Adina Levin, co-founder of Collab, an ambitious new project aimed at re-localizing the economy by enabling artists, artisans and inventors to collaborate in the same space with a variety of efficient green machine tools. It's based in Manhattan. In her spare time, Adina is a crafter extraordinaire, and The Daily Green recently asked her to show us how to make beautiful handmade paper -- a great gift -- from the trash in your paper recycling bin.
The instructions are straightforward, the video shows you how... Just add your own trash and some creativity, and you're homemade papermaking days have begun.
Frame (or old window screen)
Screen (silk screen fabric, old stockings or window screen)
Duct tape or staple gun
Plastic bin or cookie sheet (larger than the screen and deep enough to hold enough water to cover screen with water)
Blender (food processor or a handheld blender)
Paper (junk mail, bills, old catalogs, memos from the boss, magazines etc...)
Old rags or a very absorbent towel
Draining board (or something to lay wet screen on)
Use the frame to make your mold. Take the screen fabric and stretch it over the frame.
Staple or adhere the screen fabric so that it becomes the bottom of your mold. It is important to make sure that the screen is stretched tightly and that no water can escape through the edges of the screen.
After your first side is tacked down make sure your next area to tack will be the opposite side.
Once your screen is made set it aside. You can continue to use this mold and change out the fabric as often as you like.
Different textures will create various effects. It is fun to experiment with different kinds of materials to use as your mold.
Gather your junk mail, or whatever material you would like to use for your pulp.
You can mix different kinds of paper and experiment to produce different colors, textures and styles.
Fill the container you are using as your tub with water. Make sure that you use enough water to submerge your screen.
If you do not have a plastic container you can also use duct tape to cover your drain in the kitchen.
Rip up your paper into smaller sheets, use your judgment based on the kind of equipment you are blending with. If you have a hand blender you can blend your paper into pulp right inside the plastic container.
If you are using a blender or food processor throw your ripped sheets of junk mail or whatever you are recycling in the blender and fill it with water.
Blend. You can experiment with different consistencies of the pulp by using different speeds on the blender.
You can add color to your pulp in this step, or wait until later. Depending on what you are using as the base for your pulp you may find that your pulp turns a color because of the ink used on the substrate you are blending.
Once you are satisfied with your pulp mixture place the screen in the water and pour the mixture on top of the screen to catch the pulp.
Move your fingers around a bit on top of the screen so that the pulp covers the middle of the screen in a paper-like shape, without a lot of holes.
Once you are satisfied with the placement of the pulp lift up the mold from the water and hold it still as the water drains from the screen.
Once the draining slows, place the screen on your draining area and gently use a sponge or towel to pick up any excess water. You can squeeze excess water back into the pulp mixture, or add more pulp to fill holes.
Place your absorbent towel or over the wet paper pulp and press it down so that it creates a bond with the sheet you are making. Use your judgment as to when the sheet is ready to lift of the screen.
Turn your screen over and scratch the opposite side of the screen so that the paper begins to separate from the screen and falls off on the transfer fabric you are using
Take your sheet and dry it in the sun or leave it by a window. You can hang dry it or set it flat to dry.
Depending on the thickness of the sheet drying times will vary.
You can add different elements of color and texture to your paper at any time during papermaking process.
Use all of your pulp and if you have left over scraps recycle them for your next project ...
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