Paper-making workshop

Today at uni we made paper. Or tried our best to make some. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Even though the instructions are quite simple in reality it didn’t go as effortlessly. I think part of the reason however was that our tools weren’t good enough and also we didn’t really know how much water to add into the pulp for example. 

Th main problem though was that between the two meshes appeared air bubbles every time we put them in the water. That made it very difficult to make the pulp spread evenly across the mesh. We never really figured out why there were air bubbles between them but it must have something to do with how we made the screens. Maybe if the screen was A4 size instead of A3 it would be easier to manage.

In the end we managed to do two sheets of paper. When the pulp was draining through the mesh it looked like the sheets of paper were gonna be really thick. Still actually when we dried th rest of the water off them by pressing with sponges the paper became really really thin! We were all surprised by that. The sheets couldn’t really be any thinner than that. It would have actually been good to have twice as much pulp! That’s good to know if we ever make more paper.

In addition to just making a sheet of paper, we also tried constructing a design into it with another color paper pulp. It was supposed to be done with a stencil but we cut our stencil out of foam board which didn’t work. Because the pulp was weighing the mesh down it was a bit curved, and the foam board is quite stiff, we couldn’t push the two together. Instead we had to just construct the circle design out of the pulp free-hand.  It worked now but if the design was a bit more complicated it it would have been a problem. For a more complicated design choose a more flexible stencil material that still is also waterproof.

In the end of the day we flipped the sheets off the screens onto cardboard to dry and left them in the studio. It will probably take a couple of days before they are completely dry.

Regardless of all the problems and obstacles it was interesting to try the paper making process and I would like to try it again sometime. I wouldn’t probably use newspaper for pulp because i think the grey color doesn’t really look nice. I have been researching paper making and I know that there are so many different things that you can do with paper making and so many different materials to use. It would be interesting to try some of those other options too.

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