Monday, August 23, 2010

Paper from Fabric

A friend gave me a denim skirt that was headed for the recycle bin ....that is like gold to me.
Any fabrics  I use in paper making is  100% cotton or linen.
Making paper from fabrics and plant material is more time consuming than with shredded paper
The fabric is first shredded as thin as possible. This can not be done in a shredder so in front of TV with tiny scissors I do my theory .
Then the material is cooked for hours and hours ( maybe 24 ) with soda ash . I use an old slow cooker outside, bring it to the boil then set on low . I just keep an eye on the water level, can't have it drying out.
Then I put it in the blender to make pulp, the rest is the same as the beginning of this blog

This paper is soft to the touch but strong and can be used as any decorative paper.

Monday, August 16, 2010


This is the last step before you can use the paper I was taught to peel the wet pulp off the felt, and lay it on a hard flat surface such as counter top or glass. This was not for me , I have a bad hand so peeling wet paper off is impossible and where on earth would I lay 120 sheets of paper to dry . I discovered I can simply pin the felts and hangers and hang to dry , this workd wonderfully for me , if the paper curls at all  (never does) it can be flattened with a book. If I make paper in the morning on a good day it is dry by four o'clock , if it isn't dry I bring it inside and it is certian to be dry by morning The paper lifts off the felt easily.
I will show you some of the papers and materials I use in my next submission.


When you  feel comfortable that you have made all the paper you want for now it has to be pressed.
When I started I didn't want to invest in a hydraulic press because I didn't know how serious I was and didn't want to put the money and storage space into one.
SOOOOOOOOOOOO I  put the stack between two boards took it out to my driveway , placed it in front of the rear wheel of my vehical and slowly rolled my  van up on the stack , I left it for a few minutes until the water stopped running out , then moved the van and it is pressed. This did as good a job as my press but now I don't lug my paper to the driveway . Once I decided a press was in order I had to think of a way to get one  (tricky) I made paper several times when my husband was home and asked him to lug it to the van , after the water ran down his leg and his time was used a few times he bought me a press.
There is no trick to using the press , the stack sits on the base it is covered with a  slab , I use a thick marble just because I have it )  and then pumped , I let it sit as long as water is dripping . I have my press permanently set up outside I have read you could leave the paper in the press until it dries , that is boggling to me I live in Florida and I can't imagine it ever drying in the press. Once the dripping has stopped the release is turned and I love the sound that makes , it says "I'm Done"


There is more than one way to emboss handmade paper First I will talk about found construction objects , cut the sheet just larger than the paper sheet , once the pulp is flipped on to the felt simply lay the wire over the paper cover with a couple of layers of felt , you can then continue your stack I found it better not to emboss two sheets in a row without several layers between . The wire goes in the press with the stack this makes a very deep impression .
If you have something you want to emboss on a sheet of  finished  paper  , lets say a cermic flower , it has to be fairly flat , lay the paper over the figurine and cover with a damp tea towel. weight with a heavy book and leave for about 36 hours.
Also there are the folders and plates that can be purchased and run through an embossing machine


I wish I had to knowledge to put a rainbow of color on this post but I am only good at making paper.
The simple way to obtain color is to start with colored shredded paper DAH! Other ways I color is with fabric dyes and I have a mulitude of plants that produce lovely colors also just putting torn bits of tissue in the white pulp makes a lovely selection , when doing this I don't mix the bits in I float them in the vat. If you  want to decorate in other ways such as using glitter or flower petals they too are floated in the vat.
When I use dyes I do the PH balance and test after adding color I am not sure but I believe it coulld be adding minerals such as salt , better safe than sorry , wouldn't want my card to crumble  in 99 years

Friday, August 13, 2010

Felt Stack

I start the stack with several layers of wet felt . The frame is lifted off the screen and the screen is quickly flipped face down on the felt, it is wise to remove air with a squeege to prevent the pulp lifting with the screen . I press down on each side of the screen then putting pressure on one end I lift the opposite end and have a perfect sheet of paper , continue layering felt and paper sheet. I find about 60 sheets comfortable to handle ,  if your stack starts to lean it is time to stop and go to the next step before finishing your paper pull


The vat is filled about 2/3 with water this is treated with PH balance, I can only make the pulp in the vat acid free, the finished paper can pick up acid in the drying process only professionals who do this in labs can produce true acid free paper. I add about 8 cups of pulp and always SEED, so my cards can be planted by the recipient The screen is fitted with the frame and the pulp is scooped onto the screen , it takes a few trys in the beginning to get the right coverage and thickness


Of course there are the felts . I use synthetic felt and found materials such as tea towels, these can all be washed but never use soap  The optimum is to use felt army blanket. I use found construction material to emboss , such as chicken wire even sink mats work well, a large vat I bought in the kitchen department  and screens with frames I get most use from two sizes which are one inch larger than the finished paper I like to use  ( paper siize 8.5 x 5.5 and sheets 8 x 10 for sale) Then the enclosers of materials glitter confettii etc.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I like to make two buckets of pulp at one time about 120 sheets of 8 x 10  . I usually do this a day ahead of making paper , but pulp can sit for several days before using , if it gets smelly as long as you can work with it it won't smell once made into a sheet of paper and dried If working outside you want to cover the buckets I have found both frogs and a mouse swimming  in the pulp.

Pulp from Shredded Paper

I am so lucky to be able to get shredded paper from the print shop at our local collage
It goes into a blender , you don;t want to know how many blenders I went through in the early days . I learned it is better to not over load , to take my time making pulp It takes me almost two hours to make two buckets of pulp , roughly  120 8x10 sheets of finished paper . I usually make it a two day project , one day for pulp the second day to make paper

Friday, August 6, 2010

Recycled products

You know that bag you peel corn husks into at the grocery store , well I finally, after 10 years of asking, got a bag out of the store This paper is made from your corn husks..