Thursday, 21 June 2007

Low Tech Fun

As some of you may know I have an eco blog called Paper * People * Planet run separately from this one.

It's been a tad too finicky to do both so I'm slowly consolidating them both with the last post from Paper * People * Planet here for your reading pleasure.

In the future all my eco & paper posts will be found here.


" One of the stumbling blocks for those of you wanting to recycle your paper trash is the inconvenience or the expense of getting a mould & deckle. You either have to buy a kit which would set you back by at least US$20 or make your own kit with 2 identical sized wooden frames from an art shop or framers, then staple gunning the mesh to one of them to make your mould.
Well, while I was still waiting for my box of leftover-in-Singapore stuff together with
my Green Bananas Paper Maker that my wonderful sis is shipping to me, I thought I'd try out a simple contraption.

Having read about it on a leaflet at the local library, I figured I'd give it a try seeing that most of what I needed was either in the house or can be got at the neighbourhood hardware store. The leaflet teaches you how to make basic paper without using the traditional mould & deckle. All it takes is some stiff metal wire, as the support and finer plastic mesh (the same ones for screen doors) as a sieve.

You tightly wrap the plastic mesh around the metal wire and then duct tape (fantastically waterproof stuff) the edges to hold both in place.

And bob's your uncle, you're all set!

For my first batch of paper, I harvested from the carpet of cherry blossoms in the garden to add as inclusions into my paper. And I used magazine pages to be blended for the paper pulp.

Blended a handful of shredded paper and added it to the vat. After 2 blender-full of pulp, I sprinkled in the previously dried cherry blossoms, and gave the mixture a good stir. Now was the moment of truth.

Would it work or wouldn't it?

Pulling the first sheet was tenuous. There was no deckle to hold the pulp mixture on the mould while the water drained. Liquid was flowing all over the place. The first sheet was uneven but complete. Phew! Pulling subsequent sheets got easier as I began to get a feel of the Meckle (a name I affectionately call this hybrid of Deckle & Mould).

Couching the paper was a cinch. And the meckle lifted without a problem and, without any serious tearing of the wet paper. Hurrah!!!

When I completed my post of papers, it was out to the balcony for something heavy to squeeze the water from the wet paper. And since I didn't feel like standing on the post throughout the night (yes, I'd put on weight since coming to Canada), the paving stone would have to do. And it worked quite well too. Nothing like using things around the house to complete a project.

The paper dried to a an off-white with brown inclusions. Not the most Scarlett O'Hara of papers but it had a salt-of-the-earth rocky quality about it.

I've made envelopes with it and together with yesterday's batch of basically white paper with Lover's Rose Elixir Tea paper I made yesterday, I've put together a neato notepaper & envelope wallet set. It goes on Etsy tomorrow. Yippee for low tech!!!

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