Sunday, February 22, 2015

Handmade Papermaking A Beautiful Expression of History

Gathering Supplies 
(Screen, Deckle, Sponge, Glitter, Natural Decorations, Blender, Torn Paper, Tub, Old Towel etc.)

 Filling blender with warm water and torn paper.
Allowing to soak for a few minutes.
Blend for one to two minutes at high speed until the mixture is smooth and pulpy.

 Pouring pulp from blender into vat of warm water.

 Adding glitter's and dried flowers to vat of pulp.
Mixed by hand until evenly blended.

 Scooping pulp into screen and deckle from vat.

 Lifting the deckle from the screen.

 Gently pressing out the water with a sponge.

Homemade paper drying in the sun.

The paper that we use today as a writing material was originated in China by Tsai Lun in about 50 A.D.  Then, in the late 1700s, cotton rag fiber was widely used.

Paper as we know it today is much smoother, more uniform, and easier to use than the parchments and papers of our past.  In 1843, a machine that converted logs to wood pulp was invented and the "rag content" of paper could be reduced and eventually eliminated.

My Secret Letterboxing Santa (we are doing 6 months of giving which started in January) just sent me some beautiful thin and delicate handmade paper by Gayle Fitzpatrick (  I have not made handmade paper in years and years and felt inspired to get out my supplies this afternoon.  Gayle's paper is very fine and refined in comparison to mine which is chunkier and thicker in texture due to thicker pulp and less pressing (water removal).

When making handmade paper the sky is the limit with items you can use for inspiration and embellishments in your paper.  Colored paper, flower petals, herbs, grasses, glitter, food coloring, comics, newspapers, confetti, ribbon, potpourri sheet music, magazines etc.  I did not blend mine into oblivion so if you look closely you can even see some alphabet letters visible in the paper. 

Currently my paper is drying flat and I will allow it to dry a minimum of 10 hours (overnight).  If your paper curls or warps, it can be ironed using the lowest heat setting.  I will probably give my paper a light touch with the iron tomorrow just to smooth it out a wee bit.  Handmade paper is a wonderful addition to handmade cards, crafts and Letterbox Trading Cards (LTC's).

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