Friday, June 4, 2010

Making Paper Part 1

Fiber Junkies met yesterday at my house and as always, it was a whirlwind day, full of things to learn and share. We start early so to fit it all in. First off - kitchen check - all goodies in place for a morning snack.
And a little something for the afternoon.
Lots and lots of unpacking to do and we are ready to go.

Today we are making paper under the guidance and talent of Nancy Bruce. We started with a water soluble non-woven interfacing material called Rinse Away. I think it only comes in the one weight, but you want it as heavy as possible. It's sold in a fabric store - the section that houses stabilizers and interfacings.  It's around $2.20 a yard and 18" wide.
Next the stabilizer was cut into very tiny pieces, easiest to do this with a rotary cutter. The smaller the piece, the easier for it to turn to pulp which you want.
Place the shredded paper into a jar with a tight fitting cover.
Add water, no set amount but enough to cover paper and then some; shake it to mix it. This can stand indefinitely. I made my "slush" the week before,  Nancy said you can keep adding to it.
Nancy showed us 3 different ways to make paper, one of which I'll cover today because of time. The first method, doesn't involve the pulp, so put that aside. It gets better as it sits. For the first method, you'll need a plastic template of some sort. Below is a plastic doily which has an interesting design and stiff enough to support paper.
Another thing I loved is the grate below. It's a brush cleaner and can be purchased at Home Depot in paint department for only 98 cents. It's a hard plastic and makes a wonderful pattern.
Here are some of the finished papers that Nancy did. They still need painting, but the embossed designs on them are really good.

And here they are painted.

And a great resource book...

To start, you have your paper, a template, some water for spritzing and a "stencil" type brush for working the paper into the template. Work on a tray with a lip as it can get messy. Cut a piece of the Rinse Away the size of the template, lay on top and spritz with water. The paper will soften right away;  gently pull away edges to make a softer "non-cut" edge around the outside.
Next, take your stencil brush and gently work the paper down into the template design. Make sure to cover the whole design; keep it gentle as it breaks apart easily. It's more like a pressing down in one spot rather than moving around with the brush.
Use a paper towel to blot up excess water, you'll do this several times; hang the paper towel out to dry to re-use.
If it's still wet, go back over it with a sponge to absorb excess water. Nancy uses the very thin sponges
such as the one below.
When most of the water is removed, place outside to dry.
Stay tuned for more ideas and 2 more methods for doing this, paints to use. I might add, that you can control the thickness of this so if it's thicker, it can be stitched on and/or used in collage. 

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