Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Paper making

I thought you might be interested to see how I do it and what preparations I make.

Recycled paper making is fun, but very messy!

I have built up a list of useful equipment over the 3 years I have been doing this, just to be able to do it in the most easy manner. Remember I am doing this with between 15 and 30 children, so I have extra sets of everything!

Paper making kit



Lidded bucket (to make and transport pulp)
Old laminated floor tiles (useful flat surface to roll out on)
Rolling pins
Cloths
Jugs (useful to scoop out pulp)
Stick blender or masher
Spoons (for adding/mixing pulp)

Mould and Deckle (you need to make (or buy) a mesh frame (sometimes called a mould) and an outer frame without mesh (called a deckle) Two picture frames and a piece of mesh stapled on to one frame would work.

Sponges (for removing excess water from pulp)
Trays (bigger than the mould and deckle, for the actual paper making part. I use unused plastic cat litter trays)
Newspaper
Aprons
Plastic tablecloths



My Paper making kit ready to go to Eco Club, all stacked in a big plastic box in the boot of my car, paper pulp in SEALED buckets (formerly had bird food in them, washed and reused for this), standing in the paper making trays. If pulp spills it is VERY hard to clean up!

To make the pulp

Take cut or better still shredded white office paper (printed is fine, but good quality office paper makes the smoothest recycled paper)

Many other types of paper that can be used include: Newspaper (If you want a grayish colored paper), old magazines, old cards (makes heavier paper) tissue paper (for finer paper)



Put a generous quantity of torn or shredded paper into a bucket and add warm water. Leave overnight if possible to let the paper absorb lots of water - this makes the fibres easier to break up. If you need to speed this process up you can add boiling water.



Liquidise or mash the wet paper until it is pulp. I find putting half the pulp in another bucket with some more water is best to liquidise it, if the pulp is too thick it is hard to liquidise.



It will look like porridge when it is ready.



Wash your hands after handling paper pulp as it is alkaline and can leave your hands very dry, and remind the children to wash their hands as soon as they have finished doing the pulp handling bit.


To make the paper


There are several ways of doing this, I put the mould and deckle in water (frame mesh side up, deckle on top)



and then spoon/pour pulp into the frame until I have enough. This is easier for children to do!




OR you can put some pulp in a bowl (bigger than your frame and deckle) with water.
Take the frame and deckle, hold them firmly together and scoop them under the surface of the pulp mixture until you have picked up enough pulp from the water to make an even layer of pulp on the mesh. This makes finer paper but is hard for children to do!

If you want to colour the paper add food colouring to the water at this stage.

Agitate the frame and deckle in the water to get an even layer of pulp inside the deckle, on the mesh. You can spoon some pulp into the deckle and frame to fill in any holes.



When all of the mesh is evenly coated lift out and allow the frame and deckle to drain, keeping level.



At this point you could add glitter, dried leaves, herbs, flowers, scraps of coloured tissue paper etc. I add some vanilla food flavour for a lovely scent, or a drop of lavender essential oil, or some dried lavender also looks very attractive.



Lift the deckle off,



place a cloth (I use old j cloths, anything absorbent will work) over the paper on the mesh of the frame. Gently dab with a sponge to remove the worst of the water.



Carefully lower the cloth and paper, cloth side down, on to a flat surface (I use an offcut of floor tile) covered with newspaper/cloth to absorb water. There WILL be a lot of water around!



You now have the cloth on the tile, the paper next then the mesh of the frame. This is the back surface of the paper, seen through the mesh.



Press down with sponges on the mesh, so the water is blotted off the paper through the mesh.



THEN

Lift off the frame from one corner, pressing gently from the mesh side as you go, leaving the paper behind on the cloth



You now have a cloth with some paper on top of it!



Put another cloth on top and roll with a rolling pin to remove any further water (and flatten the paper a litle.)



Repeat whole paper making process, adding each cloth to the stack.

When you have enough paper sheets, place something flat on top ( I use another laminated floor tile) and weigh it down to flatten the paper stack. Leave for a bit (a few hours if possible but it is not too critical).

Peel apart the cloths and leave each sheet of paper and cloth to dry out a bit more if needed.

Restack and put a weight on the stack to flatten the sheets

Finally peel off the cloths and leave the paper to dry out completely. DO NOT put in too hot a place or the paper will buckle as it dries!

I get the children to work in pairs, each one working on an end of the frame and then the sheet can be cut in half when dry. Odd bits can be re used to decorate other sheets of paper.

Put in a warm dry place to dry and make sure you know who made it!!


,


And THAT is how we made paper!

4 comments:

  1. so glad I found your blog this is exactly what I needed... being thinking about paper making for ages and this is an excellent explanation... love it!
    http://sylvansomethings.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Sylvan I am glad you found it of help!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful and comprehensive tutorial!
    I've dabbled in paper-making a couple of times, but it's been a while; after reading this i'm inspired to revisit the craft.
    Cheers!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just having a browse through your blog and thought I'd post a wee message here, as this is such a great post. I remember papermaking many, many years ago, with the Girl Guides. Brought back many memories of flower presses, nature trails, bark-rubbing and skeleton leaf hunts. :)

    ReplyDelete

Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.

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