”. There’s some depth to the package, so surely there are samples inside, and the Golden Arches help seal the deal. The Aflac mailer, like all of Kaplan Thaler’s (Aflac’s ad agency), advertising, is enticing and clever. Because the envelope is see-through, the duck’s layered feathers reveal a unique die cut brochure, different enough to catch anyone’s eye and encourage them to open the envelope. Aflac’s mailer does not disappoint, unless, of course, you were expecting sound effects.
You can find clear mailing envelopes in a variety of size and seal styles by clicking on this link on the clear bags page.
Fashion colors of 2011 highlightedPosted by Nancy Haberman on February 16th, 2011
“Designers take a painterly approach to fall 2011 by artfully combining bright colors with staple neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Much like a painter’s masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season’s palette.”
And because designing on paper and designing for fashion are so closely related, it’s worth taking a look at the fashion world’s color selection for 2011.
Cardmaking: Creating depth with cutoutsPosted by Stephanie Ferguson on August 31st, 2010
by Nancy Haberman
Recently I assisted a colleague who was learning the finer points of Adobe Illustrator’s pen tool. Our goal was to create images that would adorn products related to the sea. The resulting artwork of a seahorse was intricate and stunning, and a discussion followed about using it on a greeting card.
Commercial greeting card publishers have forever pushed the envelope when it comes to greeting card presentation techniques, relying heavily on high end print and print finishing processes. While holographic and lenticular printing are too pricey for the average working artist and crafter, other finishes like die cutting, embossing and engraving are now within reach of those willing to invest in new desktop equipment and take the time to learn how to use it.
The desktop publishing revolution turned artists and crafters into self-publishers. Fast forward 25 years later, and a trip to Border’s, Target or any greeting card store reveals that it takes more to excite the eye of a card buyer in 2010 than cheap two-dimensional Photoshop effects, long ago passé. Read the rest of this entry »
Greeting Cards: Simple, Fun, Classy and Budget ConsciousPosted by Stephanie Ferguson on February 11th, 2010
In today’s economy, every penny counts. Making classy, creative, expensive-looking greeting cards, invitations, place cards, bookmarks, and envelopes to match, will fit into any budget. All you really need are 3 things to get started, and chances are good that you already have them: paper, glue and scissors.
You can actually create your own cards and envelopes with any type of paper you choose, but if you just want to dive right into decoration, you may want to start out with ready made blank cards and envelopes. Blank cards are a perfect way to get started making professional looking cards even if you are just beginning. They truly leave you little room for error!
So, once you’ve either purchased or made your blank cards, it’s time for the really fun part. Read the rest of this entry »
Papercut design leads to Louie Award winning cardsPosted by Admin on February 11th, 2010
by Nancy Haberman
My fascination with paper cutting and paper crafting began in the 70s at an exhibition of Jewish folkart at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles. To be honest it probably began in kindergarten when I was given a pair of scissors and colored construction paper, but then that would be a different post.
I suppose an attraction to the graphic nature of paper cuts is not uncommon given that many religious and cultural traditions have used paper cutting in their folk art and marriage documents for centuries. I saw a lot of this kind of art on the walls of friends and family – they are part of my earliest memories.
How do I measure my artwork for matting?Posted by david on December 29th, 2009
By David Heyman
A mat makes any image look more professional. Even without a frame, simply matting your photographs or artwork will do wonders for the presentation, and sales potential, of the work.
Although mats come in many standard sizes, if you are working with custom size images, or anything that is done on a paper that is a creative size, your mat will need to be custom cut. Oak Creek Printworks offers custom cut mats, at a cost relative to a standard size mat, with no extra charges.
How to give the correct measurements for a custom mat is one thing that many artists find confusing. Since custom cut mats are cut to order, it is important to have your borders and window measurements accurate. While you can always call David, our custom picture framer, at (805) 390-4955, with any questions on sizing of borders and windows, the following is a guide that will give you reliable results:
- Measure the outside edges of your image. Do not assume your image is a certain size. You may have ordered an 8″ x 10″ photograph, but the image actually measures 7-7/8″ x 9-7/8″. If you are matting artwork on paper with an uneven edge, such as a deckle edge, measure the narrowest part of the horizontal and vertical sides, as shown in this photo.
* Add photo of deckle edge watercolor paper, showing w/ ruler how to measure*
- Decide if you want even borders for your mat, or a weighted edge. Some people feel that having the bottom border of the mat slightly wider makes the image seem more centered when viewed from a distance. This is called an “optically centered” window.
- How wide do you want your mat? A narrow mat allows the image to stand out more and can fit a tight frame. A wide border gives the work dramatic presence and can transform a small image into a large piece. Whichever you decide is up to you, it is just a matter of personal taste. Here are examples of both styles:
- When you have this information, perform these two simple calculations, and you are ready to go: To get the outside dimension of the mat, add the horizontal dimension, the width of the mat and the width of the mat again. For example, if your image is 8″ x 10″, and you want a 4″ wide border, add 8 + 4 + 4 = 16″. Do the same with your vertical dimension, in this example – 10″ + 4 + 4 = 18″. So your outer mat dimension is 16″ x 18″.
- The second calculation is your window size. That is simply your image size, minus a slight amount for overlap. Since the window will cover the edges of the image, it needs to be slightly smaller than the artwork. We recommend a 1/4″ overlap, which will allow enough room for overlap and attachment to the back of the mat. In our example, with an 8″ x 10″ image, your window size would then be 7-3/4″ x 9-3/4″.
With practice, this process becomes second nature, and can be quickly transformed into a host of eye-catching sizes for all of your pieces. Taking a little time to measure your own custom mats can save you much time when preparing your shows and matted prints. Which will then give you more time to do what you do best – creating!
The Benefits of Archival MatsPosted by david on December 11th, 2009
by David Heyman
The function of a mat is to give breathing space around your artwork or photograph, letting the eye have a place to “rest” while taking in the image. A blank, neutral mat border surrounding the work adds class and transforms what could be a snapshot into a real work of art. Notice the transformation of this image from a plain poster frame, into a professional, gallery quality display, just by the addition of a mat.
Mats come in many shapes, sizes, colors and textures. However, one crucial element is often overlooked when selecting a mat: whether or not it is archival in quality.
The majority of mats on the market today are made from wood pulp, the same substance used to make mass-produced paper. While paper products made from wood pulp are inexpensive and abundant, their use in displaying and protecting artwork is limited, due to their rapid decay and discoloration.
Wood fiber contains lignin, an acidic substance that is a cellular component of trees. When that fiber is made into paper, including mats, the lignin remains in the finished product, making it a ticking time bomb for eventual disintergration.
Acid causes mats to yellow, staining your artwork in the process. Gone unchecked, a paper mat will eventually turn brown and become brittle, spreading acid burn on to your work. While substances can be added to the paper fibers to slow down the deterioration, they are temporary, and no mat made with wood pulp is suitable for archival use. Look at the effects of a wood pulp mat on this photograph:
The finest mats are made with cotton, a fiber that is naturally free from lignin. 100% cotton mats will never yellow, turn brittle or damage your valuable work. Although initially more expensive than the imported mats made with wood pulp, Oak Creek Printworks Bainbridge Alphamats are a good investment, ensuring that your art is protected and will never be ruined by the careless addition of an acidic mat.
When choosing a mat for your work, never settle for “acid-free”. This is a term thrown about so often it has become almost meaningless. Anything can be labeled acid-free, but that doesn’t mean it will last. An acidic wood pulp mat that is sprayed with an akaline coating is called “acid-free”. Yet the acid in the mat will quickly overcome the coating, and it will have worn off even before the mat is used for diplay.
Here are some criteria to use when selecting a fine quality archival mat:
- Is it made from wood pulp, “high alpha cellulose”, or 100% cotton? Nothing is as stable and naturally archival as cotton.
- Is the mat just “acid-free” or is it truly archival? An archival mat never needs to be processed or coated to have acid removed, as there is no acid to begin with.
- Are your mats imported from China, or made in the USA? Don’t be fooled by offers of “acid-free” imported mats that are too good to be true. Our archival mats, in a bright white, cream, black and gray, are made in the US, and cut right here at our studio.
One quick way to check if the mats you have are truly archival - look at the bevel (the slanted cut right next to the window of the mat). Wood pulp mats start out with a yellowish core, which quickly turns brown, as shown in these photos. A cotton mat starts out with a bright white core.
Your artwork is your passion. Never compromise or hurt your images with an acidic mat.
Perfect Folds Give Greeting Cards Professional FinishPosted by Admin on December 16th, 2008
On the surface, folding paper appears to be a pretty straightforward subject, but in fact, for artists and crafters who are creating their own note cards, greeting cards and other stationery products, understanding each paper’s specific characteristics can make the difference between an average card and an extraordinary one.
Creating the perfect fold doesn’t really require an understanding of the paper manufacturing process, but it sure does help to explain why folds sometimes go terribly wrong.
In the manufacturing process, paper begins as a mushy soup, which is forced through a fine screen with enough pressure to squeeze the liquid out of the mix. As the fibers of the paper mixture blend and settle into position, they align in a single direction establishing the ‘grain’ of the paper. Chapter 6 in Getting it Printed, by Mark Beach, Steve Shepro, and Ken Russon, is titled ‘Paper and Ink,’ and provides an encyclopedic review of papers’ characteristics and the paper-making process.
Since greeting cards are typically printed on a cover weight paper or a card stock, it is necessary to score the card before folding in order to prevent the paper from cracking. Without scoring, the greeting card may have a bumpy, unsightly fold, even more so if folded against the grain, in which case cracking is likely. The pressure of scoring crushes the paper fibers along the precise path of the fold on the greeting card.
You may also hear scoring referred to as ‘creasing.’ While the tools and equipment that compress the paper fibers may differ, in either case a depression is made on the outside of the greeting card, usually by a 2-3 pt. rounded die or other smooth, hard tool. Some machines pass the paper under a roller to create an debossed depression; others have an arm operated by a lever that pulls a bar down to create the depression. When the bar on the creasing device crushes the paper fibers, a small beaded impression results on the opposite side of the paper. The bead is the result of crushing the fibers in a perfectly straight line, allowing the paper to practically fold itself.
If you are printing your cards at a commercial printer, they know how paper behaves and they will take measures to insure that your cards are properly scored and folded. If you are printing or otherwise creating your own greeting cards, the scoring is up to you.
Do-it-yourselfers have traditionally relied on bone, plastic, or ivory tools to create the line of compressed fibers. When the scoring tool is dragged with pressure along a metal straight edge ruler, the paper fibers are depressed and crushed, creating a raised bead on the opposite side of the paper. This may or may not work well. I consider it a risky method, frequently less than perfect.
The growth in paper crafts, card-making and scrapbook arts has created a demand for improved scoring tools for artists and printers doing very short runs.
Crafters Companion, tested and recommended by the Creative Home Arts Club, is a handy tool for artists, card-makers, or anyone who wants to make clean, smooth folds, whether on handmade cards, envelopes or boxes. The Score Boards combine everything necessary to easily score paper and card stock.
Top Score Multiboard
Create the perfect crease and fold with the Top Score Multiboard, the quintessential tool for do-it-yourselfers crafting handmade note cards, greeting cards and boxes. The double-sided card-making aide provides templates for scoring the crease in the exact position for A2, A7, and A8 (half letter) cards, as well as a number of other folds that can be created from papers cut to various sizes. The Multiboard doubles as an embossing tool, with a variety of lines and shapes from which to choose. The fully illustrated instructions demonstrate the following folds and card ideas:
- basic half fold
- pop out card
- creating a custom sized box
- triangular boxes
- diamond shaped boxes
- window boxes
- wedge, or cone shaped boxes
The Top Score MultiBoard includes a free embossing tool and complete instructions!
List Price $24.99
Your Price $19.95
Create dynamic envelopes using virtually any paper in a variety of styles and sizes. Contrasting art papers make great liners for a stunning presentation of your hand made greeting cards. Includes a free embossing tool and complete instructions!
List Price $24.99
Your Price $19.95
This step-by-step instructional video walks you through a wide variety of techniques for creating professional folds on handmade greeting cards, boxes and envelopes. Use your computer or DVD player on your TV. Over 60 minutes of great ideas and a visual tutorials.
List Price $14.99
Your Price $9.99
By ordering these two award winning tools together you will get the instructional DVD Free; an easy to follow step-by-step video that shows you how to use these tools.
List Price $59.97
Your Price $39.90