Paper Making Directions

How to Make Paper Pulp from Paper Scrap, Recycle Paper, Homemade Paper, Steps in Making Paper, and a Handmade Paper Mold and Dackle


There is very little equipment you will need to get started. You can start out with cheap equipment that you find around the house to see if you will like paper making and then invest in better equipment if you decide it is something that you want to explore further.

A mold and deckle is used to form the paper. The mold is used like a sieve to pick up the paper fibers that are floating around in a tub or vat of water. It is basically a frame with a piece of screen or nylon mesh stretched across the top. The deckle is the same size as the mold and is laid on top of the mold. It keeps the paper pulp from running off the mold. So basically you just need two frames of the same size, one with a screen attached to it and the other without. If you have any old picture frames laying around, you can use those to get started. They need to be completely flat on at least one side and the same size. They probably won't last very long, but it is a good way to get started if you don't want to invest in a real mold and deckle before you are sure paper making is something you want to get into.

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Directions for Making a Mold and Deckle:

picture mold and deckle What you will need: 3/4" x 3/4" pine boards - at least 84 inches long screen, nylon mesh, or silk screen hand saw and miter box rust proof staples brass screws wood glue clear varnish corner brackets bar clamp.

How to make:

1. Cut the 3/4" x 3/4" pine boards into four- 10 inch lengths and four - 11 inch lengths.

2. To make the deckle arrange two 10 inch boards and two 11 inch boards like the diagram above. The 10 inch boards are on the sides and the 11 inch boards are in the middle. The inside measurements will be 8 1/2" x 11" and will give you an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. Use wood glue to secure the edges and place a bar clamp on the outside pieces to hold the

3. When the glue is dry screw corner brackets on each side of the frame.

4. Do the same thing with the other four boards to make the frame.

5. When both frames are complete, paint on several coats of clear varnish and let it dry for several days.

6. When one frame is completely dry, cut a piece of screen or nylon mesh about one inch longer on each side than the frame. Use a stapler to staple the mesh on the frame. Start by folding the edge of the screen under half an inch and stapling it to the outside side of one side of the frame in the center. Pull the screen tight and fold over the opposite edge of the screen half inch and staple it to the opposite side of the frame in the center. Do the same thing to the other two sides. You should have the screen stapled once in the center of each side. Now staple the rest of the screen to the frame by stapling the screen down tight on all the sides. You should have a row of staples all the way around the sides of the frame. Don't staple one whole side and then another, but instead take turns putting a few staples on each side until all the staples are in place.

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Electric Blender or Food Processor - You will need a good quality food processor or blender to make your paper into pulp.

Other Equipment: * Bowls and buckets to soak your paper and store the pulp in. * Some type of vat or tub that is large enough to accommodate your mold and deckle. * Couching cloths to hold the sheets of paper and absorb the excess water. You can use torn up sheets or kitchen clothes as long as they are bigger than the paper you are making. * Newspapers used to press the papers between and absorb excess water. * Pressing Board - the wet sheets are laid between two boards to remove as much water as possible. The boards can be made out of plywood that has been sealed with an acrylic varnish. The boards should be larger than the sheets you are making. You can place bricks or other heavy objects on top of the board to apply pressure or you can use G-clamps. * Sponges to soak up excess water * Drying Board - You need a flat smooth surface to lay your pressed sheets on to dry. * Iron - Use an iron to make your sheets dry faster with a smooth surface.

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Supplies and Materials

Discarded Paper

The better the quality of paper you use the better the quality of paper you will make. You can use almost any type of paper you can find. Glossy paper with pictures from magazines do not work well. Newspapers can be used but the high acid content and black ink will not make a high quality paper. The best types of papers are computer paper, photocopy paper, writing paper, and envelopes with the glued parts removed.

Glues and Size

If you are making paper to be used for writing or painting you might want to make them less absorbent by adding size to the vat before you form the paper. You can use white glue, household starch, gelatin, or cold-water wallpaper paste.

Paints and Dyes

You can use water-based paints or fabric dyes to add color to your paper. You can also you plants and other objects to add color to your paper. For example, you can add coffee, tea, or onion skins to your vat to make your papers darker.

Natural and Other Accessories to Decorate Your Papers

Natural objects such as dried leaves and flowers go very will with hand made paper. You can also use a wide range of objects to add texture to your paper and embossing your paper.

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Paper Making Directions

1. Sort your paper into different colors. Make sure you don't have any staples or glue on the paper. Tear the paper into one inch squares.

2. Place the torn up papers into a large tub and pour hot water over the paper pieces and stir it up so that all the paper is wet. Let the paper soak overnight.

3. Place a handful of the soaked paper into a blender or food processor and fill it with water to about 2/3 full. 4. Blend or process the paper just until it is the consistency of oatmeal. Don't blend too long because the final paper will not be very strong if you break up the fibers too much.

4. Fill the vat or tub you will be using to make the paper to about half full. Pour the processed paper into the tub. Continue until all your paper is processed and in the tub.

5. Now it is time to set up your work area. Have all your supplies handy. Set up a "couching mound" where you will remove excess water from your paper. Lay a kitchen towel or some newspaper on the table and then cover with a damp square of sheet.

paper making craft6. Now it is time to make your paper. Place your mold, screen side up, on a table and then place the deckle on top. Stir up the pulp in the tub so that the fibers float on top. While holding the mold and deckle together on the sides, quickly dip the mold and deckle into the vat vertically (on the side closest to you) scooping up the pulp with the mold. When the mold and deckle is level underneath the surface of the water and the pulp has formed an even coat over the deckle, slowly lift the mold and deckle straight up out of the pulp.

7. Hold the mold and deckle over the tub until the water runs off.

8. Lay the mold and deckle on some newspaper and carefully remove the deckle by lifting it up straight off the mold.

9. Now place one long side of the mold onto the side of the couching mound at a 90 degree angle. With one continuous motion, bring the mold down over the mound so that the pulp side of the mold is laying flat on the mound.

10. Leave the mold resting on the pulp and couching mound so that it absorbs the excess moisture. Use a sponge to absorb the excess moisture from the bottom of the mold by pressing on the screen until all the water is absorbed.

11. Carefully roll the mold off, leaving the pulp on the couching cloth.

12. Cover the pulp with another damp cloth. Continue making paper until you have used up the pulp or the paper becomes too thin. If you don't use all your pulp, you can drain the excess pulp on your mold, squeeze out the excess water, and let it dry out. Store the dried paper pulp in a bag until you are ready to make paper again.

13. When you are finished making sheets of paper, pick up the whole stack of paper with the couching cloths and lay them on a flat board that is a little bit bigger than the paper. Place another board on top of the paper. You can stand on top of the board to press the moisture out or lay a heavy object on top. Leave overnight.

14. The next day you can lay the sheets of paper out on a flat surface to continue drying or use a hot iron to finish drying the sheet.

How to Print or Copy these instructions.

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Preservation Education and Awareness - You will find some good directions on this site with photo tutorial

Book Arts - In depth articles on making books and paper making, links to other paper making sites.

Mold and Deckle - Here you will find direction on how to make your own mold and deckle

Learn2make Homemade Paper - This site has a great tutorial on how to make handmade paper.


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