Tips & tricks for handmade recycled paper.
· always gather the good quality papers to recycle. By all means experiment with junk mail/ newspaper etc. but be aware that the better quality you begin with the stronger & better the results.
· tear then soak your gathered paper overnight. Be vigilant about foreign bodies like staples, cello tape & plastic windows. Your pulp will be useless if they go through the blender
· your couching cloths should be damp, never wet. Wool blankets & felt are best but cotton sheeting will do if you keep your stack small. They must be completely dry before storing them for any length of time
· blend soaked paper, experiment here – over-blending will produce weak sheets / under-blending will produce lumpy sheets – blend soaked paper using lots of water so as not to over-work the blender’s motor.
· pour an amount of pulp into a vat of water large enough to allow free movement of your deckle & mould. Pulp to water ratio will determine the thickness of your sheets
· scooping your deckle & mould & couching your sheets requires practice – stay calm, don’t give up – before long you’ll be in the swing of things
· pressing your paper stack is important & ideally done from the middle out. G-clamps / book binder press, flower press that will hold up to water saturation are all okay to use. A pressed paper stack should be reduced by about a third of its original height.
· how your sheets are dried will determine the texture of your sheets – rolled onto glass, a smooth finish will result – left to dry on couching cloth the paper sheet will take on the texture of the cloth.
· use PVA / craft glue when working with your handmade paper – they’re quick drying & won’t buckle the paper.
· to retain the look of your deckle edge always fold then tear your paper
· always ensure your deckle & mould is rinsed clean, stored flat, & out of direct sunlight. A buckled deckle & mould will be useless