Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Make Your Own Maple Leaf Paper


  • Stainless steel stock pot
  • Soda ash
  • Stir stick
  • Digital scale
  • Papermaking mold and deckle
  • Large basin
  • Cloths

Step 1:
Grap a bag. Go outside. Collect some leaves! A grocery bag full will yield about 5 thin sheets of paper.

Step 2:
Weigh leaves to determine the amount of soda ash needed. The amount of soda ash you need is 20% of the leaves' weight.

Step 3:
Calculate the amount of soda ash you will need.

Step 4:
Fill pot with water (enough so it won't overflow when you add leaves), and add soda ash to water. Bring to boil.

Step 5:
Add leaves. Poke the leaves into soda ash solution with the stir stick. Let leaves simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Open windows for ventilation.

Step 6:
After an hour of simmering, the water will be dark and thick. Drain and rinse. Rinse until water runs clear.

Step 7:
Put something good on TV. Start beating the leaves into pulp. It needs to be beaten to separate individual fibers. I've spent about an 1 hour beating. To test if pulp is ready, pinch off a bit of pulp and put it in a jar filled with water. Shake the jar. If fibers are not "clumping", your pulp is now ready for papermaking!

Step 8:
Set up your "drying area" by stacking up a pile of clothes. This is where you'll be removing excess water from your paper later.

Step 9:
Fill basin with water and add pulp. Agitate the water to spread the pulp evenly. Dip mold and deckle into vat, and slowly lift up. Let excess water drain.

Step 10:
Remove the deckle, bring the mold over to your "drying area", and flip it (paper side) to the cloths. Using cloths, sponge off excess water.

Step 11:
Gently lift the mold.

Step 12:
Take your paper (along with the first layer of cloth) to an area to dry.

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