In this post I will;
-Teach you how to make paper with step-by-step instructions!
Here we go!
Before you begin, you will need to prepare the surface where you will transfer your paper sheets. Take your wood board and place it on a flat surface near your tub. Place two or three blankets on top of the board to make a cushiony surface, then place a pressing cloth (bed sheet) on top of those. Line up all edges and smooth out any wrinkles. Your board, blankets, and pressing cloth should all be the same size.
Fill a large tub with water. Their should be enough water to comfortably submerge the mold and deckle. Note the amount of water that you use by measuring the water level with your ruler. The water to pulp ratio that you use will effect the thickness and quality of the paper. This you will have to experiment with to get the paper thickness that you want.
Add the pulp, making note of how much you use.
Gently mix the pulp in the water so that pulp is evenly distributed in water and not accumulated on the bottom of tub.
Hold the deckle firmly to the mold with both hands at a 90 degree angle to the water. Make sure that your thumbs are placed on the deckle and do not overlap onto the screen.
Bring the mold and deckle into the water at a 90 degree angle and in one smooth motion, swivel the mold and deckle so that they are parallel to tubs' bottom and completely submerged, then raise the mold and deckle out of the water, keeping them perfectly horizontal.
If you bring the mold and deckle out of the water and they are not parallel to the water your paper will be uneven. Also, the mold will create a little bit of suction right as you are bringing it out of the water, causing some resistance. Don't hesitate when this happens, just bring the mold and deckle straight up.
Hold the mold and deckle over the tub in the horizontal position while the pulp settles on the screen and most of the water drips out the bottom.
Set down the mold and deckle on a flat surface and carefully remove the deckle. Try not to let water drip onto your newly formed paper as this will leave irregular spots in the paper.
Hold the mold at a 90 degree angle to your pressing cloth and carefully roll the mold onto the cloth until it is resting face down on the bed sheet (this is called "couching").
Press on the back of the molds' screen firmly and evenly, making sure to make contact with the entire surface including corners. This will help the paper stick to the cloth and separate from the screen. The paper will still have LOTS of water in it which will seep out and get everything wet, this is normal.
Slowly and carefully roll off the mold, leaving the new paper on the cloth. If only some of the paper stayed on the cloth and the rest is still on the screen, don't fret! This pulp can be put back into the tub to be re-used. Couching paper is tricky and will take a few tries to get the hang of.
Before pulling your next sheet of paper, you will need to add more pulp. I add about 1-2 cups of pulp after each sheet, but it will depend on the size of your cup and how thick you want your sheets.
Check screen to see if there is any paper pulp stuck in it. I usually throughly rinse my screen after every second sheet that I pull.
Repeat steps 3-10 until you have 2 sheets of paper on your pressing cloth.
Place a new pressing cloth (bed sheet) on top of your two new paper sheets and carefully smooth out wrinkles in the pressing cloth. Then place a blanket on top of that, and another pressing cloth on top of the blanket. Always make sure that the blankets and pressing cloths are lined up along the edges and free of wrinkles.
Repeat steps 3-14 until you have as many sheets of paper you want, or have run out of pulp, or have run out of pressing cloths and blankets. I have enough pressing cloths to make 24 sheets of paper at one time. This usually takes about 1 and a half to two hours or so which is a good amount of time for me. Keep in mind that there is a lot of bending over involved so if you are prone to back pain you will want to make less amounts of paper at a time. Take frequent breaks to stretch.
Now you know how to form sheets of paper! There's just one more installment to this tutorial where I will tell you how to dry your paper.