How hand made paper is made

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A guide to answer all your questions about MULBERRY PAPER, MULBERRY TISSUE, COTTON PAPER, SILK PAPER, PETAL PAPERS, BANANA PAPERS and HOW THEY ARE MADE.

HOW IS HANDMADE PAPER MADE?

MULBERRY PAPER

    

Mulberry paper is made from the Mulberry tree which grows in abundance in Thailand .  Silk worms are also fed on the leaves to make silk.  Old spent trees have the bark stripped and the inner bark is pulped before skilled artisans make the paper on a bamboo deckle.  it is at this stage that the paper is coloured or flowers and leaves added.  Only the most skilled make the flowery Thammachat paper as the patterns have to be consistently reproduced.

                 

THE BARK IS HAND STRIPPED FROM REDUNDANT BRANCHES AND PRUNINGS - THE TREE IS NOT CUT DOWN!             

THEN HUNG UP TO DRY...BEFORE BEING SHREDDED...THEN PULPED IN HIGH-TECH EQUIPMENT!!

        

AFTER HOURS THE WATER IS SQUEEZED OUT AND IT IS THEN WEIGHED OUT INTO BALLS - THIS IS HOW THEY GET A CONSISTENT WEIGHT/ GSM RATING

                   

EXPERIENCED HANDS THEN CREATE THE PAPER.  EACH BALL OF PULP IS RE-SOAKED AND SCOOPED UP ON THE BAMBOO DECKLE TO CREATE AN EVEN SHEET.  FLOWERS AND OTHER ADDITIONS CAN BE ADDED AT THIS STAGE, BUT ONLY THE MOST SKILLED ARTISANS ARE ALLOWED TO DO THIS

THEN IT IS SUN-DRIED - THE PAPER IS ON THE UNDERSIDE OF THE DECKLE TO KEEP COLOURS AND FLOWERS FRESH.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is the paper acid and lignin-free?
All papers are specially formulated to be neutral ph level 7, which is commonly referred to as 'acid-free'. Mulberry papers contain only about 3% lignin. Because of its low lignin content, mulberry is ideal for scrapbooking and mounting photos etc..

What's the difference between smooth and rough paper?
All milled papers are smooth and flat with only a slight texture. Handmade papers can be made either smooth or rough. When handmade paper is formed on the mould it has random ridges running throughout the exposed side. These give the paper a heavy texture. To obtain smooth handmade paper these ridges are flattened out using a simple handheld tool. The result has more texture than milled papers, but is much smoother than naturally formed rough paper.

MULBERRY TISSUE PAPER

The mulberry tissue paper is very fine but you can still see the individual strands of mulberry fibre which makes the paper so attractive to use as additional detail or as a backing paper for embellishments.  This paper is made in the same way but is then calendared by machine to get the extra fine sheets of consistent size and quality.  Acid/lignin free.

HANDMADE COTTON PAPER

The raw material used in handmade cotton papers is mainly cotton (which mother nature gives us), but many other natural inclusions can be added to make wonderful variations in handmade papers. Handmade papers are also chlorine free so; photographs remain live in photo albums made of cotton papers.  All the cotton papers are also acid/lignin free so create with confidence.

The Process  

The process of making cotton paper is very similar to the mulberry but involves using fine cotton pieces, or un-spun cotton that is washed and dipped into water for many hours. The cotton and water are then ground to convert it in to pulp. With the aid of "Cotton Cloth" this pulp is then spread evenly in to the shape of paper and hung to dry. Once the pulp is dried, it is then calendared to ensure that the surface is smooth. 

      

Once dried many patterns can be applied by hand screen printing in the desired colours.  Colour can also be applied directly by hand as in my crinkle cotton paper - the colour is applied both sides in this case.  The dew drop papers undergo a further process in which a mix of adhesive and gold/silver pigment is applied to give the distinctive raised star pattern we love.  Other glitter patterns are also achieved in this way.

The petal papers have the petals included at the paper making stage so are actually embedded in the paper.

 

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