I even, (after seeing something similar on T.V.) cast one of my
own bras with paper pulp, left it to harden and then sprayed it
in the most delightful colours and metallic paints. It looks like
a work of art! So, not only can you use hand-made paper for the
obvious things, you can also use more unorthodox methods of utilising
its unique qualities.
In sheets, handmade paper can be used to cover boxes or books and every time
you make a piece of your own paper, it is completely unique! When
you get into this craft and see the beautiful and unusual effects
that can be achieved, you will be completely hooked.
So, what do we use to produce our own paper? Well, torn or shredded
photocopying paper is the most common material to pulp, although
ANY paper can be used actually.
Sometimes I experiment with other types of paper, such as toilet
roll, tissue paper or coloured paper. If you live near an office,
perhaps you could ask them if you could recycle their shredded paper?
If not, then appropriate paper can always be found around the house.
Basic instructions for making your own paper
8 to 10 sheets of A4 or letter-size paper
Large mixing bowl (or if you are making large amounts, a
Washing up bowl
Blender or hand blender
Fine gauge wire mesh
J cloths or Handi-Wipes non-woven towels
A small sponge
2 thick towels
Process for Making Paper
1. Tear the paper into small pieces, or if you are using shredded
paper use it as it is. Place in a large bowl and pour boiling water
over the pile. Make sure there is plenty of water covering the paper
and leave to soak for a few hours, until the water has cooled down.
It is not strictly necessary to do this, but it easier for the blender
to pulp the paper if you leave it to soak for a while.
Blend to a fine pulp with a hand blender, or if you have a power
blender pour both paper and water into it a bit at a time and blend.
2. Fold your towels and place on a work surface and place a J cloth
on top. This is where you will form your sheets of paper.
3. Fill a bowl about a third full of water. Add a few handfuls
of the pulp and swish it around. Immerse the wire mesh and pull
up out of the water picking up the pulp in the mesh. Let it drain
slightly till all the water has run through.
4. Turn the mesh over (pulp side down) on to the J cloth. Using
the sponge, soak up the excess water on the wrong back of the mesh
by dabbing fairly firmly on the back of the mesh.
Then slowly and
carefully lift the mesh; the paper should stay on the cloth. You
can leave your paper as it is, or you can carry on adding as many
layers as needed to make the thickness of paper required. Leave
to dry in a warm room.
5. If you are making a pile of sheets, you can lay another J cloth
over the paper and layer your paper up like this. When you have
about 6-8 layers, you can then place the whole 'sandwich' between
some heavy books to press.
Adding colour and texture with natural materials
If you would like to colour or even texture your paper, without
resorting to the artificial colour produced by using tinted paper
for your pulp, you can colour it using natural materials.
have decided what you are going to use to colour and/or texture
the paper, you add the material (s) to the water and swirl around
just before you immerse your mesh. Obviously the colour will depend
on the material used - and the amount, but there are many ways you
can add colour or texture;
Tea leaves - depending on how many you use, will determine
the finished look and feel of your paper.
Onion skins - which can either be crumbled up and added
to your paper pulp, or boiled to give you coloured 'juice' which
can be added to your pulp.
Berries - blackberries or other berries can be sieved and
the resulting liquid added to the water.
Beetroot - can give your paper a reddy pink tinge, although
quite a lot of the colour will be lost upon evaporation.
You can also make exquisite papers by trapping things like petals,
leaves, doilies etc. between layers of paper. Make a very fine layer
by only adding a small amount of pulp to the water. Place your natural
materials on the paper and add further layers, entrapping the materials.
Another method for adding texture is to trap pieces of string between
layers in swirls or lines. Or leave the ends of string showing at
the edges of the paper and when it is dry, pull up the string, tearing
only the top layer of paper.
Are you itching to start making your own exquisite paper yet? If
so, then here are the instructions for making some cards to start
you off. Obviously card making is one of the more basic things you
can do, but once you get into making your own paper you will carry
on to make your own unique projects.
Handmade Paper Projects - Greeting Cards
These greetings cards use sheets of your own hand made paper folded
in half down the centre. You have to make this base paper quite
thick to enable it to stand up and take the weight of the decoration.
Then separate shapes are made by actually cutting the mesh into
shapes and casting the paper straight into shapes on the J cloth.
(editors note: J cloth is similar to US Handi-Wipes
or non-woven fabric mesh utility towels)
Make the colour or texture of pulp required and cut your aluminum
mesh into different shapes. Try hearts, wiggly lines or long thin
pieces. Alternatively you can make squares to stick on the front
of the cards with a flower head or some other decoration.
Make the shapes and leave to dry as already instructed. When all
your paper is dry, stick the required shapes into place on the front
of the card, and what I am fond of doing is lighting a candle and
(carefully) scorching round the edges.
RELATED: Scented handmade paper card crafts
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Miller is a writer and artist. Her websites include Gails
Gallery - http://home.freeuk.net/gails-gallery, Stage
Your Home To Sell -http://homestager.web1000.com
For Crafts- http://home.freeuk.net/cashforcrafts