Oh, I've wanted to make paper for the longest time! I bought a book like fifteen plus years ago, and had never done it.
What a lovely process.
Yesterday Maddie and I went through her paper box, and tore up copy paper that had been drawn on (both sides), and a few coloring book pages that were in there, as well.
We put our bits in a five gallon bucket, and set it in the bathtub, and filled it maybe a third of the way with hot water.
We let the paper soak for three or four hours,
then we dumped paper and water into our blender, blending it into tiny bits.
When the blender got stuck, we just added more water.
As the batches finished blending, we poured each one into a large , shallow box.
When all of the paper that we had soaked had been pureed, we stirred it up with our hands.
I dipped our smallest screen into the plastic box, and then swished the fibers over the screen.
When it looked like it was full, we lifted the screen straight up, and set it on the edge of the box to drip.
After a couple of minutes, I took a towel, and blotted and rubbed the water off of the bottom - the screen side.
Then we turned the screen over onto pieces of felt.
Our 'papers' didn't come off automatically, so I started the edges, and lifted the screen as I went along, and the weight of the fibers eventually started pulling itself off of the screen.
I had to watch for tears, and use my fingers sometimes to pull it off a little.
We placed cloths over the paper, and rolled over it with a rolling pin; to get rid of excess water, as well as to further bind the fibers.
We started with the plain fiber solution for the first piece - which was done yesterday, and left overnight on the screen to dry a little. (It just didn't look stable enough to try to take off the screen, and I had no experience making paper, so I left it until this morning.)
This morning I tried making one with tiny flowers and blossoms, it turned out lovely.
We colored some by spraying them with a watered-down watercolor solution.
Maddie added flower petals to hers.
For my last one, I wanted more plant fibers in it, so I tossed some dandelion heads into my blender with water to mix them up, then poured it into the large box.
We were impatient to see how our papers would turn out today (and it's pretty cold and dark outside) so we put the pages (in turn) on cookie sheets and put them in the over on the lowest setting (170 f) and cracked the door and let them sit for just a few minutes.
We took them out of the oven and placed them between heavy books to flatten them nicely.
plain, dandelion, Maddie's pink. golden with dandelions, lavender, peach, and plain white with blossoms and flowers.
They are beautiful.
We've made seven sheets, and I'm crazy about every one of them.
Sending this one to Saturday's Artist for April 23.... and Playing at Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions for July 8, 2011.