I allowed the paper to dry completely while still on the sheets of interfacing.
Since the paper curled so dramatically, I sprayed them lightly with water and ironed them. Overall, I’m very pleased with the results. The color is almost white, with a very pale tint of pink and flecks of lime green and hot pink.
After the paper had been pressed for about 36 hours, I removed the stack of books and lifted off the top board. I wasn’t able to find information about how long the paper should be pressed, so 36 hours is not an official rule or guideline.
I carefully began peeling away the interfacing sheets and clipped them to wire hangers for drying. You can see that the paper is thicker in the center due to the sagging of the netting that I used to make the mold. I definitely recommend using wire mesh rather than fabric tulle for that reason.
I’ll post a photo of the dry paper tomorrow.
In day 2 of the paper making process, I learned a few things. The tulle (fabric netting material) I used to make the mold was stretchy, and it sagged every time I made a sheet of paper. The sagging may cause the paper to be thicker in the center, because more pulp will tend to concentrate there as the water is draining. I recommend metal mesh for making the mold rather than the tulle. I plan to look for suitable metal mesh, and I’ll share what I find when I make the video.
After soaking the paper overnight, I filled the electric blender half way with water and added just a few pieces of the paper. I found it helps to break up any long strips of paper (if you used a paper shredder) into smaller pieces. The long strips were getting caught in the blades. You don’t want to strain the blender’s motor. (Yesterday, Susan commented that she found an old blender for $5 at a thrift shop – you don’t want to use a blender for food after this!)
The pulp is ready when there are no large pieces of paper remaining. However, over-blending should be avoided, because if the pulp is too fine, the paper will be weaker due to the shorter fibers.
I continued to add more paper in small amounts until the pulp was about the consistency of a thick milkshake. I poured the pulp into the bin and repeated the process until all of the soaked paper had been turned into pulp. I spent more than an hour just blending batches of pulp!
At this point, the pulp is too thick for paper making, so I removed a large amount of the pulp before I added more water to the bin to thin the pulp out. By keeping a lot of the pulp separate, it allowed me to replenish the pulp occasionally during the paper making process. What happens is that each time you form a sheet of paper, some pulp is removed from the bin, making the pulp mixture thinner. The thinner the mixture, the thinner the sheets of paper will be. If you want thick paper, use thick pulp.
To form the paper, the mold (the piece containing the mesh) goes underneath the deckle, with the mesh facing up. Line up both frames perfectly with each other. Agitate the pulp mixture, and dunk the mold and deckle into the pulp (starting out vertically, because you want to scoop the pulp into the deckle). Lift up the mold and deckle and let the water drain back into the bin. Try to hold it parallel to the floor so that the pulp settles evenly on the mesh. If it’s at an angle, the paper might end up thicker on one side.
Once the water has drained, carefully lift the deckle off the mold. If the mesh is very fine, you may be able to turn the mold over and place the pulp face down on the interfacing sheet on the plywood board. This is the method I used. The mesh sagged quite a bit, but the pulp stayed in place. I used a sponge and pressed the back side of the mesh to remove the excess water. I was amazed at how much water came out of the pulp. Once I had sponged the entire surface, I was able to remove the mold. If the pulp is too wet, it has a tendency to stick to the mold.
On a piece of plywood (covered in plastic), I stacked one sheet of paper on top of another with a sheet of interfacing between each one. I was able to form 14 sheets of paper with the pulp made from about 20 sheets of paper. You always get a little less paper out than what you put into it.
When I was finished stacking the sheets, I covered it with another piece of plywood (covered in plastic to keep the plywood dry). I stacked heavy books on top to create a makeshift paper press.
I strained the remaining pulp and squeezed out as much water as possible to dry it and save the pulp for the next time.
The entire process for Day 2 took about 4 to 5 hours.
A few months ago, I had mentioned the idea of creating a video showing how to make paper. Making paper is a great opportunity to up-cycle small pieces of waste paper or scrapbooking paper that would normally be thrown out. I think it’s my most ambitious Youtube project yet, and it could require a few videos to go through the whole process. It’s been many years since the last time I made paper, so I’m relearning the process. I’ll post photos each day of my progress.
This is a photo of the first step. I tore up scrapbooking paper scraps and some used inkjet paper into small pieces. You can run sheets of paper through a paper shredder – this really speeds up the process.
I soaked the shredded paper overnight in a pan of cold water. This softens the paper for blending in an electric blender. I bought one at Walmart for $15. I don’t recommend using the blender for food after using it to blend paper pulp.
I made a mold and deckle from two document frames from a dollar store. The frames must be very flat, because they need to fit together tightly when forming the paper. Plus, they need to be solid, not hollow sheets of molded plastic – so look carefully at the construction to be sure they will be suitable for a mold and deckle.
To make the mold, I stretched a piece of nylon tulle onto one of the frames and hot glued it on the sides. The frame for the deckle is left “as is”.
When the video is complete, it will be uploaded to my Youtube channel, probably in a few weeks. It’s an ambitious project, so it will take some time to complete the video editing and voiceover. I’ll be sure to place a link on the blog once it’s uploaded to Youtube.
I was working on the 150 subscriber giveaway project, and I ran into a little setback. This incident inspired me to create this Mouse-Zilla character.
I planned an experiment with the Cheerios box panel I had painted yesterday. I tried to run that panel through my inkjet printer, but it turned out to be too thick, and my printer wouldn’t accept it. I thought I would have to abandon the concept, but then I thought of an idea. I decided to peel off a layer from the back of the cardboard to make it thinner. This actually worked, but it still almost jammed in the printer, and for a moment I thought it make break my inkjet printer! But it didn’t. It worked itself out. So it looks like I’m going to have to scrap the video I had planned for this weekend, because I don’t want to suggest a technique that could break people’s inkjet printers.
Anyway, after I printed the image, I trimmed the print to the size of the box canvas and used Elmer’s glue to glue it on.
I pressed it firmly and taped the edges to hold the panel in place. Then, I weighted it down with some paint bottles to be certain it will glue together nicely.
Tomorrow I will continue, once the glue has had the chance to dry.
I find the pursuit of dreams more interesting and entertaining than the actual attainment of them.
For example, over three years ago I started writing a novel for kids ages 9 to 12. It took me about three years to complete a finished draft. After showing it to a few editors, they all agreed the idea is original, but I need to keep working on it to make it marketable for retail booksellers. After three years of work, I decided to put that project aside for a while. Gradually, I’m thinking about returning to it. I might take it in a new direction. I’m getting ideas again. That project is more about the pursuit of a dream than it is about attaining a goal. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing that book, and part of me wants to keep it to myself, because finding a publisher would mean allowing someone else to have a great deal of creative power. That’s a difficult thing for me to do with a project that I’ve poured so much of myself into over such a long period of time.
Now, for the progress on the 150 subscribers giveaway project. I mixed chocolate brown with white acrylic to make a light tan and covered the whole Cheerios box panel. Then I mixed colors with white and brown to soften them – blue, brown, raw sienna, green and iridescent gold. I applied the colors with a trowel. I had to be careful not to scrape the surface, because I found the paint will easily scrape off the Cheerios box cover. Then, I troweled on some pure irridescent gold as an accent on top. I also brushed the iridescent gold onto the side of the Wheat Thins box. I stopped here today, because I need all of this paint to dry before I continue.
This is the final day of this box art series. I struggled today trying to decide whether the piece is finished, or if I should continue. How do you decide whether you’re being impatient or if the art is done and it’s time to move on? Maybe it has to do with whatever territory is being explored, and if it has been explored enough. This piece has served its purpose of opening up a new avenue – the idea of working on a project a little every day as a kind of meditation. I believe it’s time for me to move on to a new project for this blog. Here’s what I’ve done to put a period on this piece.
I smeared a little more color on the front.
I just started writing on the back with whatever was in in mind at the moment – almost like an exercise in stream of consciousness writing. I realized my handwriting seemed very mundane, so I started experimenting with the way I was writing the letters.
and finally, on the top, I wrote “be true BE TRUE.”
Now it’s time to move on. I have no idea what I’ll start tomorrow. It could be a longer term project. Maybe something more involved with more detail, more planning. It’s up in the air. Tomorrow will provide an answer.
Today I added hot glue to my box art, traced the hand, and added some dimensional swirl and stripe designs in hot glue.
I painted the hand black and dry brushed with bright copper iridescent acrylic paint.
I used a trowel like a palette knife to add more layers of color around the box.
That’s all I had time for today, but I will continue work on this tomorrow.
This is day two of my Box Art series. Today I decided to paint each side of the box a different color.
I’m painting in acrylic, and I like to layer colors, so this is just a ground coat.
I intend to keep working on this until it transforms into something more than what it appears now, but for now, the bright colors are inspiring me.
What this piece will become by the time it’s finished, I have no idea yet.