Saturday, March 21

Handmade Papermaking

I've been playing around with handmade paper lately, hoping to make some sheets nice enough to bind into some books.


It all starts with scraps of paper I save in a bin, including bits of maps. These get shredded with my paper shredder, and then soaked in water, at least overnight.


The buckets have different shades of the same colour, so it's unpredictable what colour the paper will be when finished.


Soaked paper is then run through the blender, to make pulp. Wet pulp is not very pretty, and surprisingly, maps end up a rather dull grey! I mixed this with the blue pulp and it turned out a lighter blue (see below).


The mold and deckle is slipped through the wet pulp to get some of the pulp to settle on the mesh screen.


I like recycling paper to make new paper because the results are more unpredictable, although you can buy premade cotton or abaca pulp to get started. For the above sheets and the green sheets below, I didn't process the pulp very long in the blender, so bits of paper and the odd inked letter remained in the pulp.


For the mustard yellow sheets, I processed the pulp for a longer time in the blender, resulting in a more uniform looking pulp.


I'm having fun experimenting. Stay tuned to see more paper experiments, and what I might decide to do with this paper!

8 comments:

  1. Wow Laura, I'd love to give this a try!
    My son has made paper before, at Children's University. They used banana skins, old jeans, even grass! He says you can use anything fibrous to make paper - and that banana smelled funny! He's just seen your post and suggested we have a go ourselves. I may have to aquire a cheap blender - I'm not spoiling my fancy one!
    I love your results - especiallly the green and the finely blended yellow.

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    1. Lizzie, make sure you do use a separate blender because the pulp/inks are not food safe. I found mine at a garage sale. You can usually find them at second hand shops. It's fun to do with kids. I haven't tried plants or fabric--they tend to require additional prep of cooking or beating a lot more. Have fun!

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  2. fun! when I was in Banff Centre last month, I saw their paper making studio -- it can turn out huge sheets.

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    1. That would have been cool to see Brenda! I've never seen professional equipment in person.

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  3. Hi Laura, thanks for sharing your experience, the paper sheets I saw were beautiful. I love when you post you always inspire me!

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    1. Thanks Lucia! I hope you give it a try sometime too!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Collete! Have you ever tried making paper? It's something that's fun to do with kids too.

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