Although some are daunted at the thought of making hand-made paper, it is actually very easy to do and creates the most delightful effects. Most of the items you will need to create your own paper
can be found in the kitchen, and the finished product can be used for card making, wall hangings or decoupage. It can be used to cover boxes or books and every time you make a piece of your own paper, it is completely unique! When you get into this craft and see the beautiful and unusual effects that can be achieved, you will be
completely hooked. Here I am going to instruct you on making your hand-made paper even more unusual and distinctive; by scenting it using natural materials and oils.
By Gail Miller
However, before we get onto that, you will need to know the basics of making hand-made paper. What do we use then to produce our own paper? Well, torn or shredded photocopying paper is the most common material to pulp, although ANY paper can be used. Sometimes I experiment with other types of paper, such as toilet roll, tissue paper or coloured paper. If you live near an office, perhaps you could ask them if you could recycle their shredded paper? If not, then appropriate paper can always be found around the house. To
follow are the basic instructions for making your own paper. Afterwards, I will go onto how you can make your paper more delightful by the addition of herbs and other materials.
You will need:
8 to 10 sheets of A4 paper
Large mixing bowl (or if you are making large amounts, a bucket)
Washing up bowl
Blender or hand blender
Fine gauge wire mesh
(Note:these are Handiwipes, or a similiar
reusable, disposable cloths.)
A small sponge
2 thick towels
1. Tear the paper into small pieces, or if you are using shredded paper use it as it is. Place in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Make
sure there is plenty of water covering the paper and leave to soak for a few hours, until the water has cooled down. It is not strictly necessary to do this, but it easier for the blender to pulp the paper if you leave it to soak for a while. Blend to a fine pulp with a hand blender, or tower blender by pouring both paper and water in a bit at a time.
2: Fold your towels and place on a work surface and place a J cloth on top. This is where you will form your sheets of paper.
3: Fill a washing up bowl about a third full of water. Add a few handfuls of the pulp and swish it around. Immerse the wire mesh and pull up out
of the water picking up the pulp in the mesh. Let it drain slightly till all the water has run through.
4: Turn the mesh over (pulp side down) on to the J cloth. Using the sponge, soak up the excess water on the wrong back of the mesh by dabbing fairly firmly on the back of the mesh. Then slowly and carefully lift the mesh; the paper should stay on the cloth. You can leave your
paper as it is, or you can carry on adding as many layers as needed to make the thickness of paper required. Leave to dry in a warm room.
5: If you are making a pile of sheets, you can lay another J cloth over the paper and layer your paper up like this. When you have about 6-8
layers, you can then place the whole Â‘sandwichÂ’ between some heavy books to press.
Adding colour with natural materials
If you would like to colour your paper, without resorting to the artificial colour produced by using tinted paper for your pulp, you can colour it using natural materials. When you have decided what you are going to use to colour and/or texture the paper, you add the material(s) to the water and swirl around just before you immerse your mesh. Obviously the colour will depend on the material used-and the amount, but there are many ways you can add colour or texture:
Tea leaves-depending on how many you use, will determine the finished look and feel of your paper.
Onion skins-which can either be crumbled and added to your pulp, or boiled to give you coloured Â‘juiceÂ’ which can be added.
Berries-blackberries/other berries can be sieved and the liquid added to the water.
Beetroot-can give your paper a reddy pink tinge, although quite a lot of the colour will be lost upon evaporation.
If you want to add a delicate aroma to your papers, the easiest way is to add a few handfuls of sweet smelling herbs to your water and pulp. Dried ones are the most effective so not only will they add perfume, they will also texture the paper. You can also add spices to your water, but it must be remembered that some of the smell will be lost during the drying process.
Some other materials you could add to your paper are mint (which will give a lovely green tinge as well as making your paper smell fresh), rose
petals, dried lavender or potpourri. A lovely way to add that something extra, is to add slivers of orange, lemon or lime peel to the pulp mixture. You will get a lovely citrus scent when your paper is dry, not to mention a really decorative paper with little curls of peel embedded in the paper.
Although the methods I have just outlined are adequate (you need to experiment to get the best effectiveness), the best way of all to
scent your paper is by using essential oils. Some really distinctive aromas can be produced by some of the following oils:
You need to spray your paper with a fine blow defuser (available from art shops) while the paper is still slightly damp, as if you wait till it is completely dry you are likely to stain the surface of the paper.
I am sure you will agree that making hand made paper is an absolutely super hobby and remember, when you have the basics mastered, you will be able to go onto producing your own exquisite stationery, calendars, hand made cards, and other crafty items.
About the Author:
Gail Miller is author of Wild Child ~ A Mother, A Son & ADHD
She also publishes THE ADHD GAZETTE-Accenting the positive side of ADHD
and SPECIAL NEEDS BOOKS FOR PARENTS PROFESSIONALS
Featuring new books (and other SNs resources) for parents of Special Needs children and the professionals who work with them.