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How to make Paper at home  RSS feed

 
pioneer
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There are lots of different ways of making paper.  I thought it would be fun to gather together as many as we can and make a big happy thread all about how to make paper at home.

First, two videos from what is fastly becoming my favourite youtube channel. 

In this first video, he attempts to make paper from papyrus, parchment, and wood pulp with various degrees of success.



Part 2: he seeks the help of some experts.

He talks about paper made from hemp, cotton, bamboo, wood pulp, and old cloth.

 
raven ranson
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rags to paper

A more historical video, but possibly useful for home production. 

 
pollinator
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Could some of the waste from your other projects dealing with making cloth be incorporated in making paper ?

David
 
raven ranson
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David Livingston wrote:Could some of the waste from your other projects dealing with making cloth be incorporated in making paper ?

David



I think that would be great.

I tried making paper.  Fail.  Not even going to describe what happened but now I'm heading over to amazon to buy a new fire extinguisher. 
 
raven ranson
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Here's another video that makes everything look so easy.

Paper from old jeans.

 
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I still day dream about buying a Hollander Beater and really go into paper production...here's a thread I started about that a while back.

recycling materials into paper with a Hollander beater

There are small ones that aren't so high priced and I've even worked out where to put it and who among my friends might be interested in the project.

I always had a certain amount of fringe trimmings after washing my weavings that I thought would make great paper.  Piles of hemp and cotton and rami and linen fluff already on the way to broken down for paper making.

I think I've put it off too late now but it just seems like a great home based business with all sorts of directions to take the paper itself including 3D stuff. 

...and blotter paper!!!

 
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I've been trying to figure out how to turn textile waste into paper (to be used in collage art projects) without a Hollander beater. The blender by itself doesn't do enough. I'm thinking of using a disposal but wondering if it's worth the bother?
 
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Has anyone tried the higher-powered kitchen blenders as yet?

I mean the pricey ones usually bought for making green smoothies without little bits of leaf left over. I have some experience with those, and I remember there was a definite difference between the smoothies I would make with the magic bullet or the old braun my Mom had in the kitchen versus one of those Blendtec or Vitamix ones.

I found with a conventional blender, I would still be left with identifiable tiny flakes of leaf in the slurry, whereas if I used one of the more powerful ones, it would be completely homogenous. I wasn't able to take a microscope to it, but there was still a visible difference to the quality of the blend.

I also had amazing success, even with the lower-powered blenders, adding diatomaceous earth to my smoothie. I would get Blendtec-quality results out of a conventional blender with the addition of diatomaceous earth as an abrasive, and in the Blendtec, it would emulsify.

I wonder if diatomaceous earth would act as an abrasive in the pulping process, and if it would interfere later on in the papermaking process. Any thoughts?

-CK
 
Judith Browning
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I think a blender just isn't up to the job unless one is using already pulped fibers or things that bust up easily.
Even with a Hollander Beater where the plant fibers are prepared in some way first...either 'cooked' with a caustic of some sort or if fabric, cut into one inch pieces, it takes hours of 'beating'.  I'm not sure even a high end blender would survive?






 
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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.
 
leila hamaya
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tried to find that video i saw, but found there was a LOT of similar videos...

in particular i remember it was working with LOKTA, which is an awesome fiber....

here's some...





 
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On a trip to Bhutan 8 years ago, (North of India and next door to Nepal) we saw them making paper from the inner bark of mulberry trees.  It made a really beautiful rough paper, pretty enough to use as wrapping paper.  They strip it from the trees in long pieces, then soak the inner bark and mashed it out flat.  It makes long slimy pieces that they smooth out on screens and weight to dry as flat as possible.  So if you have lots of mulberry trees, that is a possibility. 
 
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I used to make paper every summer. Once school was out, I would tear up all my class notes and saved assignments into a big pot, boil, mash, and make. It was just the end-of-year aggression therapy I needed!
 
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I absolutely adore homemade paper! And I would absolutely adore someone giving me the tip(s) I need to improve mine. Using discarded paper, I mix up a pulp and screen it. And...nearly without fail, end up with what would be a lovely sheet of paper, except for a small patch where the pulp is too thin. I re-screen, to no avail.

Can anyone point me the right direction to info on consistently creating sheets of paper sans thin patches? (I've searched extensively and not come cross the right info yet.)
 
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I've been wondering about the following for a while. Do you think you could use wasp nests for making paper? Then you could really incorporate functions together. I see them harvesting and chewing/processing the wood all the time. Saves you the work. ha Wasp paper. Funny to think about.
 
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leila hamaya wrote:
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.



That must have been nice. I had a passing obsession with this stuff a long time ago, most of my bookmarks are dead now (remember geocities?)
This one still works Welcome to the Sunni Side of the Street
I've come a full circle. I found that place years ago while studying paper and now I've come back to it while researching nettle (Paper from Stinging Nettle )
She writes about The Cherub, a machine to beat fibers to a pulp.

Some books I made almost 20 years ago:


The ones with Japanese binding have hand made (recycled) paper covers. The blue one has paste paper covers as I couldn't get my hands on ox gall.
The Internet was relatively young at the time, now everything is easy to find. 
 
Chris Kott
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Love those books!

I am a printer and bookbinder by trade. Haven't yet gotten into the hand-sewn bindings, but I know the craft well enough to produce professional books, and even slip cases.

I have never tried papermaking, though. Personally, I would be pleased as punch if I could make a paper tough yet soft enough to replace paper towels, or even toilet paper, from waste paper or residual clean biomass from the farm.

-CK
 
Francis Mallet
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Found this while watching woodblock printing videos. Hosho paper making from the inner bark of mulberry trees starting at 3:10 to 6:04.
 
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