At last, the moment you've all been waiting for, the last installment of my paper making tutorial!
In this post I will;
-teach you how to dry your paper
Once you've made all the paper you want for the day you will have a big stack of blankets, pressing cloths (bed sheets), and your newly formed paper, all of which will be soaking wet. Now you will use the board that all of this is stacked on to carry everything to where you want to dry your paper. Careful, it will be quite heavy and water will get all over you.
Like I mentioned in part 2 of this tutorial, you will need a very flat, smooth, and clean surface to dry your paper. You will also need a lot of space. I use my very smooth concrete floors. If you don't have floors like these, you could buy very large, thin boards from your carpenter and lacquer them well, but this will add quite a bit of extra cost to your venture.
Once you are in the space where you want to dry your paper, you will start deconstructing your stack of blankets and pressing cloths. Take each blanket and lay it flat on the floor to dry. Alternatively you could use a clothes line to dry your blankets, but since they will be very wet and heavy this isn't as good of an option. You don't want the clothes line to leave a crease in your blankets (this will effect future paper that you make) and you don't want to hang them by the very edge because these blankets fray very easily. So laying them flat is best.
Two sheets of newly formed paper will be sandwiched between two pressing cloths. Carefully lift the pressing cloths and lie them flat on the floor to dry. Make sure your paper is completely smooth. Smooth out the edges of the pressing cloths, trying to make them "stick" to the floor with there own moisture. This will help the paper dry flat.
That's it! your paper should be dry in 24-48 hours, depending on humidity. Your paper may still have buckled slightly while drying. You can remedy this by using an iron on them or just stacking them up, placing your board on top and weighting it down until you are ready to use the paper. Check out my post A Paper Making Tale... from earlier this month to read about the meandering journey me and the cooperative have gone through to get to the point we are now with this project and includes photos of what the women have made with the paper. Below is a painted and embroidered piece that I created for the Art4Peace show at Cafe Clock in Fes in December 2009. For the show, volunteers created and donated artwork. The proceeds later went to help fund the Marche Maroc Craft fair in Rabat this past May.
I hope that this tutorial has been helpful for you. If you use this tutorial I'd love to hear what your experience was so leave me a comment!