Sunday, December 14, 2008

My tutorial on handmade paper...

Here is how I like to make my paper. There are several different ways to do it, this is just one of the ays. I hope it's not too complicated. I will explain it the best way that I can...
Set aside several hours for this. It does take a while and make a big mess (if you are like me and not careful), but it is very fun and worth all the effort it takes. :D

First: You need to gather your supplies. You can use pretty much use any scrap paper you have lying around the house. (This is a good way to recycle.) I used the paper that was in my shredder and some special colored papers that were in my scrap stash.

You also need a blender/food processor. A blender does work better because it can be filled with more liquid, but I couldn't find mine so I used my mom's food processor.
****I found out after that you really shouldn't use it for food after you use it for paper so I kinda ruined my mom's food processor. (Sorry mom)!! She said it was okay though because she wanted a new one anyway. ha ha****
You need a bucket that is bigger than the frames you will be making. You have to make sure that you have room for your hands to fit in the bucket (you will see what I mean in a second).

Here is the thing you will need to catch the paper "pulp" you will be making. (I'm sorry I don't know what it is called). My dad made this one for me. It is just two "frames" made out of wood. One with a screen stapled to it and one with no screen.
You will also need lots of towels to dry your paper out on. Sponges might help too.

When you have gathered all of your supplies then you are ready to get started.
Get a second bucket. One big enough to soak all of your paper scraps in. Your paper scraps should be ripped (not cut-it makes the fibers weaker) into 1X1 inch squares or smaller. Any bigger and it might mess up the blender's motor. The ripped scraps should be soaked for an hour or longer. The longer they are soaked the easier it is on the blender's motor. Also, the thicker the paper, the longer it has to soak.

After the scraps have been soaked, they are ready to be processed. With a cup grab water and some paper from the soaking bucket and place in the blender. (More water than paper). Start blending the paper. (I like to use the pulse setting so as not to overheat the motor). If you find that it is too much for the blender to handle, just remove some of the paper from the blender or just add more water if there is room).
After you have blended the pulp for a minute or so, it should look something like this. If not, then just keep blending it. You don't want the paper fibers to be too big. Just use your judgement on this one. You want it to look like a big blog of pulp. Isn't it gross looking?

Pour the pulp into your big bucket. Repeat this process until your bucket is about 1/2 to 3/4 full. You don't want it to be too full because it will overflow when you place the frame in there.
Now, put the frame with the screen on the bottom and the frame with no screen on the top. Slide the frames into the water sideways (completely submersing them) and then bring them straight up to the top of the bucket. Make sure to keep the two frames together.
***If you happen to let them go or something else messes up don't worry, just dump the pulp back into the water, stir it up and start all over again by putting the frames back in there sideways.***
Balance the frames (still together) on the side of the bucket and press as much water out as you can. When it is just dripping a little bit, move the whole thing to the side and place the frames on top of a big absorbent towel.

Once on top of the towel (I am using my Sham-wow), remove the top frame (the one with no screen). Flip the other side of the towel on top of the paper pulp and press until as much water comes out as you can get.

When this is done then you flip the entire thing over (towel and all). I like to press it some more from the other side of the frame just to make sure most of the water is out. You can also use a sponge at this point to remove some excess water. When you feel it is dry enough then you can slowly and carefully take the screen off the top of your paper.
When you are through, It will look something like this!!! Here is your (still wet) sheet of hand made paper. Now, place it off to the side to dry for at least 24-48hours (depending on how much water you took out of it to begin with).
I layered my sheets of paper between lots of towels and rags while they were set aside to try and remove some more of the water.

When I was completely finished making my paper for the day, I slowly and very carefully put the sheets on top of cardboard to dry. You can also use an old window screen for this step. Just make sure that air can get around your paper while drying or it will mildew after a while.

Here is what my finished papers look like. I didn't process mine as much in the blender so I can still see alot of what was on the original paper. If you don't want to see that much of the original paper then you just need to blend up your paper alot until you can't tell what kind of paper you started with in the beginning.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and I hope that you can understand my instructions. I know they aren't exactly easy, but I did my best to explain the process.
***If you need me to explain something further than just leave a comment or feel free to e-mail me with your question and I will try to answer it as best I can.***
Thanks for taking the time to learn something new with me!!!


LaY hOoN said...

What a great tutorial you share here.
Thank you.

mushroommeadows said...

haha Your mom is a good sport. :)

thanks for the tutorial, I've been wanting to make my own paper for a while now. :)

Retro Girl said...

Wow great job!! I'm really impressed!

I have seen this done before on tv, but you make it really look do-able for the average person :-)

I've seen where you can put things into it, like plant/flower pieces, and glitter, tint, etc.

Studio At Crow Haven Farm said...

I found your blog on Creative Every Day. What a fantastic post and tutorial you have put here. I love it! Thanks for the hard work and posting this! Cheers Mate!

Desire Fourie said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial. Handmade paper definitely helps save our planet. Hugs from Desire

Ugly Stepsister said...

I love this tutorial. I had a friend who made paper years ago, but I had forgotten the steps. I think I'll try it. thanks!