Making Paper

I recently got it in my head that it would be fun to make my own paper. Well, last night I put some torn scrap paper and shredded bills in a tub of water to soak overnight. Today I set about turning that sloppy mess into ragged new sheets of paper.

Today’s first step was a trip to the hardware store to buy some mesh screen for the mold. I used a small picture frame as the frame for the mold. Once that was ready, I set about pulping the paper. A lot of contemporary do-it-yourself guides suggest using a blender, but I don’t have a blender, so I started with a fork and a whisk. I soon determined that using my hands was more enjoyable and just as effective. That’s what she said.

Anyway, here are some photos from the rest of my first day of papermaking. Check out theĀ full set of photos on Flickr for a few more pictures and additional comments on each step.

A bin full of pulp, hand-wrung to the consistency of oatmeal:

1. Pulp

The mold, just withdrawn to drain from the solution of pulp:

1.5. Pulpy Solution

Frame flipped over to deposit the protopaper onto my pile of newspaper and old T-shirts:

2. Frame

My first two sheets of paper, proudly set out to dry on the back porch like cookies cooling on the windowsill:

4. Drying

One of the many possible uses for homemade sheets of paper (note that although it appears bluish-gray when damp, this batch actually becomes pretty white as it dries):

7. House of Sheets

The verdict is in: this paper is profile-portraits-of-pretty-girls-compatible! The bits of printed text that survive the pulping process add a bit of mystery to the drawing. Why is she whispering about Minnesota?

8. Drawing

Well, this has been great fun. I look forward to more experiments with papermaking. Lots of variables to play with in the recipe, the equipment, and the process.

Instructions consulted but only loosely obeyed:

Posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2010. Tags: , , .

One Response to “Making Paper”

Posted by Mom on Monday, July 19th, 2010 at 12:41 PM.

Wow! I’ve always been intrigued by papermaking, too, but never followed through! Cool! Your drawing blew me away! I love it!