As more and more of you discover Inchie Arts products we find that there are a handful of questions that come up frequently. So, we thought we would take a minute and try and answer them.
Does it matter which side is up?
Yes, it does. The material that our white and neutral colored squares (Inchie Squares, Inchie + Squares and Twinchie Squares) are made from is a very high quality matteboard. It behaves like an artist quality material, some say like a hot press watercolor paper and drawing paper combined in one. You can use both dry media (pencil, chalk, etc) and wet media (ink, markers, watercolor paints, stains etc) without the surface deteriorating or wrinkling.
We think you will be the most pleased with your art if you do your 'creating' on the 'top' side of the square.
How can you tell the front (top) from the back?
The square on the left is face up, showing the top side. The square on the right is face down, showing the back side. There are a couple of easy ways to tell which side is which. (you can click on all these pictures to view them larger)
By feel: the Inchie Squares are cut from the top, so the edges 'round away'. Also, the material is 'solid core' but does have a piece of paper stuck to the backside where the manufacturer will often print code numbers. When you compare the 'feel' of the two sides you will notice that the top side has a slight bit of texture, or tooth, just like a fine art paper. The back side feels smoother, just like a piece of copy paper.
By look: use your eyes...as well as your fingers...to look for these clues. The edges rounding away indicate the top side, and that slightly more textured surface means the top as well.
How will my art differ if I accidentally do it on the back side?
It's pretty darn subtle with some materials such as Memento dye based ink. But if you look carefully you will see that the image on the left (top) is much more 'crisp' than the image on the right (back). This is because when you stamp on the back side, you are actually stamping on a 'piece of paper' which is of much lesser quality - as a result your ink will feather into the paper fibers ever so slightly.
What about the front vs. back when using markers?
The difference when using markers is much more obvious. Here we used a Copic marker, brush end, to draw vertical lines within the stamped area. We didn't press down at all, just drew the pen along the surface. On the left, or top side, the marker stays where you put it. On the right, the back side, you can see how much the color spreads into the paper fibers. This can become a key factor if you are coloring something and want to stay within a certain area!
Why is there 'chaf' on the edges of the black squares?
First of all did you know that the black is made from a completely different material than the white and neutral colors? While the white is made from farm grown trees (!) the black is actually made with equal plies of 100% cotton. This, along with the fact that the color is not from a dye, but from the mineral...ebony...makes them a little more difficult to cut. The analogy is like comparing using scissors on paper to using scissors on cloth embedded with rock dust. Also, because of these true 'fibers' the black is much more of a composite material, is thicker than the white and neutrals, and can be peeled into layers if you are very, very careful. These bits of chaf are easy to pick or dust off, and if there is surface 'chaffing' it's always on the back side.
Every now and then I will find a square that is not perfectly cut...
When we launched the company we evaluated die cutting vs. hand cutting. We found that because of how a 'die' is created you waste as much material from a parent sheet as what you get after the cut. The horror of throwing all that material away...! So, we have a wonderful resource that hand cuts our materials on a specialized cutting machine. In addition to being human, there is humidity...which can alter the raw material...different batches...dye lots...you name it. Additionally, the bottom line was that if we were die cutting vs. hand cutting the cost to you would have been twice as much...we kid you not...and that, was truly unacceptable!We love customer feedback! If you have a question that hasn't been answered either post a comment or send us an e-mail and we will do our best to address it.