Monday, 19 November 2007

Research into the creative use of…

Paper, inks and special finishes


How its made:

* As every craftsperson will tell you, it all begins by using only the very finest materials. We take great care to collect super-fresh sheep poo from the beautiful (and rainy) mountains of rural Wales and take it back to the mill, situated in southern Snowdonia. We don't just make Sheep Poo Paper™ and for our other papers we use waste paper, rag and textile off-cuts and just about anything else we can think of that has good length cellulose fibers in it. Of course, we don't use tree - we like trees.

The girlsWe like trees!

* The sheep poo we have collected is completely sterilized by boiling it in a specially designed pressure cooker at over 120 degrees centigrade (using only the purest Welsh mountain water, of course) and then washed repeatedly over a period of days until it has lost approximately half its original weight (Sheep Fact: a sheep only digests 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats).
* The washing process produces a big pile of usable fibers and, as a by-product it also produces a clean, sterile, rich, liquid fertilizer which we store in a tank at the mill and pass on to local growers. (Do you want some fertilizer? Why not contact us to ask?)
* It takes many hours to beat the cellulose fiber and blend it with other recycled pulps until it reduces to a pulp suitable for making paper. This is a difficult process to get right and the exact method is a closely guarded secret.

Pulp ready for making paperSpecialist equipment

* Using only traditional papermaking techniques we then form the pulp into sheets using special sieves (called a "mould and deckle") and lay them out in stacks using felt in between each sheet to keep them from sticking together.
* The stacked and felted sheets are then pressed under huge pressure to remove most of the remaining water and encourage the cellulose fibers to bond at a molecular scale - this is what gives the paper its strength. Hanging the paper up in the roof rafters of the mill to season them finishes off the drying process.

Sieving - the fun part!

* We also make some of our paper using a very old working example of a 'Fourdrinier' continuous papermaking machine which we periodically hire from a UK papermaking museum - this machine sprays the liquid pulp onto a continuous moving mesh and the water is squeezed out between heated rollers - this gives a stunningly smooth finish, although you can still see the flecks in the paper that come from the sheep poo.
* You don't need to have all the expensive specialist equipment we use at the mill to make a little paper at home though. Why not have a go at making some paper yourself?


Ink is available in dozens of standard colours and hundreds of non-standard inks which are called Pantones, which have there very own distinct colour, number reference and price!
The following is a list of some of the standard ink colours provided by many label suppliers:

* The ink can be applied in various ways:
o Spot Colour - colours applied using separate plates to add colour in specific areas, each plate having a different image that is printed.
o Duotones - two halftone images, which were produced using different screen angles that are printed over each other. Duotones are generally printed in black and another colour.
o Tritones - three halftone images, produced at different screen angles, which were made from the same image and then printed over each other in three different colours.
o Quadtones - four halftone images, produced at different screen angles, which were made from the same image and then printed over each other in four different colours.
o Process Colour - four process colours, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, printed on top of each other. Each colour uses the same image produced at varying intensities, to reproduce a full colour image.
o High Fidelity Colour (hi-fi) - a method of colour printing which utilizes additional process ink colours to produce a greater range of colour.
o Prismatic Ink - the blending of two or more colours in a single printing unit. This produces a blend of colour that is difficult to duplicate. It is most often used as a security feature.

Specialist Inks

* UV Inks - UV inks provide denser ink coverage than conventional inks. They cause minimal dot gain, resulting in excellent quality when printing fine lines, vignettes and process colour. The ink must be cured by a UV light source, which hardens the ink rather than the ink drying as it does when conventional inks are used. UV ink also provides rub resistance, chemical resistance, colour consistency and opacity. A negative aspect of UV inks is that it has environmental issues which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.
* Glitter Ink - Glitter ink contains flucks of shinny mylar that result in a printed image with a shiny reflective look. This ink is used on labels to create special effects.
* Metallized Ink - The use of metallized inks can give your label a distinctive look. They can give your label the look of foil. Different types of metallic powders are blended into the ink such as aluminium powder to create the look of silver and bronze powder to create the look of gold.

Paper Finishing

There are many different types of finishing including die cutting, drilling, scoring, folding, creasing and kiss cutting. There are also many different coatings that can be applied to give a different look and feel.

UV Spot Varnish
Spot varnish is a high gloss UV varnish applied to selected areas of a printed image to enhance the product impact or form part of the graphic design. A raised texture can be achieved using UV Spot Varnish this is known as High Build UV.

UV Textured Varnish
UV textured varnish is a satin effect textured coating applied to selected areas of a Printed image to form a tough protective barrier to the underlying print surface that enhances product impact.

UV Sparkle Varnish
Sparkle varnish is a high gloss UV varnish containing metallised polyester flakes that adds "sparkle" when applied to selected areas of a printed image and will provide "shelf appeal" to a wide range of printed products.

Gloss OPP Lamination
Gloss OPP (oriented polypropylene) lamination provides a wide range of uses across the whole spectrum of printed products. The properties of good gloss are strength and low cost which make it suitable for all the following applications:
Company report and accounts, Brochures, Catalogues, Carrier bags, Greeting cards, Book jacket covers, Magazines, Maps, Labels, Point-of-sale and Displays.
The standard film thickness is 12 micron but 19 micron is available if you require extra durability. Film can be laminated over apertures and a window lamination created.

Matt OPP Lamination
This Matt finish coupled with its smooth texture offers a very high quality image to brochures and book covers. Matt finishes are also particularly suited to surfaces which need to be easily read such as wall maps, but can be prone to scuffing and should be handled with care.

Foil Blocking
These finishes can provide the ultimate in decorative appeal. They are not limited to gold and silver foils, but extend to an impressive range of pigmented, holographic and security foils.
All of these can be combined with embossed images to produce varying tactile effects – Any one of which will enhance the printed message and provide shelf appeal for greetings cards, cartons, magazine covers, brochures etc.

Embossing & Debossing
This is where an image, pattern or logo can be embedded into the paper.

Ilford Classic Papers
Classic Pearl and Gloss papers offer the professional photographer the colour stability you would expect from a polymer coated paper. Manufactured to meet the demands of today’s dye based desktop printers, offering excellent image stability with superb consistency.
With the choice of either traditional gloss or professional pearl finish, the Classic range gives the professional the opportunity to create the right look for a competitive price

Ilford GALERIE Smooth Papers

The Galerie Smooth range of Ilford papers have been developed for “out of the box” usage, which is particularly true with Gloss and Pearl surfaces which utilises instant dry, nanoporous coating technology.
The Ilford range of smooth papers are compatible with the latest dye and pigment ink printers. Also included in the range are Smooth Fine Art Paper, a 100% rag, acid free paper for prints with a traditional fine art look and Smooth Multi-Use Paper. This is a true double-sided coated bond paper, ideal for producing brochures and leaflets.
The range as recently been extended with the addition of High Gloss Media and Heavyweight Matte Paper. High Gloss Media has the same instant drying nanoporous coating as the Smooth Gloss and Pearl papers. It is ideal for creating high gloss, professional quality photographic images. Heavyweight Matte Paper is a double sided coated paper ideal for fine art, high end brochures and presentations

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, it was a really great read! Incase it is of any interest, a while back i managed to find a british labels company who sold me a batch of plain labels for a really low price. If you are all interested then it may be worth visiting their website.