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The term for paper comes from the Greek, who based it on the Egyptian writing media called papyrus. As early as 3000 BCE Egyptians made papyrus and sold it via merchants traveling to Greece and Rome. The renown Library at Alexandria housed literally thousands of pieces of papyrus, recording bits of history, stories and arts.

Having said that, papyrus gave way to something resembling modern paper when the Chinese developed the art of making paper from wood pulp (105 CE based on the earliest known sample). Nearly as soon as it appeared, paper was put to use for far more than just writing. It was used to transport delicate items like delicate herbals or very expensive polished mirrors as these items traveled on rugged trade routes. We can also thank the Ancient Chinese for inventing toilet paper in 589 CE. On the other side of the ocean the Mayans also discovered a way to make paper around the same period as toilet paper.

The true renaissance of paper took place in the 19th century when it became industrialized. Inexpensive wood-pulp paper resulted in it quickly becoming a household staple. Now, home crafters won”t be making anything quite so refined. Rather, you‚ll be making a rustic paper that’s got character and reflects your personality, as well as its intended purpose.

To begin you need some old wire coat hangers. Take these apart and make several frames in the size and shape you want your paper to be when finished. An alternative is buying an embroidery hoop in the desired size. Stretch an old stocking over the frame, or if you have it you can use cheesecloth. Additionally you‚ll want to gather all types of scrap paper ‚ I like tissue paper and paper towels for their textural quality but any type of paper will work.

You‚ll also need a large bucket (one larger than your frame). Note: you do not want to make paper in a sink or tub. It will clog the pipes. Other tools include a dishtowel for blotting excess water, blender, glue, sponge, rolling pin and iron.

Step one is filling a blender with two cups warm water, ‚½ cup of glue, and the rest with bits of paper. Blend this completely until the paper is very fine. At this juncture you can add a bit of glitter, tiny pieces of ribbon, etc. to make for a flashier finished piece. Pour this slurry into the tub or bucket pre-prepared with one blenderful of warm water. Now, take the frame and immerse it, slowly moving it up through the water.

Catch an even coating of paper on the screen. When it’s covered, remove it remove it from the water and put it on a cookie cooling tray to drip (preferably onto layers of newspaper so no glue gets on kitchen surfaces). Using your fingers, gently press on the paper to release excess water.

When the sheet stops dripping carefully flip it onto dry towels or newspaper. Lift the frame off carefully. Put another cloth or newspaper on the other side, then using a rolling pin, press out more water. Move slowly you don”t want to separate the pieces. Now move the piece onto waxed paper where it can dry completely. I‚ve tried using the cloth or newspaper but all too often it sticks. When it’s close to dry, iron the sheet gently (I put a dishtowel between the medium-heat iron and the paper) to create a smooth surface.

Once you‚re done, you can now use the paper for special notes, unique decoupage projects, and gift giving.

You can purchase some world class paper making supplies at Arnold Grummers Crafting Supplies


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