Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Here are just a few of the ways to spice up handmade paper.

Flower Petals: Add in flowers during the beating stage, a few seconds before the pulp is thoroughly blended. Stay away from red petals, as they bleed into the surrounding area, white flowers, which will turn brown, and any green bits, as they might tint the whole batch yellow. Marigold petals, tea, and coffee can be turned into natural dyes.

Gold Leaf: Add gold leaf by placing a sheet of it into a sieve, then forcing tiny flakes through with a stiff brush directly into the vat. It looks great with dark pulp. Add several sheets of gold leaf with less pulp than normal, so you can make very thin sheets.

Lamination: Couch at least two sheets directly on top of each other. They will bond together permanently when pressed and dried. To make sure the second sheet will be placed directly on top of the first, place the mold on top of the first sheet, mark the outer edges with pieces of string, and remove the mold. Lay dried flowers, leaves, or feathers on top, then pull a second sheet, placing it exactly on top, using the strings as a guide. Press each laminated sheet separately. Laminating yarn is another option. First, dip a piece of yarn in a different colored pulp, and then lay it down on a newly formed sheet. Feel free to let the pieces of yarn run outside the edges of the paper. Overlap more pieces dipped in pulp, then cover the bottom sheet with another freshly made sheet. Press and dry separately.

Texture: Simply couch paper onto textured surfaces, like tulle, bubble wrap, or textured glass.

Japanese Momogami: Crumple a damp sheet of pressed paper into a tiny ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and, once it has dried overnight, open it up and smooth it out with a bone folder.

Embossing: Place a wire shape on the couching surface, and then deposit a newly pulled paper on top of it. Cover it with a damp cloth, then a towel, and a heavy board or bricks. Another technique is to press an object down onto the new sheet, then cover and weight it so it can air dry.

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