In this post I will:
-Tell you what conditions are necessary for making paper
-List supplies needed for making paper
-Suggest raw materials suitable for making paper which are easily found in Morocco
Time and Infrastructure
Depending on where you live, making paper year round may not be possible or at least, practical. Where I am living now, winters are very cold and we have a lot of rain. This is not conducive to paper making for two reasons. First, submerging your hands into cold water repeatedly for long periods of time is very painful and second, the paper will take much much longer to dry when there is a lot of moisture in the air. So please take this into consideration when you are planing out your project.
You will also need access to a lot of water. This will be more difficult for volunteers who do not have constant access to water like in places where you must carry water long distances or if water is available only at certain times of the day. It is best if the location where you are working is close to a water source. Also keep in mind that where you are working will become quite wet on the ground/floor, so you'll want to either work outside or in a place that can be easily moped/squeegeed. In my case I've been using my roof for now but plan to move the operation to the cooperatives' workspace so that the project will be sustainable.
Finally, you will need a large, flat, clean, and very smooth surface for drying the paper. For now I've been using an empty room in our ridiculously large house. The floors are very smooth, finished concrete with no creases. Fortunately, the workspace in the cooperative has the same flooring and an untraveled area in the corner.
-mold and deckle (see my last post on how to construct these)
-One board measuring 62cm x 40cm x 1.5cm This you can have made from a local carpenter. It will need at least three coats of lacquer to protect it from warping.
-Blankets cut to 62cm x 40cm. One gray blanket yielded me 18 cut blankets
-Bed sheets cut to 62cm x 40cm. Two full size bed sheets yielded me 16 cut sheets
-One large wash tub big enough for mold and deckle to lie flat inside. Mine measures 61cm at the top, but buy this after making the mold and deckle to makes sure that yours fits.
-Several buckets to store paper pulp
-Blender. You may want to buy a blender just for paper making, as the paper will dull the blades. Make sure that it is of good quality however, as a cheep blender will break quickly and therefore will not save you money in the long run.
-small plastic cup or scoop
-Raw materials for making paper pulp
The following are items that I have found make very nice, cardstock-like paper and can be found easily here in Morocco.
-toilet paper rolls
-Laughing Cow cheese boxes
-other cardboard packaging items
The egg cartons and cheese boxes can be acquired from any hanute for free. I've read that used photocopy paper can also be used, but have not personally tried it, as I do not have a lot of it lying around.
The following are items NOT to use when making paper
-magazines or anything glossy
That's all for today folks! The paper making tutorial will continue soon!