Thank you to the parchment crafters who have taken the time to find my blog. This weeks questions are all about parchment craft paper.
What is the best parchment craft paper to use?
Parchment crafters or Parchers usually work with three main weights. 160gsm, 150gsm and 140gsm.
140gsm , 150gsm or 160gsm
(gsm = grams per square metre) this is a European measurement term – specifically measuring paper
I am focusing on the following questions:
What is the best paper for a beginner?
What difference does the weight of the paper make to embossing and perforating?
What is the most popular paper?
Here are some thoughts collected from tutors and parchment crafters about the qualities of the different weights of paper. I need to thank parchment craft tutor Sharon Mills for collecting all this information. I hope this is helpful to any beginner looking to buy some parchment craft paper.
While you are reading this blog, think about how you emboss, would you say you were ‘heavy handed’ or ‘light handed’?
Working with 140g paper
This was quite a popular choice with some of the more experienced tutors. It is ideal for embossing and perforating and some painting. When Embossing this weight of paper – it is thinner so you need to be gentle, but on the other hand the paper warms and stretches with the lightest of touch so will be easier to work.
This parchment allows the perforating to feel easier and smoother.
When re-perforating take care not to push the snips or scissors in too far, this weight is more delicate than 150g or 160g.
If you are doing a project with a lot of grid-work and cut-work – my opinion would be to recommend 150g or 160g.
However this lighter weight is easier to cut with the snips or scissors.
This weight is more cost efficient.
Working with 150g paper
This is a very popular weight stronger and favoured by a lot of well known designers and tutors. Pergamano paper is usually 150g.
An excellent all purpose weight for embossing, perforating, pencil work and painting, ideal for using with the PCA templates or the Groovi system and also when working with the metal grids.
150g paper embosses, perforates and cuts nicely .
It is just a little more costly than 140g paper
Working with 160g paper
This is a more robust parchment also widely used. A lot of parchers have used this weight paper when they have been taught at workshop/ retreats. I like the 160g paper, but it is thicker – so as you work it – be careful not to tear the parchment especially when cutting or snipping. I would use this for the larger more intricate pieces of work, it’s ideal for everything including painting, pencil work.
Important tips for all weights
Parchment craft paper is a delicate medium, so care should be taken at all times ,no matter what technique is being used.
It is highly absorbent so be careful to have dry hands, and if painting, do not use too much water.
When using the parchment no matter what weight- change embossing mats to suit the Parchment you are working with.
Embossing mats briefly
Embossing mats are much thinner than perforating mats, there are several types available: the softest is the foam mat such as the Pergamano Blue mat, a medium soft mat is, for example, a silicone mat such as the Pergamano Pink Mat (sold in a tube), and the hardest mat is the rubber mat.
With both parchment paper and mats you have to try different combinations out to see which works best for you. If you are heavy handed, for example, perhaps a rubber mat and 160g paper combination might work. Many beginners find they are heavy handed at first but as they get more experience they get lighter handed.
How can I keep the parchment paper from curling so much when parching?
Parchment paper is very absorbent, and if you have hot hands this will make it curl. Use a parchment protector or a piece of folded kitchen roll between your hand and the paper. Also when you leave the parchment overnight, or to rest, I think it helps to place the parchment under a book – so it rests in a flat situation.
How do I avoid so much cracking as I parch and perforate ?
If the parchment is cracking you are probably doing too much too quickly. To prevent the parchment from fracturing – when you perforate and emboss in the same area – the technique is to mark the perforations by ‘shallow perforating’, then emboss, then re- perforate deeper using the marker holes of the shallow perforations. Also check the type of parchment you are using is it 140g, 150g or 160g? It may work for you with a different weight paper.
I want to whiten my project more but it seems to not be able to – or that’s when it fractures maybe I am still going too fast or maybe the embossing pad isn’t suitable?
Yes it is possible that you are trying to work too quickly. Try to work slowly layer by layer. Start with an Extra Large or Mega ball tool and emboss lightly for the first layer, leave the parchment to rest and do something else for an hour. The next layer use a Large ball tool and rest the parchment again, continue using smaller ball tools to get the whiter effect, leave it to rest after each layer, work like this until you are happy with the result. There is some advice for mats above but maybe you need a harder mat such as a rubber mat.
I can thoroughly recommend a small project based book by Dorothy Holness called ‘Embossing Step by Step’ available from Perfect Pattern Box as a downloadable book.
Do you mail products to the US? Or know anywhere in the US I can buy these products?
I know it is difficult to find the equipment for parchment craft in the UK ,which is where I am. I do not know of shops in the US but if anyone does – and wants to place it in the comments section please do. Perfect Parchment Craft does ship world wide.