After buying a couple of books and reading about this process, assembling what I thought I needed, waiting for a nice day outside to try this and dilly dallying for a year, I finally got around to a day to attempt making paper. I’ve been Drying Flowers for months, so I have a lot of to use for color and texture. The funny thing is, I didn’t need to wait for a nice day outside as it was easier to do it in a sink. I did these on a rainy day, using the laundry room. I had some paper egg cartons, and had realized that they pretty well disintegrated when they got wet. So I saved them, found a rolling pin at the thrift store, got a free blender with a glass pitcher on Freecycle, and found a screen to use for the paper.
But, I realized by reading further that a frame would do a better job, as you need to have something with sides to corral the pulp into place. I ordered a set of two paper-making frames, and found a large plastic basin in DH’s garage stash. The frame has screening on one side of the frame, with hinges to lift the other side. Closed, it gives you a space to collect the paper bits, then you can lift the top up to expose the paper to press it.
Both frames fit nicely in the plastic basin.
So next, fill the pitcher halfway with water, and break up the carton into little bits. I used about 1/3 of it.
I let it sit to soften for a few minutes.
Then, I blended it on high for just a moment, and it made pulp fast.
Next I added some dried flowers to give the final product more interest. These are dried hosta flowers. I thought the purple would work nicely with the grey pulp, and hopefully would push the color into more of a lavendar.
Adding a bit more water, I blended on a medium speed until I had a fairly homogeneous mix.
I filled the pan with water, just enough to make the frames float.
Next, pour the mix over them. Yes, it looks pretty disgusting right now, LOL!! You can see the bits of purple flowers, and the color came out darker than I thought it would, mainly I think due to the ink on the cartons.
Jiggle the frames in the water, and swish it around with your fingers until the pulp distributes evenly inside the frames. Then lift them out and set on a screen or other type of frame to drain. Press out the water as best you can gently using a sponge, as shown on the frame on the left, then lift the top as shown on the right. Don’t use too much pressure or it will pull the screening out of the frame. (Ask me how I know, LOL.) If that happens, just use a putty knife to push the edge back into the frame.
I realized quickly that this was going to make a royal mess, so I moved the whole set up to the mud sink. I also made sure to collect all the pulp before it went down the drain so it wouldn’t clog it up. After this, I dumped the leftover water in the basin out in the flower bed.
I lay a bit of plastic over the paper so it wouldn’t stick to the rolling pin, and rolled the sheets to squeeze out more water.
Then I let them dry for a bit.
When I was able to lift the sheets off the frames, I set them onto paper towels to dry. They took two days to dry completely.
Not too bad for a first attempt, don’t you think? The third piece didn’t have enough pulp to do a whole sheet so it has a big hole in it. I’ll use these in strips and rectangles to add interest and texture to my cardmaking.
So, a few lessons learned, and I was having fun. I found a large piece of white newsprint, and I tore it into shreds to soak for an hour. This time I wanted more control over the color.
After blending for about 30 seconds, I had white pulp.
These are dried amaryllis flowers from my red blooms last February.
Oh, I like this! A lovely shade of pale pink resulted, with some dark bits.
This time I carefully poured the pulp into the frames instead of dumping it like I did the first time. When the frames were full, I saved the rest for a second run.
Pretty pink sheets were turned out onto white paper towels, and then rolled with another paper towel on the top. This worked better than the plastic, soaked up more of the water, and left a smooth appearance.
Four sheets of pink, and I am on a roll!
I soaked shredded newsprint paper in a natural color, along with the white paper towels shredded from yesterdays activities and let it soak for a bit.
This time I wanted yellow, so I used the dried daffodil flowers.
Once again, blending the pulp, and carefully pouring the sheets.
Rolling between paper towels, this time I set those on top of an old towel. Then I rolled several times, pressing harder this time.
I got even better results as I was able to squeeze out more water and get an even flatter sheet. The yellow is nice, with the darker orange bits from the flowers.
One more time, this time with the browned rose petals I got from drying white roses.
Same procedure resulted in a lovely light brown which should do well with Autumn inspired cards.
There we are, the result of several rounds of making paper. Next time, I am going to soak several pitchers full at one time so I don’t have to wait. Not too shabby for my first go round, I think.
The quality of the paper got better with each set, as I was able to get them thinner as I went. The sheets were really stiff when thicker, but the thinner sheets were more flexible. Next I need to get another blender at the thrift store as the freebie I received leaks. I don’t think that having water inside the motor is a good idea, so it went to the electrics recycle at the recycling center in town.
Have you made paper like this?
Update – Thanks to Wendy, I have watched a ton of Arnold Grummer videos on youtube and will have more fun with this soon.