You can make paper from any fibrous vegetation. It is possible to make paper with a wide array of textures and other qualities. It all depends upon the types of plants available to you. Know the optimum time of year to gather vegetation for paper making is key. You should also keep in mind what uses you intend for the paper you make.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh vegetation
- Stone floor
- Large pots, pitchers
- Large mortar and pestle or substitute a stone and mallet
- Caustic soda
- Bleaching powder
- Shallow pan
- 10 inch nylon sieve
Collect vegetation in the fall, or at the earliest, the end of summer. Once collected, lie the plants on a stone floor, keeping them moist until they decompose.
Chop the decomposed materials into 1/2 inch sections. Place the pieces in a large pot or other container. Fill with water and add a heavy dose of caustic soda. Rub your fingers together in the solution. The mixture will feel oily when ready. Wash your hands well afterward.
Heat the pulp slowly to 98 degrees F. Add gelatin for sizing, a filler for porous materials. Boil for at least three hours. Do not boil dry.
Ladle or pour the pulp into a pail. Wash the pulp until it is clear. Pound with your fists to squeeze out the water. Put bleaching powder (available at building supply centers and hardware stores) into a large pitcher or jug, add water according to package instructions and stir. Allow the mixture to settle. Pour solution onto the pulp and let stand for twelve hours. Stir occasionally with a stick. When the pulp is a pale brown, the bleaching is finished.
Wash the pulp again, squeezing out any excess water. Using scissors, cut the pulp into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large mortar crush the pulp with a pestle. A stone and mallet will work as a substitute. The more you crush the pulp, the smoother texture will result.
Place a 10 inch nylon sieve in a shallow pan of warm water. Scoop 3 cups of pulp into the nylon, spreading evenly. Remove the sieve from the pan and drain the excess water. Place in a warm area to dry.
Lift the dried sheet. Slip a knife tip under the and along the paper edges. Thickness depends on the amount of pulp used.
Tips & Warnings
- This method is to make one sheet of paper at a time.
- Caustic soda can burn. Keep away from children and pets.