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.