Making Your Own Paper Craft
As a Paper craft hobby, many people make their own paper at home. To make your own paper there are three main steps. The steps are:
1. Making the Pulp
2. Pulling and Couching
In addition to the three steps, you will need two screens to press the paper between. The top screen is called the deckle, and the bottom is the mold. You can make your own deckle and mold by making a frame, or you can just use two screens that can be held together by embroidery hoops.
The easiest type of paper is to use recycled or old paper. You can also buy pre-made pulp at a local crafting store if that is easier for you. If you buy your pulp, they come in pre-made sheets made from the same cellulose plant fiber. The advantage of buying the pulp from the crafting store is it gives the finished product a more uniform look.
In any case, whether you are using recycled paper or store pulp they both have to be torn into 1 or 2-inch squares. The squares do not have to be perfect. The next step is to soak the squares in warm water or boil them whichever you prefer. If you choose to boil them, you do so for 5 minutes and then simmer them for one hour. When the paper is softened, you can then transfer it to a blender that has 3 cups of warm water in it.
Some people add what is called sizing to the blender paper. This is to make the quality and shine of the paper better. All sizing is; is 1 cup of boiling water to which a package of unflavored gelatin is added. To that, 2 tablespoons of starch are added, and you have your sizing. You then blend all these things together with the paper in the blender until it is a fine liquid with no large pieces of paper or jagged edges in the blend.
It is at this point you can add your personal touches to the liquid so your paper will have special features such as a scent or color. You can add food coloring to the liquid; things like cut up metallic threads, yarns, ribbons or string and things like vanilla extract or potpourri heating oils to the liquid to give your paper a scent. These add-ins are stirred into the liquid after it is finely blended.
This is called the pulling and coaching process. This step requires you to pour the mixture into a big enough container for the screens to fit in. Once it is poured into the appropriate container, you stir once again to make sure of the liquids smoothness. It is at this step that you can add delicate add-ins like flower petals to the liquid to be pressed into the paper as well. You then take the bottom screen and slowly immerse it into the liquid. When completely coated you lift it carefully to make sure it is evenly and completely coated with the liquid. If it’s too thick, thin, bumpy or has air holes re-submerge it again. Now when you lift it, you gently shake off the excess and place the top screen on top of it. Set the mold on top of paper towels to absorb the excess water.
The next step is to remove the top from the bottom screen. Once this is done you dump the paper off the mold onto a smooth piece of feeling that is put on a hard surface. Place a second sheet of feeling over the first and use a rolling pin to extract any excess water and to flatten the paper out.
Leave the paper there to dry. It can take several days. If you are in a rush, then you can blow dry the paper to dry quicker.