If you’re in tune with the stationery community, you’ve probably heard of Blank Slate Paper Co. Dave and Kelly Rea are the proprietors and they offer you the most customizable pad of paper that you can imagine. You can control literally everything about the paper format. This is one of those rare times where I am saying “literally everything” and I don’t mean it hyperbolically. You could order a different style every day of the week and not order a duplicate for years. Probably. I didn’t do any math to back up that claim.
I think what makes Blank Slate Paper so good, is their website design. As I understand it, Dave designed the whole thing. I don’t know jack about coding or website development. As an aside, to prove my general lack of computer-ing knowledge, notice the second tab in the picture below. I didn’t even know how to do a screenshot on my computer. You’re not reading the musings of some Silicon Valley whiz kid. Anyway, back to Blank Slate Paper. It’s so intuitive even I figured it out.
The first thing you need to do is choose a ruling. You have the option of dot grid, reticle grid, horizontal lines, and vertical lines. One of the features I appreciate the most is that there is a “live” piece of paper to the right of your options that shows your options as soon as you select them. It’s extremely helpful to see what your paper would look like, because you may not know what 7mm spacing looks like in your head, but with the help of this page, you can lay eyes on it before ordering.
While I found choosing the specific ruling I wanted easy, I did find the second step a bit more anxiety-inducing. There are so many ways to customize your paper. It’s very cool, but can be a little daunting your first time. You have the option to adjust the vertical spacing, horizontal spacing, margins, ruling shift, dot style, dot size, dot outline weight, and dot color. Don’t like the colors they have listed for you? No problem, you can enter the hex code of your favorite color and have it printed on the page.
This was the page where I spent a lot of my time trying to dial in the perfect combination of spacing and weighting. I was tempted to order something really wild just because I could. I created some truly horrific versions while playing around with the design function on their site. In the end, I opted for something different than anything I already own, but still quite reserved when you think of all the options I had at my fingertips. Lime green reticles, spaced a generous 7mm apart. I really like it, with one exception: I wish I had made the actual reticles a little smaller. Other than that, it’s exactly what I wanted.
While the layout is important, and the driving force behind Blank Slate Paper, if the paper sucks, then who cares about your dope design. Who among us hasn’t bought a great-looking notebook only to feel dejection as we watch our favorite ink feather all over creation. It’s not good enough to be pretty in the paper game, you gotta behave too.
I opted for the HP Premium 32 and it didn’t disappoint.
BLEED: The only time I saw any bleed at all was two very small spots on the swabs of Bungubox First Love Sapphire and Kon-peki. So be warned, if you write with Q-tips, you may experience insanely light bleeding with wet inks.
FEATHERING: I had to hold the paper about 3 inches from my eyeballs, but I could find some light feathering where the ink pooled in some of the wetter inks. It’s probably the most pronounced with the Montblanc Irish Green or R&K Alt-Goldgrun, and even then, it’s not bad at all.
DRY TIME: Good, not great. I like to use wet inks and I understand that I’m going to have to build some time in for drying. That doesn’t bother me in the least, but it might be a problem for you. I imagine that fine and extra fine nibs paired with drier inks would dry quite quickly. I could have inked up LAMY blue and tested it, but it makes my pen feel like sidewalk chalk. I don’t like that, so I didn’t do it.
INK PROPERTIES: An inks main property is the color. Unsurprisingly, this paper shows the color of the ink. Full marks in that arena. It also does a decent job of showing off shading characteristics. There’s not much sheen that’s getting through, but there might be a little in the Sailor Blue-Black. I imagine if you use a sheen monster ink, you’d be able to see that fairly easily. I don’t use shimmer inks, but I doubt you’d have any problems with this paper.
SIZE: As of the publishing of this article, the only size available is A4. I don’t have much use for A4, but that’s just me. I know there are plenty of people who carry a portfolio with them everywhere and A4 suits them just fine. It’s a brand new company and it just doesn’t make sense to come to market with every option available. I imagine that if volume maintains at a dependable level, they’ll eventually branch out to other sizes. (A5, please!)
BINDING: Similarly, the pads are only available with a glue binding. If you like tearing your sheets out prior to, or even after, using them, then you’ll love this. If you prefer to fold your pages over and keep the whole pad intact, then you may find this isn’t the best pad for you. To be fair, I haven’t attempted that to see what happens, though I imagine the repeated folding back and forth will eventually wear down the glue binding and the paper will come free. Again, that’s just my assumption. I’d happily be wrong about that.
While this particular offering might not be the exact type of thing that I use regularly, I think it’s great for the stationery community at large. From what I’ve seen, people have been very pleased with the product and excited about the future of the company. I’m thrilled to support Blank Slate Paper Co. and look forward to their continued innovation.
***I USED MY OWN MONEY TO PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT***