Several years ago I thought it would be fun to make my own paper. I searched for instructions, found more than I’d ever have time to read, and decided to just jump in – wing it. The results may illustrate that choice but I like them anyway.
People suggested buying special pulp paper to make paper pulp. What? No. Never. I collected old advertising circulars and tore them into pieces instead.
The next steps would be to soak the paper, then compress it to get the water out. Numerous websites offered paper-making whatsits for sale. They were usually made of pressing parts and screens, with water collection containers attached. Buy those? No. Never. So, I found an old barbecue grill screen – the kind that has small holes because it’s made for a portable grill – and part of an old book shelf instead.
I filled a large bowl with water and dumped the paper in, to let sit for a day. But then I thought of how fluffy and tiny dryer lint is when it collects on the dryer filter screen. Hmmm…would it work well with the pieces of paper? There was one way to find out: I added a giant clump of dryer lint (including the usual oddities, like hair and cat fur) to the water and mixed it with the paper.
The next day, I drained off the excess water and removed the gloppy paper. Then I put the screen on top of the bowl, plopped a handful of wet paper pieces and dryer lint on top of the screen, placed the piece of shelving on top of the pile of paper, and pressed the water out. I had to repeat this step several times but eventually I was able to gently remove a sheet of soggy paper from the screen. The paper was bumpy, holey, and a bit hairy. Perfect.
I let it dry, scanned it, and uploaded the image to my Shop on Redbubble for printing on several products.
Handmade paper! It’s one of my favorite pieces: colorful, messy, and fun to explore.