Making Paper: 1st Attempt

Experimental Paper Day

My cousin suggested making videos. I only have two hands and a cell phone here so please bare with me… I’m learning as I go.

Yes, I watched several “how to make paper” videos on YouTube about a year ago, started drying flowers, and purchased a blender to make the pulp. I also made a couple molds by attaching scraps of window screens to the front side of a couple dollar store photo frames, then topped each with an identical frame laid face down. Binder clips hold the molds together until it is time to remove the handmade paper.

The pulp was made by soaking shredded printer paper in water until soft, then blending with more water into a pulp. I only used white paper (discarding strips with ink printed on them) and presoaked a good week before blending in small batches. It was still thicker than the watery pulp shown in the videos… theirs being as thin as cloudy water in big tubs, slide screen mold in and lift out of water with a thin layer of pulp evenly lingering on top. I just jugged up my thick stuff thinking more water can be added later.

Weeks passed. I took sick with covid (think what you’d like, but being vaccinated may have saved my life. My only trip to hospital was to have a leg scanned for clots).

Surprisingly, the pulp kept well in the jug. It didn’t mold or anything. I was kind of hoping it did so I could bail on this project as the idea of dealing with big tubs of pulp surrey waters was not appealing. It’s not like you can pour leftovers down the drain.

The idea of using it thick, just pouring it on instead of dunking screen molds popped into my head, kind of like a variation of pouring paint. I’m making art paper, not thin stationary, so may as well try it.

Time to play… wet photos below.
Next morning… still drying.

So, what did I learn?

  • Don’t use food coloring. It bleeds out with the water.
  • Flowers stirred in with pulp are better than just laid on top.
  • Flowers can leech colors.
  • Thicker pulp makes thicker paper.
  • Paper retains screen and other impressions. Try rolling wet paper.

I’m going to make more, keep playing, and test out the papers for ink absorbency and other factors. It will be fun. Thanks for reading!