Handmade Paper Process
All who make handmade paper go about it differently, I have formed my own process through trial and error as well as the equipment and resources available to me. All information comes from research and respect to traditional paper making.
My goal is to enlighten, to the labor-intensive nature of paper making and the efforts involved in each stage.
We begin with the collection of paper waste.
I collect my waste from a few different sources and what kind of scraps you get will determine what kind of paper you end up with.
Majoratively; the scraps that I use come from the businesses in my area.
Although, anybody that is accessible to my frequented areas (country SA) is able to donate.
Coloured paper calls for some experimentation and I collect newspapers, craft offcuts and whatever I can get my hands on to make those wonderful tones without the addition of dyes or synthetics.
Waste that I collect is often shredded for me; if not I use a cross cut office shredder to take care of that particular task. The smaller the shred the more easily and quickly pulped.
Outside we go with those freshly cut paper scraps to be pulped.
Pulping of paper in my industrial sized ice blender takes anywhere from five to ten minutes per blend depending on the type of paper. A few handfuls and a generous covering of water that I recycle and you now have a paper sludge fiesta! Ready to be invited over to the pulling tub.
Filling with pulp and enough water for said pulp to float freely, we are then able to submerge the mold & deckle. The mold is a frame covered with metal mesh, and the deckle is the frame that sits on top of that mold. The A1 size paper is formed when the floating pulp is evenly distributed on the mould mesh, and the deckle is used to create straight edges on the paper sheet.
After pulling, the frame is transferred into the sun for at least 45 minutes. This allows for some of that excess water to evaporate and brings us to couching.
Couching is the process of compressing the paper particles into a sheet that has consistent thickness. The frame is flipped face down onto a cloth sheet, pressed with a sponge to remove all excess water that remains, then rolled even. Afterwards, it is returned to the sunshine to dry fully.
When dry, the paper is scraped off the mesh frame with a palette knife and taken back into the workshop to be cut with a large guillotine. A1 size is squared on the edges and cut in half to create an A2 sheet, ready to be individually fed into the printer. Design templates are exclusively created for your business in Affinity and uploaded directly to the printer for each side as well as precise orientation.
Printing is single sheet, single side and hand fed. Each design takes up to 5 minutes and has amazing quality capability due to the professional photography printer. Sheets are flipped, re-aligned and printed again.
After both graphics have been completed, the paper is returned to the guillotine and chopped faithfully on the printed lines of the particular design. This is done one sheet at a time to ensure each item is cut precisely, allowing for the slight variations in the handmade paper.
When the paper item has been cut to size, it is assured for quality and counted for packaging. Depending on the end use of the product, packaging will vary.
Shipping is arranged to request and specification.
There is nothing quite like the unique energy of paper that has been “Hand-made”.
A truly exceptional product for both the environmentally conscious business & the sustainability of our planet.
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