June 08, 2010

Paper Making

Well, it's that time of the year again... the end of the school year is near, so it's time to make stationary for my kids' teachers, from the stack of papers that they've sent home from school.

Last year, the gift was a hit and the news went around the school. It ended up coming handy, when in the fall, I had to warn the new teacher about our special home paper requirements (reduce)...she already knew. Giving homemade paper, I hope also makes them think about paper consumption in our school.
In the middle of the stressful week, there is nothing better to relieve stress. Some like to jog, I like to make paper ;)

For those wanting to give it a try (and for those of you not familiar with the process), here is what to do. You can listen to my podcast interview on "More Hip than Hippie" while doing it ;)

- Tack window screening or mesh tight onto a frame (picture below, down) . You can also slide a used nylon sock over a smaller frame and knot is tight (picture below, up). The size of frames will pretty much be the size of your paper and they need to fit flat into your tub, so plan accordingly. I use two 3.5x5 frames (one with nylon and one without for neater edges) for small cards and postcards. I use an 8.5x11 for letters or envelopes.


- Line the table with felt squares:

- In a tub (yes, mine is plastic... it serves for paper recycling, extra curbside pick-up, and paper-making), tear the papers in small pieces and fill with water (I like to let it sit overnight to give paper time to soften...),

-Using a hand-mixer or blender, blend the soaking paper into a pulp (this time, I ended up with a dark purple, which means a light purple finished product ) :

At this point you have the option of adding seeds (for "plantable" paper), lint from your dryer, dried flowers etc...

- For small cards with neat edges (which I will be demonstrating here), stack the 2 matching frames (nylon frame at the bottom), dip flat into the pulp, let drain a bit, and lift upper frame off gently:

- Remove the upper frame:

-Flip it onto a felt square:


-Absorb as much water as possible with a sponge (a remainder of our previous home car washing days...):


- and delicately remove the frame. The paper pulp should stick to the felt.


- Line dry over your plants (the felt will drip on them and no water will be wasted ;)

- When dry, peel off and iron as needed:

- et VOILA!

Now, all I need to do is to make matching envelopes (with the larger mesh frame, and an envelope stencil to cut the dry sheets) and then "gift-tag" and tie the whole thing with compostable string. I think the teachers will be quite pleased.

Note: When you're done (pulp too thin to make paper), you can compost the leftovers.

I am afraid to ask... what did you think of the podcast?