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By Sophia Turtle On 06/27/02  

I am ready to start some first-time papermaking.

I need some last minute advice-
The link someone provided a few weeks ago says to use a "starch" in the mix, if you want the paper to be writeable.

What does this mean?

What is you favorite recipe-
Does it include glue, flour, (corn?)starch?

Thank you,

By ursonate On 06/27/02  

Just a wild guess here, but what does starch do? It stiffens things. It stiffens fibers to be more specific. My guess is that it helps to give the paper more body. I mean you can write on anything. I would think that it depended more on wha t kind of pen you were using. I've seen all kinds of handmade paper that you wouldn't want to use, say, a ball-point pen on.

By cosmicxx On 06/27/02  

when i make paper,i use NO glue, starch or thickening agents of any kind. based on old directions from a genuiwine papermaking kit my SO had, and instructions gleaned from here & there over the yrs., i'd recommend just your basic batch of ripped up paper scraps for pulping tossed in a pot, cook @ an hour. (i leave it in there all day or nite sometimes just absorbing the excess heat). blend in batches in a blender. transfer to a plastic bin w/tap water. ready to strain thru deckle!
have fun. email me if ya want. tho no expert, i've probably made 15-20 batches of paper. i luv making them into notecards. **fold sheet in half after a day or so of drying so they can fold well but aren't super mushy.

By ursonate On 06/27/02  

hmmm. I was just thinking how interesting it might be to make rice paper.

By argyle_pirate On 06/28/02  

Just an equipment question for a veteran paper-maker: did you create a diy deckle or did you purchase one? I've seen illustrations of deckles, and feel that I could probably cobble one together...suggestions?


By Sophia Turtle On 06/28/02  

I actually found some strage contraption someone made at a thrift store just the other day. A picture frame, painted, with fake flowers and real sea shells on it. Pink. Ugly as hell. But it had screen wire already placed in it. For what reason, Ive no idea.

I was planning on finding someones discarded screens and just making a "frame" with spare wood.

By lavender282 On 07/17/02  

I took a paper-making class once. we didn't use any glue or anything like that. We would just take a lump of newspaper, and then some tissue paper for color. we'd mix it all together in a blender and then pour it onto a screen, letting the water go into a basin. oh, and there'd also be water in the basin, and we'd mix it all around and then pull up the screen. then we'd take this felt-y sort of fabric and transfer the pulp onto that , from teh screen. then we put it into a press to squeeze out all the water. then, we stuck em on this metall sheet thing to dry. we'd wait 24 hours and then peel the felt thing off. and then our paper would be stuck to the metal, so we used a paint scraper-thing to peel them off, and voila, a peice of paper!! i dont know if thats the easiest way, but all my stuff turned out really nice. you can do lots of different sutff with the tissue paper, etc.

By jennymeg On 07/21/02  

The starch is supposed to make it so the ink you use on the paper when writing doesn't spread horribly. Handmade paper can be really absorbant. I used spray starch, not in the mix, but on the paper while it was still wet. I'm not an expert, just playing around. It seems to do well that way, though.

By jennymeg On 07/21/02  

here are my supplies:

frame with no glass, pantyhose, blender, felt, rolling pin, maybe a sponge.

I just put water and paper and sometimes plant matter (like flowers) in the blender to make a pulp. Pour it onto the pantyhose covered frame. Smoosh it around to the frame's edges. Press it smooth, absorbing some excess water with the sponge. Then I turn it onto the felt. I top it with felt and smooth with a rolling pin.Then I let it dry in the sun.

By candigirl On 07/21/02  

i got a paper making kit from a garage sale the other day, for $5... it was brand new - never been used. originally from Australian Geographic, it still had the price tag for $39.95 on it.

i haven't had the time to use it yet... sounds like it can get pretty messy, so i think i'll wait until the weather gets a bit warmer...


By artsy_em On 07/25/02  

i took a paper making class recently and they taught us to make paper from abaca pulp which comes from banana leaves. we also made a straw-type paper from prairie grass the instructor had cut. so i went home and tried some iris leaf paper. really any organic leaf/fleshylike material can be made into paper. all i did was i cut my iris leaves from the plants in my backyard, then cut them into 6 inch long strips. then i pounded them with a makeshift mallet to break down the fibers. i bioled them in a huge pot for about 3 hours or until your fiber is SUPER soft and almost falling apart.. stirred stirred stirred.... you really need to test the PH of teh plant fibers before you do any cooking, because you want a neutral paper. if it's too acidic(which is probably the case) you need to add sodium carbonate(arm and hammer washing soda) while the plants are cooking. i couldn't for the life of me find washing soda ANYWHERE so i just used sodium bicarbonate which is baking soda. i can't tell the difference :) you also want to add a formation aid or a binding agent called methylcellulose to make a really strong paper. anywho, then i strained the plant fibers from the water mixture with a strainer. then i added fresh water to a blender. MAKE SURE BEFORE YOU ADD THE PLANT FIBERS TO THE BLENDER THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER THAN 1 INCH IN LENGTH! otherwise they get wrapped around the blades and POOF! a dead blender :) so yu then cut up the fibers to be 1 inch in length and add them to the blender. you want the pulp mixure when its done blending to have an evenly mixed consistency. you don't want any fibers sinking to the bottom, you want all fibers evenly dispersed floating in the water. at this point it would be a good point to add more methylcellulose. you can add more water to your pulp and place in a vat where you can dip your mold and deckle into your totally natural paper that you made totally by hand! i really love how mine turned out, other than mine was really primitive, i had no methylcellulose to use and no washing soda. i hope someone else tries this! it can be made with grasses, leaves, anything organic with fibers.

also, molds and deckles are really easy to make. just make a frame out of scrap wood, and staple some old screening on it. voila! if you go to a repair shop a lot of them will give you old wire screening for free, if they are replacing it.

have fun making paper! its really addicting so watch out! it does make a mess but the only thing to watch out for is theres water EVERYWHERE.

By artsy_em On 07/25/02  

wow. my wording up there is so great. but it turned out more legible than i thought! ^

pretty good for being 2 in the morning and with my contacts out :P

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