How to Make Paper Using Cogon Grass

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Making paper using cogon grass is a way to productively use the invasive weed. Cogon weed is not native to America but spread from the accidental introduction of the seed from Japanese packing materials in the early 1900s. Making paper from cogon grass requires the effective breakdown of fibers to produce the quality of material necessary for paper-making. The process can be achieved using the correct method and provides effective results.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Colander
  • Saucepan and lid
  • Soda ash
  • Paper bag
  • Bowl
  • Blender
  • Paper-making screen
  • Container
  • Rolling pin
  • 2 layers of cotton fabric
  • Iron
  • Cut the cogon grass into 1-inch lengths using a pair of scissors. Place the grass into a colander and wash the strands under a running tap to remove dirt and grit.

  • Place the cogon grass into a saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of soda ash per quart of water to the saucepan and completely cover the cogon grass with the liquid. Place a lid on the saucepan, bring the saucepan up to boiling point and reduce the heat to simmer.

  • Simmer the cogon grass in the caustic soda solution for a minimum of two hours, stirring once every half an hour. Drain the cogon grass pulp and rinse it under running water.

  • Tear up a paper bag into a bowl and soak the pieces in water until the paper softens. Drain the water and put the paper bag pulp back into the bowl. The paper bag is a filler that will provide a high cellulosic content to the cogon grass for effective paper making.

  • Add 4 cups of cogon grass pulp to 1 cup of paper bag pulp and mix them in a blender with enough water to amalgamate the two ingredients.

  • Place a paper-making screen over a container to allow excess water to collect below. Pour the blender contents onto the paper-making screen. Spread the cogon grass mixture evenly over the screen.

  • Roll over the mixture with a rolling pin to compress the pulp and release excess water.

  • Remove the wet cogon grass paper sheet from the screen. Place the paper between two layers of clean cotton fabric.

  • Press and dry the paper by ironing over the top of the cotton fabric with a hot iron.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use paper plates as the filler to produce a heavier paper texture.
  • Experiment with using smaller and greater amounts of pulp to make thinner or thicker sheets of paper.

References

  • Photo Credit grass image by Dubravko Grakalic from Fotolia.com
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