Monday 21 January 2013

Handmade Paper

I had my first attempt at making handmade paper recently. I basically followed the instructions from this online tutorial and used a paper making kit that Crafty Green Boyfriend gave me as a gift.

It's a messy process and uses a fair amount of water and a fair amount of electricity as you need to use a blender to mix the paper pulp. Using the kit I've got, you need to make each sheet of paper separately, so it's very time consuming. I think also I'll need to practice a lot before I get the thickness right (the purple paper on the right is very definitely too thick!). Also I opted to let the paper dry naturally, which may have been a mistake as it took ages to dry. You can iron the paper to dry it out more quickly. Also I should have pressed out more of the water when the paper was in the mould.

The paper that you end up with is quite rough - you'd use it for texture effects in greetings cards for example rather than as writing paper. However, what I really like is the variety of colours you can make. I've sorted out my sheets of used coloured office paper into colours and the photo shows on the left the result of making paper with pink office paper and on the right using a mix of purple and pink office papers. I'll be experimenting in the future with various colours.

So this isn't a craft I'll be doing too often but it's a good way of recycling paper.

Have you ever tried making paper in this way? What were your experiences? Do you have any advice to share?

I'm delighted to be the featured poet on Daily Haiku again this week. You can read today's haiku here and yesterday's here.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can learn more!


Mimi Foxmorton said...

I love this!

I did this ages ago and, yes, time consuming but rewarding.

I used a framed screen and baby rolling pin. Worked pretty well but did takes ages to dry.

I tore the paper into tiny shreds and also mixed in blossoms from my garden for a different texture. You can also press in leaves (and blossoms) and such in an edge design for added textures.

I love that you did this. Makes me want to do it again but it must be summer so everything can go outside to dry! lol

Have a merry and creative New Year!


(Collage Pirate, Pirate Girl, Goat Borrower.....pick one.....) ;)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Mimi - yes it is fun isn't it? I'll try using blossoms and other decorative extras in the future, I think that adds a lot of texture and character to the paper!

jem said...

I had a phase of paper making a few years ago - it is time consuming but feels quite special to do. The thinner you blitz the pulp to the thinner the paper comes out I recall. Also fun, to put bits of newspaper in so that the odd word or two appears on the new sheet!

Crafty Green Poet said...

jem - yes I think you're right about how much you blitz the pulp determining how thin the paper is. I think I'll improve on that with practice. I love the idea of putting in a few words from newspapers (or magazines)

The Weaver of Grass said...

One good use for handmade paper is for making book covers for handmade books Juliet - I have tried that in the past. It is a bit messy making it and I must say I never got what I would call really exciting colours.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Weaver, yes that is a good idea. Not sure my paper this time round is good enough, but we'll see!

angela recada said...

The colors of your hand-made paper are gorgeous! Paper-making is another item that's on my long list of things to do. Maybe this will be the year I finally do it, too, now that I've seen your beautiful results. :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

thanks Angela, it's certainly fun to experiment with the colours!

Larry Kollar said...

This is definitely on my to-do list. I like the idea of using shredded leaves as fiber, I can get all of those I want just outside. :-)

The colors are beautiful. It will make great craft paper, certainly. When it warms up here (not like it's been seriously cold so far), I'm going to try this.

madhat said...

Impressive! Was it messy?

Crafty Green Poet said...

madhat - yes it was messy!

Ms Sparrow said...

I once watched the paper-making process at a museum exhibit. It totally discouraged me from ever attempting it myself!

bunnits said...

What fun! Messy, but fun. I've been making paper off and on for about ten years. My first attempts were similar to yours. To reduce the amount of water used, I pour off as much of it from the pulp vat (usually a dishpan) as possible into another container and reuse it in the blender. You can make smooth surfaces by turning the sheets onto a sheet of glass (picture frame glass works well; wrap the edges with masking tape for safety) or the back side of a baking sheet and pressing them. I usually iron mine, but have to watch out for scorching. I have other hints, but hate to take up so much space. We could email unless you want me to post them here. Have fun!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Your paper is so pretty and love the colours.
I have made paper before and it is quite fun and a little messy.
Must do it again one day - have a little book on how to make it.

Happy week

RG said...

Never did it! But I have pressed a lot of flowers!

Radio Nowhere said...

Just curious, do you think reusing the paper is worth the electric and water you used doing this yourself?

I like the idea of this, but would be personally disappointed if I couldn't write on it with some ease...

Love the colors!


Jenn Jilks said...

I did this with students one year! Lots of fun!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Radio Nowhere - I was talking about that aspect of it with Crafty Green Boyfriend and we couldn't work out the answer, because we don't know exactly how energy intensive regular paper recycling is. I definitely won't make much paper like this but i think it's worth doing to produce pieces of decorative coloured paper once in a while.