Who doesn’t love the gorgeously thick texture of homemade paper? Add in your own special touches, such as glitter, dried flowers, food coloring, or other embellishments and you’ll have something even more special. If you’ve blended up your paper scraps, and you’re all ready to press your paper, read on!
How Do I Get Started?
To start, you’ll need a bunch of paper slurry, a tub for the slurry (the tub must be big enough to fit your deckle) a deckle, a sponge to sop up the water, and some absorbent material like felt.
What on Earth is a Deckle?
A deckle is not much more than a non-metallic screen set in a wooden frame. You don’t want metal, because it will quickly rust and imprint your paper with a grid of rust – not good. A little wooden frame with screen attached to the bottom with staples is fine, and easy to make. If you’re not handy with a stapler, you can buy a deckle online or at your local crafting store.
How to Make Paper With The Slurry
Once you’re all ready to go, follow these simple steps:
- Pour your paper pulp into the tub, and add whatever embellishments you want. (Feathers? Glitter? Tiny Seeds? Strips of colored paper? It’s up to you!)
- Want to add sizing? Sizing is used to make the paper more resistant to absorbing liquids – if you want to add it, now is the time! I don’t actually use sizing when I make paper, but some papermakers add a couple of small spoons of liquid laundry starch to two or three blender-fulls of paper pulp. It’s up to you!
- Lower the deckle into the tub to the bottom.
- Stir the pulp with your hands so that it fills back in over the deckle.
- While holding the deckle, and moving it side-to-side as you raise it through the water, gently move the deckle around until the pulp on the deckle screen is evenly distributed.
- Ease the deckle up out of the water, and hold it over the water to drain. When the dripping of the water slows, flip it over onto a piece of felt or some other absorbent fabric. Press the sponge down on the back of the screen to absorb even more water, squeezing the sponge out back into the tub as necessary.
- Carefully, now, hold down the bottom piece of felt or fabric, and lift up the deckle. The deckle should leave the paper behind as it is lifted off of the cloth. If it sticks, replace the deckle and continue to press the back with the sponge to push off your handmade sheet of paper. This laying the paper from the deckle to the felt is called “couching.”
If the first sheet of paper is too thin or too thick for your preferences, you can adjust the thickness of the slurry by either adding more pulp for a thicker sheet of paper, or adding more water for a thinner sheet of paper.
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