I’ve been hearing murmurs lately about stone paper, like that it’s a thing and doesn’t require trees. Treeless paper? That’s as crazy as an inkless pen.
This stone paper was provided by Nick Romer, who is using it in his Kickstarter Da Vinci Notebooks. I can’t speak to the notebooks themselves as a whole, but I can tell you about the paper, and as we know, the paper is the most important part. This paper is made of calcium carbonate waste material from marble quarries and offcuts (80%), ground to a fine powder, combined with a non-toxic resin (20%) to hold it together. The process uses no trees, no water, no bleach, and less energy than traditional wood pulp paper. The catch in the whole eco-equation though is the resin, which is typically high-density polyethylene for most stone papers; I don’t have the numbers to do the necessary calculus to tell if the environmental impact of the plastic in stone paper in general is bad enough for the environment that wood pulp paper with its trees, water, bleach, and greater energy use (plus less ease of recyclability) would still be environmentally better. It’s just something to keep in mind for the stone paper category as a whole.
It’s heavy. It’s thick. It’s smooth. Best performers on this paper seem to be markers (like Copic and even Sharpie), felt tip pens (such as the Sakura Pigma Micron, Uni Live Sign Pen, Sharpie Pen, etc.), and thick lead pencils. Second place goes to gel pens and ballpoints. Liquid inks (fountain pens, some rollerballs) had a tendency to spread on the surface, and sharp mechanical pencils kind of dug in to the page a bit.
But there’s no bleedthrough, no showthrough. Not even on the ink-heavies like Copic or Sharpie. Marker is king for this paper.
This paper cuts AMAZINGLY quietly—like whispers parting the molecules. I didn’t realize the sound of paper cutting was something to even remark on until suddenly it wasn’t there. The paper is tear resistant, in that unless you’ve got an edge to the page (like your nail, or perhaps a metal ruler) the paper will warp instead of tear. Is that better? I’m not sure.
It’s claimed to be grease resistant, so I stuck my finger in some movie butter microwave popcorn residue and pressed my buttery print onto the page, then tried to wipe it off—there’s a pale yellow stain remaining, and you might even be able to convict me off the print (I can still see ridges), but it’s very faint and didn’t eat through to the other side like some opaque greasy window the way you see with ordinary paper. I wonder if stone paper plates are a thing. I decided to further test the stain resistance with whatever red edibles I could find in my fridge, and was surprised that everything except the Sriracha washed off easily, and with some scrubbing (and then a little dish soap, because how often do you get to wash paper with dish soap?) the paper was almost completely clean—just a few faint orange marks.
Write on it in water. Put it in water, take it out, write on it. Go stand in a torrential downpour and scrawl out haikus about the meaninglessness of your rainsoaked existence—this stone paper is up for it.
All in all, this is some cool paper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen paper handle bleedtastic markers so well; if you love using Sharpie Markers but have been looking for the perfect paper where you can use both sides of the page for your writings and drawings, HERE IT IS. If your father was a tree and was killed by Moleskine to make a crappy notebook because they diluted your father’s noble wood pulp content with who knows what kind of garbage, and you’ve vowed never again to write on wood pulp paper, YOU CAN WRITE AGAIN! Or if you just want something that is both familiar and yet completely different, this is the paper.
At time of writing, there are 5 days left on the Da Vinci Notebook Kickstarter and it’s already funded, so if you want a stone paper notebook, hop on board!