Updated: Oct 4, 2020
So whilst in lockdown we have been thinking of things we can do to cheer the days of close family and friends who presence we are so deeply missing.I wanted to make May day cards, and so thought I would combine the two. So it got me thinking... Have you ever been so involved in the process of making something from start to finish? Something which helped shape your thinking? and open you up to another world of possibilities and imagination? The first time I distinctly remember having this experience. I was seven years old (so 28 years ago). I was doing just what my children did today, I made paper.
I had visited the museum with school. We made paper from pulp and got to take it home at the end of the day. It amazed me. I felt like I was living history - I was amazed I knew how to make paper - just like people had done for thousands of years, the knowledge I felt I had gained from this simple process and the magic of its creation has lived with me since that day.
This is the magic of willing, of experiencing, of imitating - imitation not just something you witnessed five minutes ago, but the imitation of something done by our ancestors over hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. There is something instinctual and deeply engrained in our identity as human beings to ‘do’ and to ‘make’.
I recently bought a frame for paper making, you can buy the kits out there but really at this level and wit children its such a simple process and the fun is making the pulp yourself.
What you will need to make your paper
-A paper making frame and deckle, I bought mine from Myriad Natural Crafts and Toys you can find it here.
-Scraps of paper, the more cotton content the better if you want a finer quality but really just has any and have fun.
-A tub big enough to comfortably fit your frame
-A board for drying on (it can be plastic, wood is preferable, I use a bamboo chopping board which I use to dry my wet on wet watercolour paintings)
-Natural treasures to add into your paper, flower petals, metallic thread, eco friendly glitter.
Step 1 ~ Make your pulp
Your pulp is what gives your paper personality, you want paper that absorbs water easily so the fibres can break down and stick together, coated papers and card stock wont really make good pulp but they could add interest if you cut them up small enough. Be inventive though and try old newspaper pages etc, some papers will bleed their colour and dye the pulp, this is fine too all part of discovery fun and learning.
Once you have your paper, rip it into pieces as small as you can and soak in warm water ideally overnight to soften. Remember the more water in your pulp the thinner your paper will be.
The next day or at least after a few hours, add your pulp to a blender with some of the water it was soaked in, give it a good whizz until its as blended as it can be. Really soluble papers may break down completely, ours which were not all soluble still had quite large pieces. When done, tip your pulp into your dipping tub and add enough water to enable you to submerge your frame completely. Then clean your blender, really well....no kale and paper is not a type of smoothie just yet!! Now you are ready for the fun.
Step 2 ~ Making the paper.
Ensure your tub is on a sturdy surface and have a large towel folded next to it With your board on (the board should be slightly bigger than the frame) Now you can sprinkle your natural treasures in now..but save some back to add on top later on.
Take your board and frame together. In one movement lower it into the water in a scooping motion (scooping toward you) finishing in a horizontal position in the water, as you slowly lift the board out of the water, gently shake it from side to side to a drip. Quickly take your frame to your board, stand the frame on its side and in one swift motion drop it to its front and back over again, a little like closing a door and opening it again from the other side, the paper should have come off and now be on the board....if its not, and sometimes it happens ...scrape the pulp back into the water, repeat the process but this time when your frame is face down on the board pat the paper onto the board from the other side-with your hand and slowly lift the mesh from the paper. Most often than not it works tipping it but sometimes it doesn’t, I don’t know if this is to do with gum in the paper, the type of fibres etc. If you want to add extra petals press them in now!
The paper should remain on the board until dry, which usually takes around 2-3 days. You will know when its dry as it will naturally start to peel itself away. And that’s it! Great fun and so easy to do!
I hope you all enjoy, I have a lot of excitement about this one and I cant wait to see how you all get on!