MAKE HANDMADE PAPER FROM recycled materials
With a few supplies and basic tools, you can turn scrap paper into beautiful gifts for family and friends. Go one step further and embellish your paper with flowers and leaves from the garden.
Making paper by hand is a fairly simple process and it’s a great way to use up scrap paper – old bills, junk mail, photocopied print-outs, old wrapping paper and so on – that was headed for the recycling bin anyway. You can use leaf fibre as well (mulched phormium or cordyline, for example), or simply add leaves and petals to the paper slurry. White handmade paper with rosemary leaves and colourful calendula petals looks beautiful. Throw in pieces of coloured cotton, glitter or the punched out holes from hole punches for added interest, and add essential oils for a sweet scent.
To make paper you need a mould and deckle (available from craft shops, or make your own – see instructions below). The mould is a screened frame that catches the pulp; the deckle is a frame that sits on top of the mould to hold the wet pulp. To assemble, put the mould down first, lay a fine mesh on top, then add the deckle.
The colour of your paper is governed by the colour of the waste paper you use. Purple waste paper will give your handmade paper a purple hue; newsprint will make it a ‘dirty’ grey.
The thickness of your paper depends on how much pulp you add to your tub. The more pulp, the thicker your paper. Fill your tub initially with half your pulp, then add more later.
If the paper slips off the mesh when lifting it (see step 7), it’s likely too wet. Let the water drain away completely before lifting it again.
You need a food processor or blender to make the paper mulch. Look for a second hand one at an op shop.
A leather-bound journal makes a lovely gift. Fold handmade paper in half. Take three folded sheets and place one inside the other, like a book. Repeat with the other pages. Bind with waxed Irish linen thread. Cut scrap leather to form a cover, and long strips to tie. Attach the ties by sewing them onto the cover. Open the pages in the middle and sew waxed linen through leather to attach.
Paper was invented in China around 100BC. The first paper-making industry in China began in 105AD. Before that, writings and inscriptions were generally made on tablets of bamboo or on pieces of silk.