Review: Plumb Goods Notebooks

Plumb Notebooks from Knock Knock

The folks at Knock Knock recently launched a new line of paper products called Plumb Goods. These are a collection of notebooks designed by artists to help inspire creativity. Every book in the collection includes a full-color card with information on the artist.

The products were each so different that this is a super image-heavy post. Every book deserved a full view so this is really a review of FIVE notebooks, not just one.

3 Little Notebooks by Plumb

I’ll start with the smallest and work up to the largest book. First up is the 3 Little Notebooks set ($10 per set of three). They are a bit smaller than a Field Notes at 3.25″ x 4.75″. Each book has a cardstock paper cover and a sewn spine in coordinating thread and is filled with 64-pages of paper.

3 Little Notebooks by Plumb

Each book has matching tinted pages and features a different grid, from a large grid in the blue to quadrille in the orange to a tiny grid in the green book.

Mini Notebooks writing sample

In writing samples, the paper performed admirably for a pocket-sized, portable notebooks. There was no splining or feathering of the writing, even with my stub italic nibs.

reverse of writing sample, Mini Notebooks

On the back side of the paper, there was a little show-through but its quite acceptable, especially at the price point.

Explorer Notebook by Plumb

Next up is the Explorer Notebook ($16). Its a 5 x 7″ (approx. A5) hardcover notebook with sturdy kraft board covers and blue binding tape on the spine. Printed in black foil is an illustration of binoculars and a red elastic for closure. Inside is bright blue end papers with a printed line pattern on the reverse. The back cover is a red paper pocket to catch ephemera.

Explorer Notebook by Plumb

There are 128 natural white pages, die cut into tabs. Half the paper is printed with pale blue lines and a red margin line and the last half is blank with a red margin at the top for a title.

Explorer Notebook writing sample

The paper performed admirably. None of the pens I tested feathered or splined on the paper.

Reverse of Explorer Notebook writing sample

From the reverse, you can see some darker colors and stub nibs show through a little but did actually bleed through. I don’t think I would use this as a dedicated fountain pen notebook as there was a little softness on some of the writing but, for everyday writing, I think this would be a fun alternative. The tabs provide a great way to organize projects.

Dots Notebook by Plumb

When I first started to describe the Dot Notebook, I thought “Wow, these colors don’t sound at all good together.” But in reality, it actually looks really cool. Its an A5-ish size (5.75 x 8.25″) with coated, textural, flexible paper and printed with a burgundy color with foil-stamped sky blue dots. Its a pleasing jumble of colors, like garden flowers.

Dots Notebook by Plumb

The edges are painted a contrasty orange color and the book is filled with warm white paper until the last third of the book when it turns sunny yellow.

Dots Notebook by Plumb

What a treat to have the pop of color! Every page of this 160-page book is perforated for easy removal.

Dots Notebook writing samples

The paper on the Dot Notebook seemed to call for some bolder tools so I pulled out some brush pens to see if this would be a good book for sketching, collage or lettering and it handled the extra juicy tools with a-Plumb!

Reverse of writing sample, Dots Notebook

The yellow paper showed only a hint of show through with the Sai Outline Brushpen and a tiny hint of some of the other inks but overall, it worked well.

Reverse of writing sample, Dots Notebook

On the warm white stock, some of the wetter tools showed through more clearly and just a little bit of bleed through.

Tangle Notebook by Plumb

The Tangle Notebook ($18) is a flexible, grey bookcloth cover book. At 7.5 x 9.75″, it reminds me of the size of those marbled composition notebooks. But the grey bookcloth with purple foil-stamped scribble gives it a post-modern cool. I think the grey cloth is darker than the material used on the Baron Fig notebook so it seems less likely to show dirt.

Tangle Notebook by Plumb

Inside, the end papers are a vivid series of watercolor stripes. The paper has been cut into five tabs for easy access.

Tangle Notebook by Plumb

The paper is lined lightly in a red with a vertical line in down the middle so the larger sheets can be treated as two columns like a steno pad.

Tangle Notebook writing samples

The paper felt pretty sturdy in the Tangle notebook so I pulled out some brush pens as well as some standard gel, fountain and rollerballs. There was no bleeding or splining on the paper and the natural white paper did not change any ink colors.

Reverse of writing sample for Tangle Notebook

The reverse of the stock showed no serious show through or bleeding. To use both sides of the paper, I recommend using fine- to medium-nibbed tools for least show through. Overall though, I was quite pleased with this book and it may be my favorite of the lot.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the the Tangle notebook also has blank pages (no horizontal lines) with the red vertical dividing line in the last two tabbed sections.

Titanic Notebook by Plumb

The largest book I got was aptly called the Titanic Sketchbook ($24).  It’s 8.25″x10.5″ and features a very impressionistic sketch of the grand ship that it is named for. The covers are matte coated, flexible, card stock. The coating makes it feel durable like a soft cover coffee table book.

Titanic Notebook by Plumb

Between the covers is the real treat. The book is filled with red, yellow and blue paper. The paper has the weight like good quality construction paper.

Titanic Notebook by Plumb

Some pages are perforated horizontally through the center as well as along the spine.

Titanic Notebook by Plumb

The Titanic book paper is definitely designed for art making-grade tools — brush pens, technical felt tips, pencils and the like. Some of the fountain pen inks resisted the paper. I suspect it has something to do with the way the paper is colored. However, the paper is thick and durable and I had no show through at all so it can definitely handle the more art or collage tools. For the price, I think this is a great opportunity to play with colored paper in a fun format.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the quality of these products. Everything is well made and the paper quality was a lot higher than I expected in more decorative notebooks. My favorites were … all of them. Each filled a different little niche. I think the first ones I’ll use are the Tangle Notebook for work and the 3 Mini Notebooks to tuck in my back for lists and reminders.

Plumb Notebooks from Knock Knock

THE GIVEAWAY: The folks at Plumb Goods have offered readers the chance to win a $50 gift card to spend at Plumb Goods and/or Knock Knock. To enter, leave a comment and tell me which products you would purchase if you won.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, July 18, 2014. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. US residents only please. Gift certificate can be used for merchandise and shipping.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Knock Knock/Plumb Goods for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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91 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Man, spoiled for choice, but I’d probably go with the Tangle. It’s just pretty, and would be good for my research notes. And maybe the Mini Superhero because who doesn’t love tiny little books.

  2. Ooooo The Titanic book = I work with three separate companies and trying to keep the notes separate is a task – I usually use three different ink colors, – cool twist – thee different paper colors in a book. Yah I like that,

  3. Just gotta be the Titanic sketchbook ‘cos that’s how many personalities I’m trying to juggle (3) and a color for each would be most helpful. One third of me thanks you in advance!

  4. Ooh, these look so sunny and fun! I would probably spring for either the explorer notebook since it’s such a handy size… or the titanic since it’s not!

  5. I would get a Tangle, a Dot, an Explorer and the 3 Little Notebooks. More than $50.00? I’d pay the difference LOL.
    Thanks for the opportunity – I love the tabs, and the fact that the paper is fountain pen friendly!

  6. The Tangle looks gorgeous. I’ve already decided to get one regardless of whether I win or not… the divided pages would make it perfect for keeping track of my German vocab!

  7. I’m a sucker for pocketable notebooks, but I may go with the A5 Dot because of the interesting combination of colors and papers

  8. It’s a toss-up between the Tangle notebook and the Dot notebook. The Tangle seems to have some nice qualities, but the Dot has so many colors going on; that makes all the difference.

  9. I really like the covers of the Tangle notebook and the Titanic sketchbook. The perforations in the sketchbook would make the book pretty flexible for artists and art-journalists, too, I would think.

  10. The Explorer Notebook and the Sumi Art Box are my favorites. There are also many Knock Knock products I’d like to buy as well. The Tabbed Index Cards are interesting…

  11. I would definitely start with the Titanic notebook, then move on to the Tangle, but truth is I’d likely have all of them in my shopping cart before I was through! No bad choices in that bunch!!

  12. Love the artwork and the thought that went into choosing color papers, sewn spine and tabs. Would love to have the Titanic, the explorer and 3 little notebooks. Great conversation pieces as well as useful.

  13. I really like the 3 Little Notebooks. They look like a good alternative to Midori. Thanks for offering this.

  14. I am going to jump on the me too camp and state that I would order the Tangle notebooks also, I like having the tabs to have various writing sections and would use one for Zentagles and the various forms and the other for writing prompts and themes.

  15. My first choice to purchase would be the 3 Little Notebooks. They would be so handy for jotting knitting notes and ideas. Thanks for such a great giveaway !

  16. I would get the Titanic and the Tangle. Love the perforations, colours and the odd ruling! Love Knock Knock stuff. Their No. 2 line had some of my favourite note pads.

  17. I love all of these, especially the tangle, but I think I would order A Collection of Paper Options. It looks so fun!

  18. I’d pick the Titanic as I love the color pages…but really I’d take almost any one of them as they are all so unique. Thanks.

  19. I think that dot notebook is really snazzy. Like you said, doesn’t seem to work at first, but when it all comes together it just works. 🙂

  20. I utilized 2 priorities: Select EXACTLY what I would like to have, and get the biggest bang for the buck. Or $50 bucks in this case. Based on the lifeimitatesdoodles review, I would trade your $50 for one (1) Tangle and two (2) Explorers. I’m organized and therefore, I love the tabs. There is always a notebook in my purse, bookbag, by my pillow, in the center thingy in the car and 1 or 2 on my desk. There is always room for more, love stretches. Then I went on your website and my decision blurred a bit, but I am sticking to my first choice. Thanks for putting out the giveaway for one lucky person.

  21. The titanic notebook would be my main choice but I would also get the tangle notebook , simply for organisation and quick reference purposes ! They all look great!

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