Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quickie Reviews and a Card Stock Comparison

It's been a while since I reviewed anything...but then, it's been a while since I bought much new stuff. Since Christmas, I have been on a spending bender that probably ended today with a significant purchase at Marco's Paper, a bit of brick-and-mortar paper-crafting heaven. Here's some of what I bought.

Surprisingly (because I already have so many), I've been buying a lot of ink pads lately. Not sure why, except that the gray dreariness of an Ohio winter probably makes colorful inks particularly appealing. I've stocked up on a bunch of Hero Arts colors for no other reason than they are pretty, but Marco's had these cheerful pads calling my name.

Here are my quickie reviews of these two inks:

1. Kaleidacolor spectrum pads: Love them. They are juicy with bright colors. I find the monochromatic pads the most appealing, but the Melon Melody above was irresistibly citrusy and made my mouth water. Because the ink in these is watery, the case is designed to separate the five pads of ink for storage so they don't get muddy. To use these pads, you slide a plastic handle until all five pads are snuggled up together, and then ink your stamp. I find patting the stamp repeatedly with tiny shifts left and right over the pads blends the ink beautifully for a spectrum effect.

These pads have limited usefulness for inking really large stamps because the plastic sliding mechanism that separates the colors for storage gets in the way. Some people ink up a brayer and then ink the stamp with the brayer (I find this messy and wasteful of ink, but that's my OCD talking), but still, if your stamp is wider than the brayer, it's a challenge. Also, if you only want one color, you have to use a pretty small stamp. With those caveats, I give these pads two thumbs up.

2. Memento Luxe: I'm in love. (Yes, I am an ink slut. Bet you are, too!) These pigment inks (in the same colors as the regular Memento inks) are rich, vibrant, densely colorful, and just plain gorgeous. The black is utterly opaque on white card stock and incredibly beautiful. Luxe inks dry faster than plain pigment inks, but not quite as fast as, say, VersaColor or Brilliance inks. I find this mildly annoying. The lids fit tightly, which is nice for keeping the pads juicy. I haven't tried these on fabric yet, but the case says heat-setting makes it permanent. Awesome!

And now for my comparison of Papertrey Stamper's Select white card stock and Neenah 110# Solar White Cover card stock.

I've used Papertrey white card stock for years. I love the thickness of it, especially for one-layer cards. I love the way StampinUp Real Red dries nearly instantly on it. I love the feel of it. Love, love, love it.

Today, I bought a 25-sheet pack of Neenah Solar White at Marco's for more money than I should have but I didn't really care. I figured if I liked it, I'd buy a whole ream and save big, right? Whatever. Anyway, I'm having a really hard time picking a favorite between the two.

The only real differences appear to be that Hero Arts ink does slightly--and I do mean slightly--better on the Neenah, while Ancient Page does slightly--and I do mean slightly--better on Papertrey. These variations could simply be the result of more ink on the stamps or more/less pressure applied in the stamping rather than any intrinsic difference in the paper.

The colors seem a bit more intense in general on the Neenah (take a look at the Brilliance and VersaMagic samples in particular), but when I flipped the card stocks over, I noticed the Hero Arts image was slightly visible through the Neenah but not the Papertrey. None of the other inks showed through to the back of the Neenah at all, so it may just be that I over-inked the stamp for that impression.

I tested a Copic on both Papertrey and Neenah, and it bled through on both. If you're going to color with alcohol-based markers on a one-layer card, use Gina K's heaviest deluxe white card stock. That will NOT bleed through no matter how much blending you do because it is coated.

I'll be darned if I can tell a difference in how the Papertrey and the Neenah card stocks feel. They also seem to be the same weight...Papertrey's site doesn't specify the weight of its paper. Both are very heavy and require scoring to fold cleanly.

The Neenah is available by the ream (250 sheets) and works out to about $0.18 per sheet from the Paper Mill but is much higher in smaller packs ($0.37 per sheet in a 50-sheet pack from Marco's), while the Papertrey is about $0.15 per sheet in 40-sheet packs.

My conclusion: if you're looking for a good white card stock for card bases, either Papertrey or Neenah Solar White 110# Cover will serve you quite nicely.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Please feel free to share your own experiences and opinions about Kaleidacolor Inks, Memento Luxe inks, Papertrey's Stamper's Select, and Neenah Solar White 110# card stock. I'm fully aware that individual results may vary, and my readers deserve multiple opinions!


  1. I have been testing cardstock from Marco's also. I really like the Cougar Opaque Cover cardstock. I am using a 65# for layering and the 110# for card bases. They also have an 80# and 100#. It is very smooth and is about $0.10 a sheet in the 250 package. Depends on shipping & tax. Be glad to send you some samples if you want to test more...

  2. Correction - It's 130# that I use for card bases. I like them sturdy.

  3. I love Papertrey Ink paper. The weight is 110#

  4. Thanks for the wonderful review. I love Papertrey paper and also Gina K.

  5. Memento Luxe Rose Bud is my current favourite ink, although Mama Elephant Hazel is pretty awesome also. I haven't bought the Memento Luxe black yet, but now I have to, because you told me how good it is! I bought some Neenah Solar White recently because everyone said how good it is. After some experimenting, I still prefer the PTI basic white. I do find the Neenah gives a little crisper image for stamping, but I like the feel of PTI. I haven't found a source of reams of Neenah here in Australia (and international postage on a ream is ridiculous), so PTI wins out on price for me, too. I haven't tried Gina K yet... I might have to check it out...

  6. Hi Susan, Excellent reviews again thanks! White card is a constant problem, here in the UK. When I find a reasonable supplier they fold, most annoying!
    Your ink pads look totally yummy! I have found that the Kaleidacolor ink pads work on a larger stamp if you ink half the image then turn the ink pad 180 degrees. Matching the shade in the middle of the stamp. That way you can use really quite large stamps. The colours are repeated but I have not found that a problem, it can be a good effect, the colour in the centre is your choice :D x

  7. The Luxe inks may be my new favorite. Also, I have a collection of Kaleidacolor ink pads if you'd like them. :)

  8. I love my Neenah! The 110 makes such a fabulous card base -- I noticed 3 copics in your photo -- have you finally succumbed? :) I would love to actually go into Marco Papers -- I bet it is an amazing store! I miss being able to walk out with items rather then waiting for snail mail~

  9. Thank you, Susan - great to see the comparison, as I have been wondering recently - I too LOVE PTI's card in general. I have been trying to get better at blending inks and have heard that the Neenah is best for this technique - do you have any thoughts on it?

  10. Thanks for the link to the Gina K paper - I'll have to try that. I don't know how many cards I've made that started out one-layer but ended up cut apart and used as a card front due to the Copic ink bleeding thru. MY OCD won't let me send a card that has ink bleeding thru. ;)

    Anybody tried the Luxe black with Copics?

  11. Ohhhh I am so happy I found your post today! I have heard about Marcos before but didn't know if they carried a lot of scrap booking products or not, and with archivers closing I didn't think I had any more stores to go to! Now I must get there! Thank you so much about the papers too because I was just about to buy PTI after having used Neenah now I can't wait to try the PTI!

  12. Thanks for sharing your findings. I am struggling to find a card stock that I like and I found this so helpful!

  13. I have Neenah paper, which I am hoarding since I only bought 25 sheets. I save it for special cards. I have yet to try Papertrey. I would love to try the Luxe inks. Question about inks - do you buy refills? If so, where? I really appreciate your reviews.

  14. I use the 80# Neenah Solar White and love it. I just today bought the 110# ream for card bases. It cost me $55 with tax!..yikes! But---it's like .20 cents a sheet. It will last me a million years - hahaha. I have a Kelly Paper Co near me, so I don't need to order paper online. I also like their Classic Natural White Cover 80#, which is like a nice light cream color.

  15. I second the Cougar Opaque Digital Card Stock for ivory color and Accent Opaque Digital for bright white, both in the 110# weight.

    I have a small card making business and find that both are comparable to Neenah and PTI but much less expensive per sheet especially if you buy in larger quantities, which I do. I get people asking me all the time what kind of card stock it is as they can tell that it is a quality paper.

    I use a lot of digital stamps and find that it is very good with Copics, although it does have bleed through and so not good for one layer cards. You have to use a printer that feeds the paper from the back (most Canons and some HP) as it is too heavy to go through the rollers.

    Love your site and hope you get some warmer weather soon. We are in TX and it's been cold down here this year but nothing like what you have up there!

  16. Thanks so much for posting your cardstock comparisons. I'm in the UK & we don't have Papertrey over here. I see so many bloggers praising the Papertrey cardstock & always feel slightly jealous ;) But we do have the Neenah cardstock in the UK which I use so I'm soooooo glad that you can't find much difference between the 2, now I feel I'm not missing out!!

  17. Great post! I have favored PTI's white as well until I found that Michael's carries true 110# paper in white and ivory (cream) for a fraction of the price especially with a coupon! You get 100 sheets in a pack and if you use a 40% off coupon each sheet is only .08 cents! I am one super happy stamper now. The weight is the same as PTI and the texture and color are almost identical as well. Just thought I'd mention it!


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