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Topic: Handmade Paper Tutorial  (Read 7710 times)
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theartofmegan
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« on: June 02, 2009 06:15:43 PM »

My husband Mark and I had a very handmade wedding (which you can see more photos of here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=183231.msg1909297#msg1909297), and I wanted to give everyone their first taste of that with something that often sets the first impression of the tone of a wedding - the invitation.

We decided to make our own handmade paper invitations, and we took photos along the way so you can learn to make them too!



Materials:

Recycled paper, shredded or torn into small pieces
Flower petals, onion skins, garlic skins, dried thin leaves, etc
Acid-free powdered paper additive
Blender, not used for food
Mold and deckle
Felt sheets
Sponges
Towels (lots!)
Large bin for water and pulp
Iron and Ironing board
Cheesecloth

I like to make my paper pulp ahead of time and run through cheesecloth, straining out all the water. I then freeze the pulp balls for later use. In this case I colored my pulp balls ahead of time with used construction paper, but I often freeze plain white recycled computer paper balls and plain kraft paper balls from grocery store bags and the like, and add colored paper to the batches as I use them.




Begin by mixing the water and paper pulp mixture. Be aware that from this point on, the blender you use for this project is no longer food safe. I personally purchased a fifteen-dollar blender to dedicate to craft use, but you could check craigslist.org or your local thrift store for cheap to free ones.

Use pre-blended frozen paper pucks like the ones I showed you before or blend your paper right on the spot. Add 2 pitchers full of pulp and water to the bucket, then add 1 pitcher full of plain water to loosen the mixture. The water should be opaque but not lumpy. Stir in your acid-free additive as according to directions, and last, add your plant matter for decoration as desired.

Assemble your mold and deckle by placing your screen on the deckle, then placing your mold. I use a kit by Arnold Grummer that has a fine screen that I put below the regular window-style screen, a grated base for the deckle, and here I am using a mold that makes 2 half sheets of paper, perfect for standard A2 size invitations. I also have a mold that makes A2 envelopes, though I did not use it for this project.

Stir the pulp/water mixture, and slide your assembled mold and deckle setup into the water side down, trying to get underneath the pulp smoothly.



Stack 2 felt sheets to be used as couching (pronounced "koo-ching") sheets. Couching sheets absorb the extra water in a sheet of fresh paper, allowing the pulp to be more dense while processing.

Carefully turn the fresh paper, still attached to the screen and deckle stack, upside down onto the couching sheets. Remove the deckle.



Once all your papers have been pulled, top your stack with 2 felt sheets, and turn the stack upside down, putting the first papers you pulled on the top.

Lay down a layer of cheese cloth on the ironing board, and carefully transfer your damp sheets of paper to the cloth. Fold the cheesecloth up to cover the paper, and begin ironing with heat set to medium-low.

Move the iron rapidly over the entire sheet, being careful not to press too hard or stay in one place too long. Occasionally flip the cheesecloth-paper sandwich and iron the other side, but spend the most time ironing the side with the least of your plant accents on the surface to limit discoloration.



Stack the finished dry sheets and press between 2 heavy flat objects to set. I usually use 2 textbooks, but if you are doing a large amount of paper 2 boards clamped around the stack tends to work better. Usually overnight is long enough to press them flat and allow any remaining moisture to dry.



Here's another set of handmade paper cards I designed, this time also using the A2 envelope mold. These turn out to be great sets, and make perfect gifts.



Thanks for checking it out!  Have you made any paper?  I'd love to see it!
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jca1982
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009 06:49:00 PM »

Very cool!
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009 08:36:01 PM »

Thank you for posting this!  I looked at your wedding compilation post, and I adore all the handmade in your wedding.  The recycled paper invites are wonderful, and I love how you used garlic and onions skins in the pulp -- very creative!

I hope that this doesn't come off as stupid, but when you say "Add 2 pitchers full of pulp and water to the bucket, then add 1 pitcher full of plain water to loosen the mixture" -- is that 1 pitcher of pulp and 1 pitcher of water and another pitcher of water to loosen the mixture?  Or is it 2 of pulp and 2 of water and another pitcher of water?

Thank you!
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theartofmegan
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009 08:54:18 PM »

Actually what i mean here is two pitchers of the water/pulp emulsion that you get when you blend either torn paper or premade paper pucks, and one pitcher of just plain water.

And another neat thing, the plant matter in mine is actually yellow roses and purple irises that my (now) husband bought me for valentine's day before we got married.  I thought it was a cute way to be sentimental Smiley

I'm actually getting ready to cast a few scraps of this paper in resin for a pendant for myself.  I made sure to get good chunks of the rose petals for that, too.
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Art, Crafts, Fashion, Love.
http://www.theartofmegan.com

Visit my Etsy Stores!

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roccstarr75
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009 09:17:43 PM »

Yeah, I made some paper once.  I did it almost exactly the same way, and it was hideous!!!!  and it was a horrible mess!   aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!! what did I do wrong I wonder?  Oh well, yours came out beautifully and I think the resin pendant idea is really cool.  Kinda like some amber with a bit of history trapped inside!
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2009 04:54:24 AM »

That's a great tutorial. Thank you. Smiley
I saw your wedding thread when you first posted it up, and a couple of things made it onto my Ooh-I-Like-That wedding list.  Wink

I remember doing paper-making with my Mum back when I was a young kid, and I've always wanted to get back into it. Home-made paper invites and the sort are one of the things on the list of what I want in my wedding.
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curlsmakethegirl
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2009 05:21:17 AM »

this is awesome! I'm going to have to try this asap, thank you! Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011 12:45:37 PM »

I am excited by this!  Hopefully it'll turn out well Smiley
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