I have a tendency to take up a different artsy-craftsy thing each winter. (Although I believe the knitting lasted for three Winters.) I’ve tried oil painting, weaving, knitting, lye soap making, glycerine soap making, wine making, twig art, bath salts, all sorts of things. I’d say about half of these end up being successful enough that I’ll sell the stuff at Etsy.com and/or enter craft shows. (Made quite a few bucks, actually.)
I’ve always admired that handmade, chunky paper you see here and there.
So, I wanted to try “artisan” paper making. I wouldn’t exactly use the word “artisan” to describe the light grey stuff I made today, but colors can be changed. Fact is, it worked. Here’s another fact – It also makes a right and proper mess. Pulpy. Even by hand, it’s still made from pulp. You can imagine.
You have to grind everything down to pulp first – and that’s not even half the mess – but I like that I can use 100% recycled whatever-paper-I-have-around, as long as it’s not slick and shiny. And yep, the paper really is made one sheet at a time. (No wonder it’s expensive when I see it in the stores.) Below is a shot of today’s finished product. This was previously junk mail, old newspapers, and spent garden flowers. (Those are bits of leaves and purple violas mixed in.)
It folds fine, and I was able to write on it with no problem. Neato, huh? I’m going to look into some things I can turn it into – blank journals and such. I figure if I eventually decide I’d like to do some craft shows, I need more that just a pile of weird looking petal paper.
It seriously lightens as it dries! You can dry it several ways – the easiest of which is just letting it sit – but no matter which way you dry it, it takes quite a while. Below is a shot of a wet piece next to a dry piece.
I’ll have to build a frame and deckle to a more standard size. The main tools you use – the frame, screen, and deckle – are sort of like silk screen equipment. The sheets pictured are about 8×10, because I just threw some makeshift tools together quick out of old picture frames.
First stop is making something a little more attractive and testing colors. Any ideas other than journals and plain ol’ stacks of the stuff?