Making Paper

Making (recycled) paper at home DIY style…

Hey, I made some paper! To be more precise, I made recycled paper using scrap paper from my own home. I remember facilitating an event years ago at the museum where we had people make paper, but it was one of those things where I was so busy running things I didn’t actually get to make anything. So a few years later (and with my renewed printmaking efforts) I figured it was time to make my own paper.

And if you’re interested in the whole process, there’s a ton of information online, and plenty of videos on YouTube. I watched a bunch, and while I didn’t follow any one of them exactly, I got close enough to get some good results for the first try. I bought a tub, strainer, and sponges from a dollar store, found a piece of scrap screen from a window, and then I made my own mold and deckle.

This is one of those things where if you’ve got a wood shop and scrap wood and that sort of stuff, cranking out the mold and deckle would be quick and easy… Since I don’t really have access to those thing I figured I would 3D print them. I designed the two parts so I could embed magnets into the corners to help hold them together while in use. It mostly worked. I may tweak a few things in the next revision.

I printed the parts on the Prusa MINI and they’re about 160mm square, so the paper I made is just slightly smaller than that, probably closer to 145mm x 145mm, which is about 5.5″ square which should work well for my prints that are on 3″ x 5″ paper.

I made two pieces, one of them turned out good. It’s thick enough that no light passes through it…

The other piece, not quite as good. It’s a little thin, and you can see the lighter spots in the photo where it’s a little translucent due to the thinness. Still figuring out the technique. I used an old t-shirt for my couching sheet, but I may need to experiment with other material or break down and actually buy some real sheets.

Overall for a first attempt without really knowing what I’m doing, I think this is a success! If you remember my experiments with home recycling of HDPE this is pretty similar, except it’s with paper, and less heat, and probably more useful for the art I’m creating now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *