Monday, October 17, 2011

Makin' Paper

One of the tasks I've taken on for this whole wedding thing is to make my own stationery for the various cards and such that are required to let people know stuff.  You've seen the STD's (no, not those STDs silly, save the dates), but now that those are all sent out, it's time to start thinking about the invites.  Most of those will go out in February or March, but since I have free time now and would like it to be taken away in the near future by a full time job, I'm working on them now.

These will be particularly time-consuming since I'm making the paper for the main part of the invite. 

Paper-making is relatively easy... as long as you have a paper-making kit.  Luckily, I do.

A paper-making kit usually includes a deckle (the wooden frame) some blotter paper, and a screen.  That's pretty much it.  You will also need a towel, a clean sponge, rolling pin, some shredded paper, and a crappy blender.

First, you put a couple handfulls of shredded paper (in our case bank statements, etc.) into the blender.  I added some small pieces of yellow construction paper to add warmer color to the paper, since using just the shredded paper results in a grayish colored paper.  Add some water and blend for about a minute or until there are no more chunks.

It should look about like this.  It'll look gray, but when it dries, it lightens up a lot.

I would also suggest adding a bit of fun like flower petals (these are just the usual colors that can be found in my front yard) or moss or whatever you feel like might look nice in the paper.  This you only have to blend for a few seconds so add it at the end.

Now fill your sink with water so that when the deckle is placed in it, the water reaches about an inch from the top.  (The deckle should be placed so that the side with the attached mesh is on the bottom and the frame placed on top.) Pour some of the pulp mixture into the deckle.  The thickness of the paper will be based on how much you pour in so you'll have to do a couple tests out to figure out the ideal amount.  You then will want to use something thin like a skewer to make sure that the pulp is distributed evenly in the deckle.  (You don't want some areas of the paper thicker than others.)

Holding both side firmly, lift the deckle straight out of the water and let drain for a few seconds.  Lift the top frame off.  Place your extra sheet of mesh on the pulp, and using a sponge, gently soak up some of the water.

Peel the mesh off so the sheet comes with it and place it on a dry towel, paper side up.  This can be tricky, but gravity can help you out a bit.

Place a blotter sheet on top and roll over firmly with a rolling pin.

Peel the blotter and paper off of the mesh.  This should be easy since the paper will stick to the blotter paper.  Place it paper side up.

Put another sheet of blotter paper on top and roll over with a rolling pin once again.

Carefully peel off the paper from the blotter sheet, making sure not to tear or stretch the paper.  At this point the paper is relatively dry so it should come off in one piece pretty easily.

Let air dry for a day or two.  I usually get 5-7 sheets per blender-full of pulp.  You can experiment with all kinds of stuff and different colored paper.  Some of the things I added to these batches were moss, flower petals, leftover tea leaves, and chicken feathers.  All were a success except the feathers.  They just don't cooperate.

Pretty cool that unwanted bank statements can be turned into something beautiful huh?

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