Monday, April 27, 2015

Best Uses For Vellum Paper

Many different papers with different properties are available today to anyone doing drafting, illustration or other artwork. Unlike acetate, Mylar or other materials, vellum has been in use for centuries. It has some interesting properties that make it a superior choice. It is important to know some of the best uses for vellum paper.

Drafting and Drawing

One of the best uses for vellum is as a ground for drafting, drawing and other artwork. Vellum produces very different results from the standard paper. Ink lines on vellum have a sharp and crisp appearance that will not bleed out as much as conventional paper. It is also translucent allowing for sharper reproduction. The translucence makes it possible to mount any drawings on different colored backgrounds to create new effects. Vellum can produce some very sharp, detailed and unique drawings.


Vellum is an excellent choice when used for masking while creating artwork. The translucency of vellum means that the marks or drawings underneath can be clearly seen through the mask so that it is easier to align the paper correctly. Something that separates vellum from other materials like acetate or Mylar is the absorbency. Vellum will actually absorb a little of the medium placed on top. This will create softer and more natural looking edges.


Vellum paper is actually a magnificent choice for certain types of sculpture and three-dimensional pieces of artwork. Vellum has a distinctive texture and a translucency that is hard to find in other materials. It makes an excellent material when creating paper mache sculptures since it can be easily formed into any shape. Vellum is also a practical choice for decoupage since it can enhance or create new layering effects. Vellum can be an invaluable material when creating sculptures or other three-dimensional structures.


Vellum is very well suited for use as an overlay when drafting or doing presentations. The paper is far more durable than some other overlay materials that kink or tear easily. An added bonus is that vellum comes in several different levels of transparency. Using vellum as an overlay will make any project or presentation much simpler to create.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tips for Compass Drawing

Drawing with a compass is not always as easy as it looks. Small mistakes could cause major headaches if the compass slips or the line skews off course. It will help to use the right technique and to take precautions. A few tips for compass drawing will improve the results and prevent mistakes.

Have Something to Catch the Point Underneath

The first tip is have something underneath the paper to catch the point of the compass. Trying to draw with a compass on a hard surface like an unprotected drafting table will allow the end to slip and slide. Pressing too hard into one of these surfaces will quickly dull or bend the point. Place something like a vinyl cover, self-healing cutting mat or a piece of art board underneath the paper before using the compass.

Stay Centered While Drawing

The position of the hand is important in getting accurate and consistent results when using a compass. The hand holding the compass has to stay centered over the compass. This means over the center point where the grip is located. This will ensure that there is no slipping or distortions while spinning the compass around in a circle.

Use a Light Touch

Some people have a tendency to press down very hard when using drafting tools. This will actually damage the compass over time and produce poor results. It is important to use a light touch while drawing with a compass. Use only enough pressure to hold the point in place and keep the lead, cutter or pen in contact with the paper. Allow the weight of the compass to do some of the work. A light touch will produce a clean and consistent line.

Tack the Paper or Board Down

A final tip for compass drawing is to make certain that the paper or board is tacked down in some way. The lead, blade or pen attached to the compass is going to be putting pressure on the paper. This can potentially cause the paper to start spinning or moving along with the compass. The result will be a splotchy mark or a skewed line. This is why it is important to tack the paper or board down. This can be done with pins, spray tack or simple tape.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Size a Drafting Table to Your Office

Proper Sizing

There are many different drafting tables available, but one of the most important considerations is the appropriate size for an office. A drafter or architect might work in a home office or at a traditional office in a construction company or architectural firm. Having the incorrect size of equipment in an office can make it difficult to reach a tabletop surface or maintain proper lighting. Tables primarily designed for drafting purposes are made to slant at a variety of angles that may require additional space in an office space. In addition, the legs of tables are often adjustable, allowing someone to stand while working on the surface.

Chair Styles

In a work or home office used by multiple people, it is vital to have adjustable surfaces to meet a variety of needs. One person may want to sit on a hard chair while working at a table designed for drafting while another individual may want to use a soft chair on wheels. If there is a wheelchair user needing to use office equipment, then making sure a surface is easy to reach is also imperative. The natural and artificial lighting in a room is also an important consideration. Someone working at a table designed for drafting may use the surface to create artistic drawings that require light from windows instead of lamps.

Careful Measurements

Architects and drafters have an assortment of paper sizes available that require a particular size of the drafting table. Choosing a tabletop that does not require folding paper, parchment or vellum makes life easier while completing work at a traditional or home office. An individual must also think about whether they are using an elevated or normal height chair. In most cases, a larger tabletop surface is a better investment when someone plans to use the furniture for many years. Alternatively, a college student frequently moving  to different residence halls or needing a portable device to take to different classrooms will want a smaller table instead. Before ordering a table designed for drafting, measure the room carefully and consider the other furniture in the space.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our Favorite Blueprint Storage Tubes

Blueprint storage tubes are very important for draftsmen, engineers, artists and others who create and work with blueprints. Blueprints are sensitive documents. They can easily suffer irreparable damage due to moisture, stains, rips, and many other types of accidents. These documents are often transported to meetings, worksites, and other places where they can be damaged accidentally. Plus they may be required to be kept and referenced for many years. Keeping them in storage tubes is a great way to make sure they are adequately protected. There are many types of storage tubes for blueprints. The following are some of the most popular ones.

Telescoping Storage Tubes

Telescoping storage tubes are great for storing blueprints and preventing them from being torn, bent, folded or creased which may compromise their usefulness. They are also perfect for shipping and mailing blueprints as well. They expand and contract so this allows people to use them for blueprints of any size. Telescoping storage tubes are usually made of plastic or other waterproof materials and are available in a wide range of sizes, styles, and colors. Many of them have shoulder straps which make them easy to carry.

Ice Tubes

These colorful PVC plastic tubes are favorites of drafting and engineering students. They are lightweight, transparent, water-resistant, and inexpensive. Many use each different color tube to identify specific projects. The bright colors also make it easy for people to keep track of them. Plus they are made of plastic which provides protection from numerous things which could potentially damage the blueprints inside. Ice tubes are available with or without carrying straps. They are an excellent choice whether people are taking blueprints to classes, the office or a worksite.

Square Blueprint Tubes

These square leather-look tubes are a unique, classy way to store and transport your blueprints. They are easy to carry and store. Their shape also provides an added level of protection for your valuable documents inside. While they may cost a little more, the square blueprint tubes are worth it because they are more durable, stylish, and efficient than many other types of blueprint tubes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tips and Tricks for Using the Prismacolor Marker Set

Help Markers Last Longer

Artists love buying Prismacolor marker sets because the manufacturer has an excellent reputation in the industry. The most popular set of markers from this company has 144 unique colors with non-toxic ink. While the ink in many company’s markers fades, the colors provided by a Prismacolor marking pen lasts forever. When buying a 144 set, customers receive 140 versatile pens with a cap at each end. Each of these pens has both a fine and broad nib, providing a way for artists to use the device for fine lines or broad strokes. In addition, the set includes four metallic markers in two colors that have one nib each.

Store Markers in Hard Cases

Anyone buying these markers wants to know some important tips and tricks to keep the items in tip-top condition. In the excitement of having a new set of markers, someone may forget to protect the items from damage. One of the most important things to do is keep the markers in a case to protect the plastic coverings. The 24 and 48 piece marker set arrives in its own hard case, but artists can find separate cases for the larger sets of pens. When artists keep the markers inside a case while transporting the pens, it helps to prevent cracks in the casings or caps falling off.

Protect the Sensitive Nibs

While using the markers to create an artistic drawing, make sure to open one pen at a time to avoid having the ink dry. With this method, artists also prevent the different colors of pen nibs from bumping each other. An additional way to protect the tips of the markers is by not dropping the pens on the floor or tabletop surfaces. Artists should only use the markers on sturdy paper that does not shred and clog the tip of the pen. If a marker requires cleaning, use the recommended solution to avoid damaging the sensitive nib and casing. Store Prismacolor marker sets at the correct temperature to prevent freezing or melting that will damage the integrity of the ink colors.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

3 Tips to Buying Shears & Cutting Scissors

Tip One: Choosing the Best Cutting Tool Size

For certain types of job occupations such as drafting or sewing, particular varieties of shears & cutting scissors are required to make clean and precise cuts. No matter whether someone is buying these important tools for everyday office use or specialized tasks, it is important to understand a few tips. Cutting tools are available in an assortment of blade sizes to fit nicely in small or large hands. A longer blade on shears helps with completing a task such as cutting paper or cardboard faster, but these shears are often cumbersome to hold and use. Alternatively, small scissors can make it difficult to cut large sheets of thick vellum or poster board.

Tip Two: The Type of Material Used to Make Scissors

Budget priced cutting tools are typically made of inexpensive but durable stainless steel with a chip-resistant plastic covered handle that is comfortable to hold. The plastic handles are often made in different colors to match an office’s décor. These types of cutting tools are made in lightweight styles that are easy to carry. A shopper may want to opt for a better quality and higher priced cutting tool made with nearly unbreakable handles. Artists or drafters wanting to cut thick plastic or canvas will prefer versatile scissors with a built-in bottle opener and handles designed for left- or right-handed people. Specialty shears are also available with corrosion resistant titanium blades with an adjustable tension screw.

Tip Three: Selecting Scissors with Specialty Features

There are specialty features to consider when buying shears & cutting scissors. Some of the features available include having straight or angled handles. When someone is cutting items on top of a table or desk surface, a slanted handle is appropriate. Straight blades work nicely for cutting small items held in the user’s hands. To avoid needing to sharpen manually the blades on scissors, many shoppers want self-sharpening blades. Keeping cutting tools clean by removing glue and paint makes the devices last longer, and it is possible to buy shears that are dishwasher safe.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Our Favorite Architectural Drawing Templates

Templates are a critical part of drafting and design. Templates give designers access to accurately scaled and consistent shapes that can be used to create the most complicated layouts. A benefit of templates is that they are portable, durable and can be used with a variety of drafting tools. Every studio should have a few types of architectural drawing templates on hand at all times.

Plumbing Templates

Everyone who does draft or design work should have a set of plumbing templates. These templates are used for a variety of things such as laying out pipework or designing an entire bathroom. The templates are good to have because there are so many shapes and symbols that can be used every day. They are necessary shapes for designing nearly any type of interior or exterior space. Additionally, some of the shapes are relatively generic and can be used to create other types of designs or patterns. Every studio should have a collection of plumbing templates available.

Landscaping Templates

Some of the most useful and flexible architectural drawing templates are those designed for landscaping. These templates are geared towards drawing a variety of unique shapes meant to represent trees, walls, pathways, and bushes. The most interesting aspect of landscaping templates is that they provide a number of organic shapes and curves that are simply not present in any other form. Some of the templates even have French curves along the sides to allow for flowing designs. Landscaping templates are a valuable addition to any studio even if outdoor designs are not done on a daily basis.

Home Design and Fixture Templates

Home design and fixture templates are a necessity for anyone doing basic layout, design or drafting work. These templates include a wide range of standardized shapes used to describe everything from the placement of fixtures to the layout of furniture and doors. Anyone who is going to be doing architectural or interior design work is going to need most of these shapes at some point. The templates are available in all the most common scales so that they can be matched to any project. Home design and fixture templates can make finishing projects much easier.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

3 Tips for Using the Alvin Portable Drawing Board

A portable drawing board allows anyone to have a professional work surface that can be set up fast in any location. This is very convenient when traveling, going to school or just looking for a change of scenery at work. Three tips will help anyone when using the Alvin portable drawing board.

Rely On the Parallel Rule for Support

A portable drawing board is very convenient although it is necessary to use it differently than a full drafting table. The first tip is to rely on the parallel rule for support when drawing. Drafting on a portable board sometimes requires touching the surface more in order to stabilize hands and tools to get solid lines. Touching the paper too much can lead to smears, stains and other marks caused by the oils or substances on the hand. Use the parallel rule as a hand rest when attempting to draw on the board to protect the surface.

Sit In the Correct Position Every Time

The Alvin portable drawing board cannot be adjusted as much as a conventional drafting table. This means the angle of the board is limited to what can be achieved with the legs and the tractor feet. It is important to consider this when using the board. Perspective issues can occur when sitting in an incorrect position in front of the board. Those slight perspective differences will become highly noticeable once the drawing is viewed straight on. Sit in a position where the board is not trailing off in the distance at the top and all corners appear at right angles.

Choose and Prepare the Underlying Surface Carefully

The surface the portable drawing board is set on is important. If the surface is not stable, then the board will rock and move with the underlying table. Choose a stable and flat surface where the board can be set down firmly without any problems. Make certain the board does not move or slip when pressure is applied. Try to choose a flat and even surface to prevent other issues. The surface under the board will make a huge difference when drafting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

3 Benefits of Using Safco Hanging Clips

Storing blueprints is a challenge for both small and large businesses. The blueprints need to be stored and organized in a way that is convenient and efficient. Hanging clips are one of the best options available today. It is important to know three of the main benefits of using Safco hanging clamps.

Keep Blueprints in Good Condition

One of the primary benefits of using hanging clips from Safco is that it will be possible to keep all the blueprints in a studio or office in good condition. Nearly all other methods of storing or organizing blueprints have problems that could lead to damage. Rolling the blueprints up and putting the plans into tubes can permanently warp the paper. Using flat file drawers could cause tears over time as the blueprints are constantly shuffled around and removed from the cabinet. Hanging clips allow the blueprints to stay flat because they are hanging down. The clips also do not touch the actual surface of the blueprints.

Save a Significant Amount of Space

A second benefit is that Safco hanging clamps will save a significant amount of space in any studio or office. Each individual clip can hold an enormous 100 blueprints in just a few inches of space. This is far more than most other organizational or storage methods. This means that thousands of blueprints can be stored in an inconspicuous area or in the corner of a closet. The clips even include colored tabs that can be attached to individual blueprints so that everything remains organized and any one plan could be pulled out quickly. Saving space is incredibly important especially when a company deals with thousands of blueprints every year.

Can Be Used In Nearly Any Type of Rack

A final major benefit of these hanging clamps from Safeco is that they can be used in nearly any type of rack. These clips have become the standard in the industry. Manufacturers design blueprint racks to work specifically with the clips. This is an advantage because an office can purchase new racks or upgrade existing ones without worrying about whether the existing clamps will still be useful.