Speciality Papers Craft Blog (35)
Every season there is a new style, a new theme or a new way of making and doing things. The one thing that we can be sure of is that when it comes to embossing you will never be disappointed; this is because there is a style to use for every individual. There are no two people that are the same and in the same manner we can use the same illustration when it comes to paper and the designing of it.Read more...
Paper, as we know it, was invented in 105 AD by a Chinese man known as Ts’ai Lun. He discovered that a pulp could be formed by shredding and boiling bits of organic material like old silk, rags and hemp, which when pressed and dried into sheets, formed an ideal material on which to write.
Recently, there has been a growing interest in handmade paper. Although paper is commonplace and indeed an essential part of modern day life, making paper by hand allows us to create unique stationery and art papers, conserve our environment through recycling old paper, and have fun at the same time!
Below we introduce you to the exciting craft of handmade paper.
Equipment, Tools and Material needed:
- The mould and deckle (two frames – one covered lightly with mesh)
- Electric blender (to refine pulp)
- Bucket (to soak old paper)
- Large basin (big enough to immerse mould & deckle)
- Felt or a blanket (for couching)
- Old paper (shredded or torn up)
- Fibrous material (fFor texture and colour e.g petals, grasses, seeds, tissue paper, confetti)
- Dyes(Ink or food colouring)
Experiment with different ingredients to create a variety of effects. Keep a note of the ingredients used so you can re-create the effect if you are happy with the results. Any extra pulp can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.
Step 1 - Prepare the raw material
Start by ripping sheets of old paper into small pieces. Do not use glossy magazine or newspaper as the ink will discolour the pulp. Place all the ripped or shredded paper into a bucket of water, cover and soak overnight.
Step 2 - Blend the pulp
Blend approximately one cup of soaked paper at a time with three cups of water in an electric blender. Blend for 10 -25 seconds. Do not overload the blender.
Step 3 - Pour pulp into basin
Pour the pulped paper and water mixture into a bucket. If required add the dye of your choice, and stir the mixture. Pour the dyed pulp into a large basin and add water until the pulp is of a watery consistency. If it is not watery the pulp will be too thin on the mould.
Step 4 - Prepare the blanket
Soak the “blanket” well. You can use any type of fabric eg: old blanket, cotton bed sheet or a towel.
Step 5 - Dip the mould and deckle
The mould is covered in mesh. The deckle is an open frame, the same size as the mould. The size of the deckle and frame will determine the size of the paper. Hold the mould on top of the deckle and dip them vertically into the basin. Turn them horizontally under the water. Wait a moment for the pulp to settle. Lift the mould and deckle straight up, keeping them level and allow the water to drain. Remove the deckle from the top of the mould. The pulp on the screen of the mould should be 1-3mm deep. If it is thicker than that, your paper will turn out like cardboard.
Step 6 - Couching
Couching (pronounced coo-ching) means moving the newly formed sheet of paper from the mould onto the blanket. After excess water has been drained off, place the edge of the mould onto your wet blanket and flip it over, pulp side down. Place absorbent cloth over the mesh. Rub your hand firmly across the top cloth a few times to loosed the paper pulp from the mesh, smooth out any air bubbles and absorb excess moisture with the cloth. Repeat with another dry cloth. Lift the mould, first one side and then the other, releasing the sheet of paper onto the wet blanket.
Step 7 - Drying the paper
Place a dry blanket on top of the sheet of paper to help absorb excess water. Allow the water to drain from the sheet of paper for a few minutes. Rub your hand firmly across the top blanket a few times to loosen the sheet of paper. Starting at one corner, carefully peel off the top blanket. Allow the sheet of paper to dry and peel it away from the bottom blanket.
It’s a new year, new beginnings, all things bright and pretty. A little bit of texture or design is all you need to make your paper look extravagant and in season. Buckles and beads, ribbons and bows and add some bling or maybe a rose to add sparkle and glitter to bring out your paper. Tangerine, oranges and reds to set the mood. Remove the checks and add some spice with a bit of stripe and there’s always room for plain to bring out the beauty of your paper. No matter what the occasion may be we are able to cater for all.Read more...
The basic problem when making your handmade paper, could be any of the following reasons:
- Paper is too thin - This happens when there is insufficient pulp in the basin. Simply add more pulp to the basin.
- Paper is too thick - There is too much pulp in the basin. Take out some and dilute the remainder with water.
- Lumps in the paper - If your sheet of paper is lumpy, the pulp was not blended enough. You may have to tip the pulp back into the basin, then re-blend. Do not try and break down the lumps while they are the mould – you will destroy that piece of paper, and probably damage the mould.
- Difficulty transferring paper from mould to blanket - If you have a problem getting the sheet of paper to come off the mould onto the blanket, check that the blanket is well saturated with water. Then try dripping water onto the back of the mould while you rock it on the blankets, pressing firmly. Remember transferring the first sheet of paper is always difficult. If it continues to be a problem, check if the mesh on your mould is stretched tightly. If it is loose, transfer will be difficult.
Various items can be added to the pulp to give a different look. These include grasses and seeds, tissue paper, threads, confetti and flowers.
- You can colour the paper by putting coloured napkins into the pulp and add this to the basin, as the dyes in coloured napkins are strong. Powdered paint is a good colorant and it is usually non-staining. Ink and food colouring can also be used.
- By adding watermarks - These have the effect of leaving an indentation in the pulp, creating a motif or initials. The shape is noticeable because the light shines through indentation where paper is thinner. It is a great way of personalizing your paper.
- Bending fuse wire into the desired shape, a small simple motif or simply your initials.
- Securely stitch this shaped wire onto one corner of your mould using strong sewing thread, or use lengths of fine wire to secure the shape. Remember to reverse initials – consider the side of the paper that they will appear on and position from them accordingly. Make your paper as usual, and couch it. When its dry you will notice the watermark when you hold your paper sheet up to the light.
- Embossing is done by pressing something textured against a sheet of paper to create an impression on the paper. Anything that is textured, but reasonably flat, can be used for embossing, as long as it is not damaged by water. Suggestions are lace, string, hessian, bubble wrap, keys, and woven place mats. Fabric with a woven or raised embroidered design can be used in place of plain blankets for couching.
Remember, paper making is fun. Once you have mastered the basic techniques, feel free to experiment!