How to make handmade paper without a blender

0 IMG_4237After cutting out the petals for my cherry blossom zine, I had lots of pink paper scraps left so I decided to make handmade paper at home using the a small deckle and mould that came with a greeting cards making kit.

On the web, it seemed lots of people are using a blender to make the pulp, but my friends warned me that wet paper can ruin the blades of your blender: they suggested I buy a second-hand blender just for the purpose of making paper.

However, as someone pointed out, people have been making paper for thousands of years (way before blenders were invented!), so I researched further and it seems there’s a way to make paper without a blender: you just have to soak it longer.

How to make paper at home without a blender

What you’ll need:

  • scrap paper (construction paper, photocopy paer, newspaper, junk mail)
  • small bucket or bowl to soak the paper
  • decker and mould (you can create your own, or use the following alternatives: a tupperwear lid covered with plastic, or use two sieve to make round paper)
  • shallow pan
  • pieces of felt (or paper towels or absorbant fabric)
  • sponge

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Steps.

Day 1

1. Take paper scraps (I used regular pink photocopy paper) and shred it in pieces of 3.5cm (1 inch) by hand. Don’t cut it with scissors, it won’t work as well. Yes, it takes a long time.

2. Put the scraps of paper in a small bucket. Fill the bucket with cold water (enough to cover the paper) and soak overnight.

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 Day 2

The next day, you’ll find the paper is starting to break down, but there’s still big chunks in it.

3. Throughout the day, mix with your hands or use a whisk to break down the pulp more. (Somebody on YouTube was putting the mixture in a water bottle with marbles and shaking it to break the pulp).

When the pulp is soft and there are no big chunks left, you are ready to make paper. The finished mixture should have the consistency of oatmeal. (Because you are not using a blender, the mixture will be thick).

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4.  Pour some pulp in your mould. (My mixture was thick enough I could just transfer it by hand). Make sure to fill the corners and the surface evenly.  At this stage, you can add sparkles or leaves or flowers to the paper surface for a nice effect.

5. Let the water drip.

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6.  Remove the deckle.

7. Prepare to transfer from your deckle onto a piece of felt or fabric.

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8. Transfer the pulp from the mould to the felt or fabric.

9. Cover the pulp with another piece of felt. Press a sponge to remove excess water. (Some people on the internet are using the “press” method: place your paper covered in fabric between two pieces of wood and put heavy books on top. Let the water come out for about 30 minutes).

 

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10. Remove the top felt.

11. Transfer the handmade paper on another piece of felt (or newspaper). Let it dry overnight (for thin paper) or two days (thick paper).  Some people say you can put the paper between two sheets of felt and iron it dry – until it stops hissing – but that didn’t work for me.

 

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Day 3

12. After I let the paper dry overnight, this is what it looked like: the thin paper is already dry (you can see the dry sheets are pale pink), but the thick paper will take another day to dry.

 

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You are ready to use your beautiful handmade paper!

 

All photos: Jessica Tremblay 2014

6 thoughts on “How to make handmade paper without a blender

  1. Kim Goldberg

    Thank you so much for this great step-by-step explanation and all the illustrations, Jessica! I have been wanting to start making my own paper – at least for certain book-art projects. But have not really wanted to use my blender. And you’re right – paper-making has existed far longer than blenders. I like this more natural approach. Will be trying it! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lisa-Marie

    THANK YOU A 1000 TIMES
    I thought exactly the same; people did this without blender / mixer way back.
    Now I can do it the old way too. Thank you for these instructions and your research.

    Love bless you,

    Lisa-Marie Form Berlin, Germany x

    Reply
  3. Fluttershy

    It goes real fast if you use the water bottle and marbles, or rocks with hot water. just put a piece of cloth where your hands would go so you don’t get burned.

    Reply
  4. Aastha

    Thanks a lot Jessica .
    I was struggling to make paper. Blender was not that approachable to me . Thanks for your idea. Going the natural way and I am starting to make my paper. All the best to me .

    Reply

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