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Saturday, April 16, 2011

First try at homemade paper!

I finally got bold and took matters by the hand around here! I have been wanting to try to make homemade paper from my shredded stuff for weeks, but something always stopped me! Finally, I just started the process and made due as I went.

First I made a big pot of the shredded paper from my shredding machine...mostly white but a few other colors mixed in as well.

I boiled it gently for a while, then left it sitting on OFF for a few hours while I went away for a while.

When I came back, I put three batches of my shredded stuff, with water added (enough to make it easily blendable) into my Vita Mix blender. It turned to pulp almost immediately.

I poured it into a large pot, and took all of it out to my wheelbarrow out under a tree in the backyard. Poured it in, and added more water with the hose, until I had a nice watery/pulpy mixture (I guessed on the consistency, but it seems I did OK on this).

Now, I know a lot of people use an old picture frame, and remove the glass, etc, and staple a peice on screen on the bottom, but I wanted something stronger...so I used a flat bottomed grill basket for vegetables. It has larger holes all over it to allow the water to run out. It has a flat bottom that is about 7 inches square.

I cut a peice of nylon screen to fit into the bottom, and then I just held the screen in place while I scooped my basket down into the wheelbarrow and got a layer of watery pulp over the top of the screen, as even as I could.

I let a lot of the water drip out the bottom, then I sat the basket on the grass, and used a peice of white felt to cover the top. Then you take a sponge and press down repeatatively all over the surface to press out all the water. I had to keep squeezing the sponge after one or two presses to keep it as dry as I could as I kept pressing more and more water out. You can tell when you are not really pressing much out anymore.

Then I took the basket in the house to the table, where I turned it upside down over a towel. I used a pencil to poke through the holes in the grill basket to push the screen out and the paper and screen would fall onto the towel.

I let my sheets of wet paper lay there for a few hours...(mainly due to having to attend to other things...and came back later to dry the sheets. I did that by placing them on a dry towel and covering with one of my husbands hankerchiefs, and pressing with a dry iron over and over...moving until I felt it was fairly dry on one side, then turning and repeating until they were fairly dry.

Now I just have to wait a few days (probably) with them in the airconditioning, to finish drying completely.

Oh...please remember that this was my first time. I think there is another ingredient you can throw in to make the paper behave better with ink (when you write on it)...and I want to say it is glycerin (But I must research before I can say for sure). I added a few drops of food coloring onto the surface of the paper when I first pulled it out of the pulp/water bath, and before pressing with the felt and sponge. I thought it would have swooshed the color more than it did, during thins water stage, so I am going to make more tomorrow and add some ingredients...like grass, flower petals, and glitter (just a little).

Will let you know how it turns out. This was fun...seriously fun. OH...and I have a question for you? I like the sort of deckled edges for an artsy look, but what do you think...should I cut them to be like straight paper edge, or leave artsy? I am trying to think of how I could fashion them into a journal and not lose the neat edge aspect. Any ideas???

17 comments:

meemsnyc said...

Wow that is impressive. You can try adding wildflower seeds next time and then plant the paper! Really cool.

marianne said...

Wow what a beautiful result!
So many fun things to learn.....so little time....
Who knows, maybe one day......

This was fun to watch Julie!

Serena said...

Well done, Julie....your home-made paper looks great!

studio lolo said...

What a cool thing Julie! Great job!

if you have a craft store near you, look in the aisle with paper punches ets. They have a ruler that lets you tear deckle edges :)
Pretty cool!

Cindy said...

Wow, that is some deckle! I would leave it on there unless you need a clean edge for whatever you are making with it. Also, if you shred/blend a glittery or metallic trimmed greeting card, it puts glitter into your paper.

By the way, my paper making instructions did not include cooking the paper first. Just blending it to a pulp and pouring it into the mold. What is the purpose of boiling it?

Teri C said...

I found this so fascinating Julie. I have always wanted to try it but didn't know where to start. Now that I see what is all involved, think I will continue to buy it. lol

I love the deckled edges! You could make the journal, then come visit me and I will use my 'bind-it-all' to put it together. Or you can have it done at an office store. Let us see it when you are done. With lots of sketches and writing in it of course.

soulbrush said...

oh my word, what a lotta work...never ever considered trying this, you are clever. how I love that header of Emily.

Kala said...

Wow, I am impressed. I love how it came out, simply beautiful:) I love the artsy edges.

Julie said...

Hi Meemsync! I think I will try some seed papers too...I saw once where you can make them round (the size of a pot) and just lay the paper in the pot over the dirt and then add a thin layer of dirt over top and water! That could be fun to send out to blogger friends as well!!!

Julie said...

Thanks Lolo...I will look for it!

Julie said...

Cindy, I had read to boil the paper...I guess it just softens it quicker!!! I noticed the paper you made had some sparkle to it...that is a great tip about adding the metallic paper in the blender...love it! I tried adding glitter to the pulp water and it was too diuted....then I sprinkled some on top after I pulled each sheet out.

Julie said...

Teri...I was actually thinking of trimming one edge off, and adding a wide tape then punching holes...a Bind It All would be awesome!!!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow Julie, this paper is great. I wouldn't cut off the edges. It gives the paper such character. Whatever you do with it I know it will be beautiful.

Bobbie Lynn said...

Your paper came out really neat. Love it! You can do a lot with that. Something I may need to look into doing myself. Looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing and hope you get to make more.

deepazartz said...

As you know I love handmade paper as well...they are gorgeous stuff!!The ones you've made are fab too...and what a process! I had always wanted to make one of my own...I should try it out sometime.
The edges look great the way they are done...unless you need something straight for a specific need. They have that raw look.
Loved this post!

shirley said...

Great paper, definitely leave it artsy. That tray you used is definitely the way to go...and who would think to use the wheelbarrow to mix the paper pulp..I am impressed with this too.

margaret said...

You asked via my blog about making the paper "softer" which seems to imply "thinner" - I find that having a more watery mixture automatically results in thinner paper. I use metal mesh to lift the sheet of paper out of the water, and then tip it onto a j-cloth, sponge it, and leave it on the j-cloth to dry (It can be hung on the laundry line!).
As for the deckle edges - if you'd like straighter edges on some pieces, wet a paintbrush in water and use it to draw a line, then tear gently along the line - you'll get a nice soft edge.