26 August 2007

Making Paper Part One

Some of the schools I’ve attended and several of the companies I've worked for don't recycle their paper. There must be a way to make use of this free resource. Rather than discarding, could I turn trash into profit?

There are many online resources that provide an explanation of how to turn used paper into new paper. I've listed the ones I used at the bottom of this post.

I began my papermaking journey by researching solely on the internet. Some websites merely detailed the process in writing. Others had pictures of the process.

A brief description of the process:
1. Tear up paper and put into a bucket to soak overnight.
2. Grind into pulp using a blender.
3. Pour pulp into a tub with more water.
4. Stir to ensure even distribution of pulp in tub.
5. Take a frame with mesh screening attached and dip into pulp water.
6. Let water drain from pulp and then gently transfer off of screen and onto wet cloth.
7. Add another wet cloth to the top of paper then lay paper-cloth-paper-cloth until you’ve got a good sized pile.
8. Next put the pile in between two boards and press out the water.
9. Allow water to drain overnight.
10. Remove paper from cloth and allow to air dry.
11. Dry paper will likely not have dried smooth, so once dry, further weight can be applied to straighten and smooth.

These were the tools that I would require.
Item Purpose
Mesh screening for capturing the pulp.
A frame for hold the mesh tight.
An extra frame for smooth edged paper.
Old paper 'cause you can't create something from nothing, and all that jazz.
A bucket to soak torn paper in.
A blender for breaking down the soaked paper into pulp.
A tub for suspending the pulp.
Cloth for putting the wet paper onto.
Two boards to press out the water.

I needed two picture frames.

I decided to make them. Simply purchasing them from a thrift shop would certainly have been simpler and have lead more immediately to the end product. However, if I made a picture frame, I'd learn about making frames as well as making paper.

Two projects in one. How could I resist?

How to make a picture frame.
You're going to need a saw. Don't have a saw? Some home improvement stores will cut wood to length for you. Of course if you're planning to make several frames of varying dimensions, or anticipate having a need for a saw in the future, you may be better off purchasing a saw. Possibly a cheap one. . .

So, I bought a cheap saw. The saw came attached to an angle guide. This was very useful as I tend to be unable to cut straight lines.

The directions I read for building a picture frame seemed pretty straightforward. (wikihow) So I didn't write down any of it before going to the hardware store. I managed to get nails, glue, saw with attached angle guide, sandpaper, and the wood. Once I began I realized another trip to the hardware store would be needed, as I'd neglected the stain. I also intended in the second trip to get a different sort of nail (u shaped) as the ones (wall panel) I was using weren't the best for the job. I did manage to get the stain, but forgot about the nails. And so made do with what I had gotten previously.

Frames are a challenge to clamp. Especially if you don't have a clamp. After I made the frames I came across asite selling corner clamps pretty cheaply. However before I found that site, I was looking at band clamps. It seemed like a straightforward concept. And one that I could implement at no cost. Just take a flexible belt and wrap it tightly around the perimeter of the frame. Then wait for the glue to dry. To my surprise it worked well.

The following day, on a whim, I visited the library and thought I'd look up paper making for kicks. I was astonished to find eight books on papermaking. Three of these were awesome enough to take home. One of them pointed out that a much simpler frame can be used. Old picture frames are nice if you happen to have them lying about. However if not, you can just take the wood cut to length without angles, add glue and screw them together on the ends. Apparently this will make a frame that is sufficiently sturdy. I'll try this next time.

Once the picture frames were made I stapled the screening to one of them. I'm just using porch screening. The cheapest the hardware store carried. I used staples from an office stapler.

Paper and Bucket
I've torn up paper from junk mail and placed into bucket with water.

The Blender
My blender recently died. I've been hesitant to purchase a new one. I was considering using a mortar and pestle when a workmate, who was heading back to India, kindly left me her blender. Thanks Vani! Problem solved.

I've cleared out a plastic tub of the right size for the project. It was designed for under the bed storage so it isn't too deep.

Cloth was easily attained from the scraps/remnants section of the local fabric store. I selected a few different types of fabrics, so I'll be able to see what effects they have upon the completed paper.

The two boards for pressing out water will be coming from an old press-board bookshelf I'm no longer using.

Resources Online papermaking resources
Papermaking- Government site
For Kids
Papermaking Supplies
Photo Guide

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