6. Making Paper

A few weeks ago one of our craft group gave a demonstration on paper making.  ‘Perfect for my blog’, I thought. Here goes-

You will need:

An empty plastic bottle.  The bigger the bottle, the more paper pulp you can make.  I used a 1 litre bottle.

Some clean waste paper.  I used 2 different colours of tissue paper (the stuff you wrap gifts in) but you can use the other type of tissue.  Val used toilet paper in her demonstration.

  • Tap water
  • A shallow dish or plastic container
  • A piece of mesh. The size of the mesh doesn’t really matter except that a smaller piece is easier to manage to start with.  I used a piece of plastic mesh I found in the shed.  You can buy metal mesh in craft shops.
  • J cloth or similar
  • A sponge
  • A small tray
  • A cooling rack or similar

First of all tear the paper into small pieces and feed into the empty plastic bottle.  Half fill the bottle with tissue.

Next add the tap water to about the top of where the label of the bottle would have been (or is if you haven’t taken it off).

Leave it like this for 24 – 48 hours until it looks like it is going mushy.  Feel free to shake the bottle as much as you want as it hurries it along.  Some people do this stage in a liquidiser as it is faster but if you don’t get every last piece of paper out, it sets like concrete.  For the same reason, please do not tip any leftovers down the sink!

When it is ready, pour the mush into the shallow bowl.

Get the tray ready by placing the J cloth on it.  This will be where you place the paper while you layer it.

Next, using the mesh scoop out a layer of paper.

Turn this over so that the paper is on the J cloth

Press down with sponge so that it absorbs a lot of the water. Wring out the sponge and press down on the mesh again.

Gently peel the mesh off the layer of paper.

Repeat the process adding more layers on top of the first.  If you want to make a larger piece of paper then place the layers side by side, overlapping them slightly until you get the size you want. I decided to make 3 small pieces of paper.

The next step is to add some embellishment.

I left one piece plain and added wool in the shape of a heart and some gold foil scraps to the other two.

I then covered the wool and foil with another layer of paper but if you press the pieces into the pulp using the mesh you may not need to use another layer of paper.  I found that it covered the pieces up too much. It may have been because my layers of paper were too thick.

When you are happy with the thickness of your paper, transfer the J cloth with the paper on top onto the cooling rack.

Leave overnight or until dry.

My layers of paper pulp were definitely too thick as my paper took forever to dry.

In fact, while they were drying they looked distinctly unsavoury.

How can I possibly  pretty them up?  (A, if you are reading this…I was intending that one of these would adorn your birthday card. Bet you’re glad it didn’t! Happy Birthday for yesterday!)

Here is the final version.  I will probably have another go at papermaking sometime.  I think there is a lot of potential in it that I haven’t found yet.

4. Personalised Thank You Card

Well, the craft morning at the library went very well.  When I got there at around 10am the kind ladies behind the desk told me that we’d sold 10 tickets.  Pretty good I thought and said to my lovely daughters who had come to help that they may not need to stay for the whole time as I was sure I could manage 10 children.  The event started slowly at 11am with a few small children and their parents drifting in to the room.  I settled the first few down and got to know their names.  Then the fun began.  By 11.15 there were 19 children and 12 parents plus 2 daughters, 1 grandson of 6 months and me squeezed into the room.  We brought in extra tables and eventually had all the children working away making beautiful origami hearts and then paper beads.  At 12:30 when we finished, daughters and I crawled out happy but exhausted!  Everyone seemed to really enjoy the morning and all left with either a beautiful card and/or necklace but I’m glad it is only twice or three times a year.

On Sunday husband, N. and I were invited to a work friend’s home for lunch.  What fantastic timing after a hectic Saturday.  We spent a glorious afternoon with J, T and their talented family and I thought this morning that I’d like to send them a special thank you.  Last week, in one of those synchronistic (is that a word?) moments, a fellow folksy seller, Cat In The Moon contacted me to say that one of my map cards had inspired her to make a card for a friend out of an old ‘A to Z’ using the page showing the street where they both used to live.  ‘Aha’, I thought this morning, I’ll make J and T a card using our old ‘A to Z’. So, here is how I made it:

You will need:

  • Some A5 size card.  I have a box that I bought at The Paper Mill Shop quite a few years ago.
  • Some backing paper to use under the map (the turquoise paper above)
  • An old A to Z
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue
  • Ruler
  • A biro pen that no longer works
  • Acrylic medium gel

Using the ruler and the empty biro score a line down the centre of the card on both sides where the fold will be.

Find the road that you want to use in the A to Z and using the ruler and grid lines on the map draw an outline.  For this one I drew an outline of a house.

My intention then was to glue the turquoise paper to the front of the brown card and then the map house to the turquoise paper.

Not so fast!

The glue spurted out from behind the turquoise paper and marked the brown card.  No problem I thought, it won’t show when it dries and carried on. the map didn’t stick well to the turquoise paper and the whole thing looked a mess.  Nevermind, I thought, I can fix this and using my trusty Acrylic Gel medium brushed over the whole lot. Not a good idea.  It looked even messier with glue spots showing through the brush marks on the brown card.  I peeled the map and turquoise paper off the brown card and left it to dry.  It has dried with brush marks so I’m going to give it another coat I think.

Gave it a few more coats of watered down acrylic medium gel and eventually got rid of most of the brush strokes.  Before the last coat, I raided grandson G’s  art and craft supplies for some glitter and found some little green sparkly stars that I dropped on the wet gel.

Left it to dry overnight.

Right, I thought this morning.  I will get this card finished then go out and sweep up some leaves before the rain starts.

Not so fast.

I decided to use double sided tape to attach the turquoise paper to the brown folded card.  Only mistake was that I didn’t throw the one I’d messed up away and ended up, in my haste, attaching the paper to the back of the messed up brown card.

Quick rethink.  It was impossible to take the paper off the card without ripping it so I cut the brown card leaving a small frame of brown around the turquoise.  Then attached it to another piece of card, grey this time.  You’ll see what I mean in the photograph below.

You will see from the photograph that the roof of the house is a slightly different colour…that is where the page of the map had yellowed with age.

Turned out ok in the end, I think.  Anyway, it is in the post to J and T.  I hope they like it.