MATERIALS FOR PAPER
Plastic storage tub or vat
Kitchen blender –thrift stores are a great source for a suitable blender
Mould & Deckle – see below
Towels, wool blankets, cloth, sponges, or other absorbent material
MATERIALS FOR MOULD & DECKLE
2 picture frames – same size, with everything removed. Thrift stores are a great source for gently used frames.
Window screening – aluminum, not fiberglass
Staple gun & staples
Optional: polyurethane & paintbrush
Make the Mould
Cut down the hardware cloth and window screening, using your wire cutters and junky scissors. You’ll want to make them both the same size, and just slightly larger than the picture frame size.
Find the flattest side of one picture frame. Layer the hardware cloth and window screening on the frame. The window screening should be on top.
Staple the sandwiched layers to the frame. Make sure the screen layers are flat and taut before you start using the staple gun.
Trim off the excess edges, or any violent-looking wires.
Cover all four edges
Make the Deckle
Second frame will be used as the deckle – Nothing to do to prep it
Optional: Seal the wood frames with waterproofing polyurethane. Make sure polyurethane is dried before moving on to papermaking.
Make the Pulp
Cut, rip, tear or shred your paper into small squares. Squares should be no larger than 1 inch square.
Experiment with various papers. Junk mail, office paper, paper grocery bags, greeting cards, and more. Do not use paper with coatings such as high gloss, adhesives, staples, tape, etc. Envelopes are suitable as long as all adhesive is cut off.
Fill up a kitchen blender that is no longer used for food or beverage with water. Add a light handful or two of the shredded paper. Blend. Keep blending until it’s a pulp. To avoid blender motor burnout, do not overfill with paper.
Use a large storage bin or concrete mixing vats. Fill up the tub with your blended pulp, about 1/3 to 1/2 way. Add more water to the vat. A larger pulp to water ratio will result in thicker paper.
Make the Sheet
Stir up the paper pulp and water bin
Hold the mould screen side up and place the flattest side of the deckle evenly on top.
Holding them together at a 45-degree angle, dip the mould and deckle to the bottom of the vat and scoop up, holding the mould and deckle horizontally.
Lift the mould and deckle out of the slurry, give it a light shake back and forth, and left to right to align the fibers and make a more uniform sheet.
Let the water drain to a drip.
Couching the Sheet
“Couching” is pronounced, “Coo – ching.” Couching means to transfer the wet sheet from the mould to a flat, absorbent surface. Special couching sheets can be purchased from specialty stores that carry papermaking supplies for this purpose. Other options include wool felts, wool blankets, smoother towels, thick paper towels, non-fusible interfacing, sham-wows, or bed sheets. Set up your absorbent fabric with a board underneath.
Remove the deckle from the mould.
Place a long edge of the mould on the absorbent surface.
In one smooth motion, place the mold face down, press down, and lift from that initial edge.
Use a sponge to absorb additional water from the sheet.
Dry the Sheet
There are a variety of ways to dry the new sheet of paper:
Let the sheet dry on its own.
Use a dry iron (no steam) to press the sheet and evaporate the water. Be careful not to burn the sheet.
Place the sheet in a multi-page book (like an old phone book) and add a weight to the book to draw water out of the sheet.
If couching sheets are used, the couching sheets can then be hung or laid flat with the new paper sheet clinging to it in a non-drafty area to air dry.