All About Papermaking

The art of papermaking was developed in 105 A.D. by the Chinese using mulberry along with fishnets, old rags, and hemp waste. About 500 years later, the art of papermaking had reached the Japanese, and to this day, some of the world's best paper is made in Japan. By 751, the Chinese had spread the art of papermaking to the Middle East and Africa. Europe saw its first papermaking in 1200. The industrialization of papermaking was seen in the 19th century. Most paper today is machine-made, though there still are people around the world who are keeping the tradition of handmade papermaking alive.

All About Papermaking: This comprehensive Wikipedia article covers just about everything you need to know about papermaking including its history and the popular techniques used.

The Wisconsin Paper Council: The Wisconsin Paper Council advocates for and represents its members in public affairs and public relations matters, serves as a center for the exchange of ideas, and disseminates news and information concerning the industry including proposed legislation and job opportunities.

History of Papermaking: Take a deeper dive into the history of papermaking on this website maintained by the Maine Pulp & Paper Association.

European Papermaking Techniques - 1300â€"1800: The following essay describes the materials and techniques used to make paper by hand in Europe between 1300 and 1800 CE.

History of Papermaking in Korea: An analytical examination of historic Korean papers and research into history, materials and techniques of traditional papermaking of Korea.

Historical Aspects of Japanese Papermaking: A detailed study of how the art of papermaking arrived in Japan and how it progressed.

Steps to Make Your Own Paper

Follow the steps below to make your own home-made paper!

Step 1: What you Need

Items that you would require:

  • Blender
  • Rolling pin
  • Smooth horizontal workspace
  • Large sized plastic tub
  • Kitchen towels
  • Paper blotters
  • Deckle
  • Nylon screen
  • Some sponge
  • Leaves, moss, or glitter for decoration
  • Paper â€" Use regular paper, avoid the glossy type
  • Microwave

Making Paper: Here’s an alternative guide to making paper with detailed instructions and illustrations.

Sources of Fiber and Pulp: The main ingredient in papermaking, the cellulose fiber which binds together to form the paper, is available to hand papermakers in a number of different forms. Read all about it here.

Arnold Grummer’s Blog: Discover new ways to use your papermaking skills. Get new ideas for decoration and for building useful items for everyday use.

Rice Paper Production: Discover how to make basic rice paper at home. The resource contains detailed descriptions and illustrations.

Pulp and Paper Dictionary: This page contains the definition of term, words and/or phrase commonly used in pulp and papermaking, printing, converting and paper trading.

Step 2: Deckle

Fit the larger frame over the screened side of the smaller frame to assemble your deckle.

Make Your Own Deckle: Check this resource for instructions on building your own Deckle instead of buying one.

Step 3: Use Water

Use warm water in your sink or tub to make it easy to use. Keep the water around 3 inches deep.

The Role of Water in Papermaking, H Bonds: A brief but focused piece of information on the role of water in papermaking.

Step 4: Making the Pulp

The next step is to make paper pulp. Tear your paper into 1 inch squares, use your blender and combine water with the paper. The solution should be two parts water to 1 part paper. Start blending and continue until the pulp is soft. When there are no big chunks left, the pulp is ready.

The Coloring of Pulp in Alkaline Papermaking: An article on coloring paper pulp and its different methods.

Step 5: Pouring the Pulp

The pulp is now ready to be poured. Put the deckle and screen in the tub until the water is about 1 inch beneath the top of the deckle. With one hand, hold the deckle underwater. Pour the pulp into the deckle with your other hand and swish the deckle around a bit.

Papermaking with Children: A blog post covering a day spent making paper with kids â€" includes high quality photos.

Step 6: Draining the Water

Drain the visible water by holding the deckle straight up. To keep the pulp even, avoid any tilts in the deckle as you lift it. Once you’ve drained the visible water, tilt the deckle and let all the water drain.

How to Make a Papermaking Mold and Deckle: This project teaches kids how to develop a papermaking mold and deckle.

Step 7: The Screen

Use a flat surface to rest the deckle on and remove its top half. The screen will have a layer of wet fiber (pulp) on it.

Pressure-Screen: Find a detailed illustration here of how a pressure screen works in a papermaking machine.

Step 8: Sponging the Pulp

It’s time to sponge the pulp. Put the loose screen on the pulp; press equally with a wet sponge all over it. Squeeze the sponge into the sink, and keep repeating. Ideally, you’d want to draw out as much moisture from the pulp as possible. Fold your towel in half and turn the pulp over onto the towel. Remove excess water using the sponge on the deckle screen. Squeeze out the sponge and repeat. Finally, remove the deckle, leaving the pulp pressed against the loose screen. The pulp can be peeled off of the deckle if it sticks.

Papermaking Facts: Interesting facts about papermaking concepts and terms, including pulp mills and paper mills, pulping, bleaching, etc.

Step 9: Couching the Pulp

Now, it’s time to couch (“kooch”) the paper pulp. Take a piece of blotter paper and flip the screen and pulp onto it. The pulp should be sandwiched between the screen and the blotter. Use a rolling pin to roll over the pulp sandwich. The pulp will transfer from the screen to the blotter. This method is called couching (kooching). Couch the paper again, onto a dry blotter. If your paper pulp is still really wet, couch again.

Couching and Felts: Learn more about couching and felts here. The brief, yet focused article will help you gain a better understanding of these terms, as well as their functions.

Step 10: Drying

Very gently, lift one corner of the pulp sheet, slowly taking it off of the blotter to let the paper dry. You can allow it to air dry, which can take 1 to 3 days depending on weather conditions, put it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes, or put the paper under a blow dryer. Leave it overnight under a heavy book to avoid curling. In the morning, your paper should be ready.

Effects of Pulp Drying History on Pressing and Drying: Check this resource to gain an understanding of the effect of pulp drying history on pressing and drying (machine productivity).

Where to find materials and decorations for your paper






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