Have you ever wondered how paper is made?
The following simple Papermaking Recipe is similar to the process that Southworth uses to create its fine business papers. Instead of using copier paper to make our pulp we use cotton linters (small fibers from a cotton seed) and sizing to make a sturdy and smooth sheet.
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
• 5 sheets white 8 1/2″ x 11″ copier paper
• 1 blender
• 4 cups of warm water
• 1 gallon pitcher of cold water
• 2 plastic dishpans
• 2 5″ x 7″ wooden picture frames
• window screen (recycle old / or buy a roll)
• stapler gun
• large plastic stirring spoon
• paper towels
• iron and dishtowel (optional)
1. First make your 5×7 screen-mold set. Take two 5×7 frames remove backs and glass. Set aside. Cut window screen 1″ larger than frame. Using staple gun tack screen tightly to one frame. Trim excess screen. The other frame remains unscreened.
2. Set up blender. Add 4 cups water and 5 sheets paper torn into 1″ squares. Use slightly more than the sheet of paper that you want to create (more for a thicker sheet).
3. Beat paper and water in blender for approximately 60 seconds. The longer you blend, the finer your fibers and the smoother your piece of paper will be. Less beating creates a coarser texture. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures.
4. Pour your beaten mixture (pulp) into the first kitchen dishpan. Add one gallon of cold water and stir. Set up second dishpan with sponges. Next to the two dishpans, place the roll of paper towels.
5. Pick up frame with screen, screen should be facing up. Pick up the second unscreened frame and place it on top of the screened frame. Holding both together tightly, place into the dishpan with the pulp. Moving the frame constantly from side to side, slowly lift the frames out of the water and let drain.
6. Go to next dishpan with sponges. Sponge excess water from underneath bottom frame. You should see the water being drained out of the paper. Make sure to squeeze the sponge out occasionally.
7. Finally, using paper towels, repeat what you did with the sponge. Removing top unscreened frame, place screened frame on table. Place a paper towel on top of newly made sheet. Flip over. Press screen into paper towel to help release paper. Lift frame up slowly. If the paper sticks or falls apart, remove more water using the sponge and paper towels. If you have removed enough water out of the paper, you should at this point be able to lift the sheet off the paper towel. Your sheet of paper, although wet is finished. Place on a flat surface and let it air dry.
8. When dry, paper might curl up on edges. Place the paper in a kitchen towel and press flat with an iron. If you don’t want to use an iron, place the paper under some books overnight.
Next time you can try: food coloring, additives, glitter, herbs or flowers. Use your imagination! Have fun and EXPERIMENT!!!