I’m going to start out apologizing that this is going to be a super long post. I’ll keep the pictures small and the writing brief.
Start with collecting your paper. Newsprint is what I am using for this tutorial. Please note that any ink will change the color of your final product. Newsprint is probably the messiest choice – the ink gets everywhere. To avoid that, choose unprinted parts of the paper. Since I am not that particular and I don’t want to do that much work, I went with tearing up my entire paper into small pieces. I kept the pieces in a box. Don’t let this consume that much time because you will tear again later.
You will need a screen and something to catch water. Here I have an old window screen and a dish washing tub. My first attempt, I used a tray which worked fine except I had to dump off the water several times.
Then you need mold – I went with cookie cutters, cookie molds, and a few silicon molds I had in my stash (I will show the molds tomorrow but I wanted to note that the orange mold is from the dollar store). You can use a wood square (such as a thick picture frame) or tin cans with no top or bottom (I would choose a short can).
You will need a sponge or two. These are from the dollar store (10 for $1). Also, I found I liked having a firm surface such as a plate or tray when working with various techniques.
Later, I will show you my paper “press”. This is just something you can do but do not have to do. I don’t believe we pressed our paper the last time I made paper but if you want to, you will need something to absorb water like a towel (I used sham wows), something hard like wood, and weight.
You, also, need a blender. Our blender pitcher is one part and easy to clean so I did not designate this a paper making only blender. It did require a really good scrubbing to get all the ink off – keep that in mind when determining what blender to use.
To start fill your blender about halfway with hot water.
Add your paper. I keep it in larger pieces and then tear it into tiny pieces as I add it to the blender. (I feel like the larger pieces are better for storing, especially if someone knocks over your box.)
Once you have paper up to about an inch from your top (our blender has a part that fits on the top so it looks less full than it is), cover with more water.
Blend your paper into pulp. I find it is easier to pulse initially before moving to a full blend.
Lay your mold on your screen.
Add some pulp to your mold. Don’t worry if you have enough, you can add more pulp as you work it. It’s easier to work with less pulp.
Smoosh your pulp around with your sponge, pressing into the pulp to absorb the water. Remember to wring out your sponge often.
Keep pressing with sponge and arranging with your fingers until your pulp has no more give.
Remove your mold. You will notice that the edges are higher than the rest of the paper.
With your sponge, flatten and press the paper until it is fairly uniform. I made my paper rather thick because this does make a lot of pulp and I didn’t want to make tons of paper. And it works better with my final project idea.
Once the paper is firmly set, you should be able to lift and move it to your drying place. If you don’t have a press setup, then you can either leave it on the screen, or move to another rack, to dry.
My press is two old shelves and two shamwows. Lay your papers on the bottom layer.
Cover with another cloth and board. This is your press.
Add weight – here I have two 25 pound bags of things from my pantry. I let my press sit for about 24 hours.
As you can see, this process doesn’t dry the paper – it just gives the fibers a chance to really meld together so my paper doesn’t fall apart.
Move to a drying rack until they are dry.
I was going to share more information and how I did some of the pieces you see in the picture but that just about doubled this post. Looks like there will be 4 posts if all goes well. See you tomorrow for part 2 and how to add things to your paper as you are making it.