Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paper making

 Once upon a time my son and I made paper for a home school project. It was fun, and a good way to use up junk mail and scrap paper. I want to make paper again-this time to use for feathers for my primitive birds. You can do it yourself, like I did, or buy a kit. There are pluses to both ways. If you google 'paper making,' you'll find some good tutorials.
The first step is to get a bucket, put some water in it, and tear up paper to soak. I made a mistake using brown craft paper. I also used some graph paper that was hard to break down.
Use non-glossy paper. I've read using too much newspaper makes an ugly gray color, but I have not tried that kind of paper yet.
 I made my own screen out of a dresser drawer that I punched the bottom out of. It needed to fit inside a low plastic tote box .
 My staple job was not neat, but it worked. Stretch the screening around the frame (you can use an old picture frame, or a canvas stretcher frame-or make your own frame) just as you would if you stretched a canvas. Start on one side, then go to the opposite side and pull the screen. Fold the edges under so you won't get jabbed with the metal screen.
 You need a good blender. I bought one to use only for paper making. I wanted one that would crush ice, as I figured that would be heavy duty. It works very well. I'll include a materials list at the end of this post.
 Ugh...not one of my favorite colors. Also, I did not use enough water for my first try. The paper scraps should have about an inch of water above them in the blender. Use a low setting first, then move up to 'blend' or 'liquefy.' It takes a few minutes of blending to break up all the scraps of paper. By the way, I soaked my scraps 2 nights-but I've read it can be done with just half an hour soaking.
 Oops-wrong order-this one should be above...(not enough water in the blender).
 Fill the tote until water is an inch or so above the screen as it sits in the tote. Put the mashed up paper in the screen, right in the standing water. Now, mix it around with your hand until it's evenly distributed on the screen. Lift the screen up, and let the water drain into the tote.
 I used a piece of freezer paper cut to size, and pressed the paper mush into the screen to remove more water. Use a gentle pressing, so the screen won't break.
 Well, for some reason, the photos didn't load in order-this one, above, is how the paper mush looks when it's evenly distributed in the screen box.
 When I've gotten most of the water out through the screen, then I need to get the paper off the screen. I covered the paper mush with a piece of freezer paper, turned the box over and gave the back of the box a hard thump with with my hand. It all fell out as one piece (I was worried about that) . Then I used a sponge to press the wet paper, wringing out the sponge into the tote as it wicked up more water.
 My first tries are really pretty thick, but as I practice doing this, I'll get a better feel for how much blended pulp to put in the screen.
I like the little bits of unblended paper pieces, and plan to use flower petals sometime. My friend Cora uses strawberries to make paper, and spices. She recommends looking at YouTube for tutorials.
 My 3 pieces of paper are drying now, and will probably curl up on the edges. I've read you can fix that by ironing the paper. To make paper so it won't soak up ink if you want to draw on it, use some liquid starch in the mix. Please google paper making for the correct amount to add-I didn't use starch, so I don't know.
materials list:
  1. A good blender
  2. some type of screen in a frame
  3. a pan larger than the screen-box
  4. water
  5. a pail to soak paper scraps
  6. a sponge
  7. rags to wipe up messes
  8. freezer paper
  9. lots of paper scraps
  10. other things to add to the paper pulp like glitter, flowers, spices


A bird in the hand said...

Hats off to you. So much goes into paper making but the result is wonderful.

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

Personally, I LOVE that color you got there!!!! I'm just so glad you tried it. Can't believe you made your own frame, etc. My first attempts were a little thick, too. I found if you cover your wet paper with another piece of screening, you can use a rolling pin and it will not only get a LOT of the water out, but will also make the paper thinner and a little bigger --- kinda like pizza dough grows as you roll it thinner. It's all fun, isn't it!

Debbie Nolan said...

Debra - this is something I have always wanted to do. Looks like a wonderful project. Will email you and tell you about one of the artists I saw that used homemade paper with his watercolors.

Lea said...

Love your pretty paper Debra! I too have jumped into the paper making with you and Cora! Can't wait til the peony blossoms are plentiful!!! Happy paper making! Mail man mail man don't be slow... deliver us junk mail... go man go!!! lol