Welcome - Here's how to make paper from plants and recycled paper


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How to Pull sheets of Paper
with recycled paper pulp

bucket o' pulp ready for handmade paperMaking paper from used office paper starts with shredding the paper, then soaking it overnight. Next comes the blendering or mixing - depending on the texture desired. If the paper is blended, the result is a smoother paper. If just mixed with paint mixer on a drill, you get a more textured paper where you can see bits of what you've recycled, which can add an interesting touch. It's amazing to see single letter, in perfect condition, survive the soaking and mixing processes.

couching a sheet of handmade paper onto a post of sheets and feltsNow it's time to pull sheets of paper! Start by filling your vat with the desired amount of water and add handfulls of the hydrated fiber. There is no set formula here, just what feels right to you. The vat is stirred until the pulp swirls - like a thundercloud rolling over the plains - and mixes into the water. If inclusions are to be in the sheets, you add them now as you pull.

Sheet formation is accomplished with a mold and deckle - two rectangular frames, one with a screen, and held together one atop the other. In one continuous motion, the pair are dipped perpendicularly into the vat, then turned horizontally and pulled up toward you in one motion. The excess pulp is slooshed over the sides as the screen is rocked back and forth, forwards and backwards, with increasing gentleness.

Once the right amount of pulp is floating evenly across the screen, it is held still until it stops dripping. Then the deckle is removed and the newly formed sheet is couched onto the felt, ready to be pressed. I prefer to keep my felts handy and totally immersed in water so they are dripping wet when I put them on the post of paper. Seems to help the paper release from the screen. Watch the video below to see the whole process!


I have a 12 ton hydraulic press built into a frame which works quite well for pressing posts up to 50 felts thick. The post is left to drip a while - overnight to 24 hours is best, then placed on this hot-box dryer for a smooth finish on one side (hot-press) or placed on newsprint and cardboard in a drying box with a fan for 24 hours(cold-press) till dry.

drying box for handmade paperThe hot drying box is a very simply constructed wooden frame with aluminum sheets on each side. The heat is provided by light bulbs placed inside the frame in a configuration to create as even a heat blanket as possible. Click on the images and a larger version will open in a new window.


Both the plant fiber pulp and the recycled paper pulp can be dyed along the way, or combined, anything your imagination can come up with! Pretty soon, you're walking around looking at just about everything around you and wondering... how would that look in paper?

Thank you so much for taking the time to find out how to make handmade paper from plant fiber and recycled paper. Please browse the site, you might find something you like. If you have any questions e-mail us at paper@mlcltd.com

Martha J.
Grand Junction, CO

Eron K.
Blachly, OR


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