What is papermaking?
I guide you through the practical process of making paper.
Do not forget to breathe in and out. Have fun!
Part 1: Making pulp
Equipment: bucket, (hand)blender, old paper
Process: use printer paper without too much ink on it. Ink turns everything grey, and it is
unhealthy to put your hands in, while making paper. Glossy magazine paper or newspaper is
unsuitable either! Tear the paper into small pieces. Add 20 grams of shredded paper (5 x A4)
to 1 liter of water and macerate it in the blender. It is useful to soak the shredded paper the
Part 2: Making the mould and deckle
Equipment: 2 same-size picture frames, 1 mesh screen (such as window screening), stapler
with non-rusting staples (brass or steel)
Process: Stretch the mesh over one frame and staple it to the frame’s outside edge. This
forms the mould. The other frame is the deckle.
Part 3: Making the paper
Equipment: Large plastic tub (big enough to fit the mould inside), water, cup measure
(0.25L), pulp, mould and deckle, tray, foam rubber or dishcloths (larger than your mould),
wooden boards, ratchet straps, a press or some heavy books, clothesline, and pegs.
Fill the tub – your ‘scooping vat’ – with lukewarm water and start by emptying 5
cups of pulp into the scooping vat. Stir the solution thoroughly.
Immerse the mould and the deckle: hold the two frames tightly together with the screen
frame (mould) underneath with the mesh facing upwards. The second frame (deckle) on top.
Immerse them vertically downwards along the edge of the vat until you reach the bottom,
then let it ‘land’ horizontally.
Still holding tight, gently lift the frames out of the pulp solution. Let the excess water drip
out. Remove the deckle and tilt the mould with the pulp to let the last water drip out. Now
take it to the couching area.
“ Each piece of paper starts a new, fresh life.”
What can you turn into paper?
You can create so many interesting products with paper, here are a couple of ideas that I thought are interesting.
If you understand that paper is made of cellulose, you can imagine that every material that contains cellulose is part of the research for paper making. So yes, you can make paper from plants, but we have a few kinds of plants that give good quality paper. For those we are looking for.
As long as jeans are made of cotton we can make lovely paper from it. It is the historical fiber of the European paper.
Well, yes, these are our resources nowadays for making paper. We all have old paper in the house. just 2 tips: do not use newspapers as they are full of toxic ink, and the cheap paper that is used for our advertising leaflets do not have a lot of fibers either. So experiment with the paper you have hanging around at home.
Why should you start papermaking?
It is fun!
Working with your hands, playing with water, hearing the sound of dripping water, smelling the fibers and seeing the colors is a continuous sensory adventure.
When we start mining our waste, the papermaking technique comes back everywhere in the field. It is time for more research to create new materials.
I teach and help people to create new ideas and materials for their projects.
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