Making Your Own Origami and Craft Paper – Homemade Craft Paper
Paper is just an essential material when it comes to arts and crafts. It is easy to go by the craft store and buy yourself your weekly or monthly supply for all your needs. However, buying craft paper can be expensive, not to mention, when not used properly, spoiling precious paper means throwing away the sacrifice made by countless trees that were cut down for manufacturing your crafts materials. If you want a new project and at the same time, contribute to the protection of the environment, you can take on the task of making your own recycled paper for your origami and craft needs.
Prepare the Needed Materials
The first step in making your homemade, recycled craft papers is to prepare the materials. Water, scrap paper, a storage tub or vat is needed along with a mould and deckle, which is a screen attached to a frame. You can either buy this from a store, or you can make your own by following some easy-to-follow instructions online. For the latter steps of the paper production, you would also need wood boards, sponges, or rolling pins in addition to absorbent materials like towels, blankets, and cloth.
Cut and Blend Papers to Make Pulp
The next step is to gather your scrap papers and cut them up into little pieces in the shape of 1-inch squares. After cutting everything up, soak your cut papers in a tub of water overnight. To make the sturdiest kind of craft paper, it is suitable to choose scrap papers from recycled paper with thick material like watercolor pages, or paper used for drawing and printmaking.
Afterward, fill up your kitchen blender (one that you would not need anymore in the kitchen) with one or two handfuls of the soaked scrap paper and blend the cut-up pieces into a smooth pulp. Store the blended pulp mixture into a tub or vat and fill it up half-way or a third of the way of the container. You can add more water to the container depending on the paper thickness that you want. The more pulp to water ratio, the thicker your sheets of paper will be.
Molding and Couching Sheets
The third step would need you to make use of the mold and deckle. Using this instrument, scoop up some pulp and try to spread the layer evenly. Press the sides of the screens together to remove excess water. It is also advisable to shake the screens back and forth upon picking up the slurry to align the paper fibers and produce a more uniformed sheet. After shaping the pulp in the mold and deckle, it is now time for ‘couching’ where essentially, the sheet formed inside is removed smoothly and placed on an absorbent surface like wool felts or blankets.
Pressing and Drying Paper Sheets
The second to the last step involves pressing the newly shaped and couched sheets to release the excess water. This could be done via hand pressing or board pressing depending on the material available in helping you press down on your paper sheets and release the remaining water in them. The final step of the process is drying the paper sheets. Depending on the drying method that you chose, and the thickness of the paper, the amount of drying time may vary.