Hand made paper making

When I was in my 20’s I visited a friend’s house where his room mate had made a large beautiful paper art piece. She hung it between 2 sheets of glass and suspended it in the front window.

That image has forever stuck in my mind, and I was reminded of it recently when a friend posted an article about paper making from invasive plants. (Thank you Sarah!)

So last week, I did a bunch of reading and set off to make some paper out of plants…It became quite involved as I first needed to build the mold and deckle.

Out came the tools onto my outside work station (there deck), and I made my first mold & deckle. When I was researching how to make the paper I thought I had to make a sheet, so the first size were a traditional size sheet 8.5″ x 11″.

I went out into my yard with a bag and scissors and cut dry grasses and harvested dry saskatoon berry bush leaves. Where I live, leaves are scarce, so I didn’t have many to harvest.





The procedure is thus:

Gather dried plants.
In a large pot add a few ounces of soda ash to cold water in order to break the the fibres down into pulp. ( I ued VIP washing soda)
Boil until the fibres easily pull apart.

This can take a few hours and as I found out can give one a sore throat even with the fan going and windows open. So if you are lucky enough to own a camping stove or the like, I would suggest to boil your dried plants outside.

Once your plants have been boiled sufficiently, rinse them until the water runs clear. The first batch I didn’t rinse much, so the paper turned out a nice rustic colour.

I then took my pulp outside and piled it on a round of wood. Using a meat mallet I then pounded the pulp until the fibres were even more broken down.

Finally I added small amounts of the pulverized pulp to 3/4 full blender of water, blending the pulp a few minutes each time until all of the pulp had been used up.

The water-pulp mixture was then dumped into a 1/2 height tupperware bin that I used to dip my frame & deckle into.





My first batch of paper was mostly made from just the pulp I made, and a few bits of dried plant pieces.









The second batch I decided to add dried plants, though not randomly.

Instead I pulled apart tiny dried wild flowers and other locally harvested plants and arranged the pieces using tweezers onto the wet pulp that was still in the mold.




Yes this was very labour intensive, though I think worth the time.

As I played with ideas of how I was going to display my work in the end, I came up with the notion of making smaller pieces with the idea to build a frame out of re claimed pallets for each piece.

As I am still waiting for my paper to dry, I haven’t gotten that far yet.





But here is what I’ve got so far….








Stay posted for the end result!


For more information on how to make paper from plants, check out the link below:


Sarah’s shared post about making paper from invasive plants:https://makezine.com/2015/04/16/making-paper-invasive-plants/




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