Monday, 7 January 2008

Making Your Own Paper

The Materials

* Deckle (or any square frame with a wire/plastic mesh stretched across it)
*Mould ( another square frame of the same size of the sieve)
* A pair of stiff boards slightly larger than the sieve
* Smooth drying cloths slightly larger than the sieve
* A sponge
* A blender
* A tub or basin large enough to fit the sieve
* 50g or so of waste paper

The Method
1. Shred the waste paper and soak for at least 4 hours. Soak overnight if you plan to make paper the next morning.

2. Place a handful of shredded paper into the blender and fill with water to make up 1 litre.

3. Blend for about 15 seconds or until the pulp looks like wet cotton wool. Pour the pulp into the tub. Repeat until all the paper is used up. Add 2 more litres of water into the tub.

4. Place the mould over the deckle with the netting in between them. Dip the furthest end of the frame into the pulp mix. Level into a horizontal position. Make sure the frames are deep enough for the mould to be just covered with pulp.

5. Lift the frames from the mix keeping it level. The remove the mould and let the excess water drain.

6. Place a drying cloth over the pulp. Flip the deckle onto one of the stiff boards with the cloth beneath the pulp.

7. Use the sponge to draw out the excess water from the pulp. Gently knock the deckle netting to dislodge the pulp as you slowly lift up the sieve.

8. Repeat steps 4-7. Pile each finished sheet, separated by a drying cloth,on top of each other until you've used up all the pulp.

9. Place the second board on top of the finished pile. Place any heavy object on the top board to squeeze the excess water out. You could try standing on the pile if you want to feel more involved in the process :)

Paper Pointers

Some ideas to help make your new found skill more colourful, varied and fun

* Before you throw away the bottle with that last bit of perfume, add some water into the bottle and then pour the solution into your pulp. This nicely scents your paper.

* Stale potpourri, shredded and pulped with the paper will not only add scent but colour and texture to your papers.

* Should you want to be able to use markers or fountain pens on your paper remember that you first have to size the dried paper. This is easily done by lightly painting or spraying each sheet with gelatin or starch and then letting the sheet dry. Ballpoint pens, however, are fine on unsized paper.

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