since papermaking is one of my favorite crafts in my skill set, i'd like to share some...
the kind of paper thats feasible to make without any special equipment, at home, is RECYCLED paper, from your paper scraps.
you can use bills, brown paper grocery bags, junk mail, printing mistakes, etc...whatever you have laying around.
i also make books
, i do book binding, and theres a lot of cutting and scraps from that, i would save up bunches of this for a small batch.
adding a bit of water
to that, put into a blender, you can turn it back into pulp fairly easily and quickly.
you will need a sort of deckle, or in a pinch, a window screen or something similar...and some kind of "vat" which can be a large sink or a bathtub.
this is how i started papermaking, in the bathtub, with recycled scraps and bills, using a window screen =) until i got hooked and wanted to really learn the whole craft.
i also had some ghetto presses =) well ....home made presses made with different stuff at different times - boards, clamps, bricks, and even stacks of other books...for their weight...to use as a press for book making.
it takes a bit in the blender, but not too long, playing around with all the details you figure it out better, after you do it a few times.
like how much pulp for your vat size, and how to pull it up so that its nice and evenly spread on your screen...or how to do embellishments into your paper, like leaves, flowers and seeds...one of my favorite things to make is decorative flower papers.
once you have a pulpy mushy ball of your recycled stuff, that goes into the bathtub, or vat.
you put the screen on the bottom of the tub, under the pulp, swirl the pulp so that its evenly suspended in the water...
with one hand on the screen and one hand keeps swirling all the pulp in the water, then grab the screen with both hands and slowly pull it up...all the paper pulp suspended on the water in that section is now on your screen in a sheet.
if you want to use embellishments this is where you put them in, right into the swirling water at the very end, immediately before you pull the sheet.
this next part gets a bit tricky, depending on what you want to do. you can just leave that to dry, but it will be a bit curled up and not flat when it dries. it will likely be quite thick, it depends on how much pulp in relation to the volume of water, thats how thick your sheet is, and it's trickier to get it nice and thin without any holes....
the next steps if you want to go forward are to flip your sheet of paper onto a felt, usually set up on a drying rack set up of some kind...not immediately after you pull it...you want it to set up a little...so you pull a bunch of sheets at once...before flipping the first ones onto the felts/whatever else you are using to dry. this part is much trickier than it looks...sometimes you cant flip it right on there, and it folds up and turns back into a pulpy mess...or whatever else...but you get the knack for it. again best after it sits up a bit, so wait a long while to make it easier to get it onto something else, felts are usually used.
then it is squeezed.. by some kind of press...to push the fibers all together, and to keep it flat, which squeezes out a lot of the water...and then put into a drying rack or where ever else to dry.
to make paper from raw materials is a much longer process.
when i worked at the paper farm as we called it (also called several other names including - Evanescent Press
) there was a large beater, and yes you must boil the fiber, for quite a long time. like longer than a day! there were so many cool things there, old school letter press printing equiptment, and really awesome old presses...that i got to play with.
so you could do this part, boiling, at home with a lot of patience and a huge soup pot...i would turn it on and get it to a boil, every few hours...for 2 days...to do this at home.
and you could try to put together a simple beater type machine, perhaps with some power tools and a bit of ingenuity...
the old school method is to LITERALLY BEAT the material into a pulp.
this might be good if you have some issue to work through =)
but very intense to try...
you know i saw some you tube once showing the old school process, and all these mountain women making paper the old school way, beating the pulp by hand...
it was pretty cool...maybe see if i could find it again.