Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making Paper Is Fun And Easy!

Paper is amazing. I'm not talking about that 8 1/2" by 11" college ruled stuff you've used half your life, I'm talking about handmade paper. Handmade paper is an ancient art form steeped in history. It's beautiful, versatile and useful. And it's so fun and easy a child could make it with just a little help from Mommy. But there are plenty of grown ups making paper too.

This week I think the world lost some of it's sparkle with the passing of Arnold Grummer. But his legacy lives on with every sheet of handmade paper we make, because when it comes to paper making I think the whole planet would agree Arnold Grummer was, and always will be the go to guy. His superior knowledge of paper making was equaled only by his commitment to bring paper making and paper crafting to the masses in an easy, fun and affordable way. 

I'm a huge fan of Arnold Grummer and his work, so when I wanted to make my own paper I went directly to his website and got myself Arnold Grummer's Papermill Complete Kit. He has many paper making kits available, but I purchased The Papermill Complete Kit for $49.95. This kit recycles household wastepaper into cards, books, invitations and more in just minutes! It's easy to use and it's clear, illustrated directions guarantee success from the very first sheet. With quick set up and clean up, the kit makes 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch paper and comes with everything needed to form, press and dry paper. All supplies are reusable. It does require the use of  a household blender, dishpan, tray (cookie sheet);  an iron is optional, but  wastepaper is a must!

So let's get started making paper. Here's what you'll need:
Arnold Grummer's PAPERMILL™ Complete Kit

Here we go!

With your hand mold upside down on a flat surface, place the white papermaking screen on the mold, then the white drain rack on top of the screen. Then pull the straps snugly across and secure.

Fill your dishpan with water and lower the mold into the water at an angle. Make sure the water is deep enough to come within a 1/4 inch of the top of the mold.

Select some scrap or wastepaper to recycle. It should be about 1 inch longer and 1 inch wider than your mold - about 7 inches by 9 inches for this mold. Sometimes I add a bit more if I want the end result to be a thicker paper. Now tear the paper into pieces and blend with about 2 cups of water for at least 30 seconds. I added some botanicals at the beginning  but you can add things in anytime. The longer you blend, the finer the pulp and anything you add in become.

When finished blending, pour the pulp into the hand mold and spread the pulp evenly by wiggling your fingers in the water.

Lift the mold out of the water holding it level. Let the water drain out. Set the mold on your cookie sheet (catches dripping water) and carefully pull the straps loose on your mold.

Lift up the mold up and gently pull it away from the white papermaking screen and drain rack.

Now carefully place the grey cover screen over the wet, new sheet of paper. Take your sponge and press firmly over the grey cover screen, then wring out the sponge and repeat until there is no more water.

Ok, slowly peel back the grey cover screen from the corner. If the paper lifts up with the screen, try another corner, or lightly hold the paper down with your other hand.

I cut a few corners here by placing the new sheet that is still on top of the white papermaking screen on a flat surface and carefully put a dry white couch sheet (very absorbent) on top of that.
Then use the press bar and push down hard over the entire surface of the couch sheet. 

Then I replace the couch sheet with a dry one, and gently flip the whole thing over. I carefully peel off the white papermaking screen from one of the corners and cover with another dry couch sheet and press with the press bar. 
I repeat this process until most of the water is removed. Then I remove the top couch sheet, and carefully peel the new sheet of paper from the bottom couch sheet. If enough water has been removed the new sheet of paper should be strong enough to do this. If it does not appear strong enough than you need to remove more water.

Place your new sheet of paper on an ironing board, a cloth, or other flat surface. You can cover your new sheet with a thin cloth if you like. I don't because I want to see my paper change as it dries under the iron. With your iron on high heat and no steam, iron slowly and without stopping over the new sheet until it is dry. You can tell it is drying because the dry areas become lighter. You can also press your paper between two dry couch sheets to dry, but honestly I could never wait that long to see my pretty new handmade paper. Heat can make paper curl so sometimes I do press it under some heavy books after I iron it dry.

Once your paper is dry you can write, type or draw on it. It is fully functional and can be used in endless projects like the ones you'll find on the Arnold Grummer Blog. Remember that handmade paper looks different on one side than the other. So you have even more choices when using your beautiful handmade paper. 

Though this step by step handmade paper tutorial may seem lengthy, papermaking is not. It is easy, fun and seriously addictive! You'll find yourself saying "I'm just going to make one more sheet!" and you end up with a big, gorgeous stack!

*Just wanted to let you know there is a significant hurricane headed directly into us in the next day or two, so I'm not sure if we'll be losing power and for how long. I'll do my best to post a new project on Saturday, November 3rd, but if you don't hear from me you'll know it has something to do with Hurricane Sandy! Prayers appreciated : )

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My goal is to take the whole world on a creative journey one project at a time, so I want to offer many thanks to all my readers in 49 different countries... 

The United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Malaysia, Italy, the Bahamas, the Philippines, Sweden, Egypt, Columbia, the Netherlands, Spain, the Sudan, Turkey, Mexico, Moldova, Denmark, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, South Africa, India, Taiwan, Panama, Serbia, Latvia, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
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Romania, Hungary, Portugal, Indonesia and Guernsey!

Many Blessings,
Jana : )