I did a paper trial run tonight. We are making paper for our invites from our paper that needs to be shredded (old pay stubs, credit card offers, etc.) It will be grow-a-note paper that guests can put in the ground to hopefully get flowers with in the spring. On Sunday we are going to get through as many sheets as we can but tonight I was testing out the molds I made and playing with the color. I have never made a screen mold to do this before. I only ever used felt and my paper has been thick for gift tags and note cards. I want this stuff to be thinner to possibly go through an older typewriter.
The mold was made from screening. The larger screen is scrap from an aviary my neighbor just built and the finer mesh screen was donated from one of my fiance's co-workers. It was a torn screen door that she had not thrown away yet. I placed the finer screen over the broader screen and duct taped the edges. I tore up a few sheets of our "sensitive papers" and put the pieces in a blender filled 2/3 of the way with water and pulsed until it made a good pulp. But the pulp was a light grey. Our wedding colors are saffron and merlot and we want saffron colored paper. We like these colors because they are Buddhist monk robe colors. Way back in the day the robes were dyed with saffron or turmeric. I have no straight turmeric at home so I used some curry powder and pulsed it with the pulp in the blender. We are adding wildflower seed on Sunday but I did this batch with some much larger cucumber seed that we will not be growing here in Miami. Here is the mold with pulp in the vat. The vat is a litter box we bought from a dollar store for a kitten we rescued that was waiting for an adopted home.
Here is more detail of the layout. After the mold is pulled from the vat you let water drain at a 45 degree angle back into the vat and push the pulp down away from the duct tape edges. Then you place it face down on a piece of felt. Sop up as much water as you can with a sponge. I then turned it over and rolled the felt back off the screen to pull the pulp sheet with it. Cover that with another piece of felt so that the paper is sandwiched between the two pieces of felt and place it in a newspaper stack. After you have a few sheets scattered in the newspaper stack step on it with a wooden board on top of it (I used one of our cutting boards covered in a towel).
Then remove the paper sandwiched between the felt from the newspaper stack and stick it to a window. To let it dry.
My first batch sucked because I sieved the pulp too thin on the mold. It was difficult to remove from the screen and I was also trying to pull the screen off the felt instead of the felt off the screen. The second batch was easier to work with because it had more pulp per sheet but I was on the phone with my mother so I was sloppy in laying it on the window with my shoulder pinning the phone against my ear. Laying it flat is not hard to do but I need both of my arms.
Here are the dried pieces and I am happy with one of the trials.
So on Sunday we will have PAPERPALOOZA 2007 going on in our home. We have a lot of paper to make and I wanted to go through tonight's trial run because I have not made paper in a couple of years, I have never used this mold, and I wanted to test the spice we would use for dying the paper. Right now my hands and the window smell like a big old pot of yummy curry! I bet it would smell so good with some ginger and cinnamon :)
To see a great paper-making tutorial check out this flickr set by B_Zedan.