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Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Lesson 2 of 22

How to Make Your Own Paper - Part 2

Robert Mahar

Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

2. How to Make Your Own Paper - Part 2

Lesson Info

How to Make Your Own Paper - Part 2

Now the way that I think we're going to do this in studio today is I'm going to go ahead and do the first round of paper making, so I know you've gotten to this step with me, but we're just going to allow your blenders to sit for the time being, I'm going to go ahead, mix up my pulp do the first couple of screenings were going to clean those out, and then we're all going to come back together and we're going to start playing with some additives, but I want you just to be able to observe how it comes together the first time through, so we're going to place the lid on this is an important step. I had a little sitcom moment in my kitchen not long ago where it just really wasn't on their tight and I spent the afternoon cleaning paper pulp off of my kitchen cabinets, so which is going to turn it on? Excuse the noise, you can see it only takes a few seconds, and what you're going for really is a consistency take the sauce, you can see it's a consistency that looks a little bit like ah, water...

y oatmeal honestly, you don't want a lot of large chunks in there, you can kind of, you know see it on my fingers there it's it's pretty much almost instantaneously pulverized, so once we have done that, and we've got our basis of our pulp, this is a time when you can add in coloration or additives. Now, for this first batch, I'm just taking some scraps of solid color wrapping paper, and I think for this I'm going to take a couple different shades of pink, all of you at your work stations have a variety of colors that you'll be able to choose from, um, when we get to that step, and I'm just going to tear them up in a rough fashion similar to how we did with our white text wait paper, and this is all the paper making is all really a process of experimentation, which is really the fun part in my mind, seeing what you put in ah, and how it turns out in a final sheet of paper, so you can see I just torn up this couple of pieces, I'm throwing them back into the top of my blender, I'm going to replace the lid, and this time I'm just going to blend it for a few seconds, because with this, I want it to be pulverized, but I want to see some flecks of these great colors in my final sheet of paper, so let's do that a little noisy again, ok? And you can kind of see just those few seconds have colored my pulp so that it almost looks like a strawberry milkshake and there are some still some visible flex, especially of some of the darker pink paper in there so it is going to pull my water bath over here and at this stage you're simply going to jump all of this mess down into your water bath and these we have filled roughly between halfway and two thirds full I'm going to run my fingers through just to see if there's any really large perhaps unmanageable pieces you can kind of see that I found a couple that just didn't quite get it um blended down enough so I'm just going to set those aside um because we want what we want there to be flex in there we don't want it to be so chunky that it kind of it affects the structural integrity of the sheet once we've pulled it so what's gonna happen here, let me pull out my paper towels were going to be going through a fair amount of paper towels today, but I have to tell you, um you can recycle these right back into your paper pulp, which is kind of a nice way tio recycle some of your crafting materials now, um you want to make sure that your screen is on the bottom with the screen side face up and you're going to be taking your dekel and you're going to be paced, placing that face down on top of your screens, that those two pieces are flushed together now, with a small paper making screen this size. It's really quite easy just to hold those two stationary and dip it down into the pulp. Once you start working with some of the larger frames you might want to consider, maybe using rubber bands toe hold the two together. So that there's, not a lot of shifting that goes on during the process of pulling the pulp out. Andrea lee. Again, this is just to kind of help maintain thiss the thie outer perimeter in the shape of the paper. So we're going to do this. I'm going to actually get in serious. Now. I'm goingto take off my my card again here and roll up my sleeves, since we're gonna be dealing with some water. Um and out of this pulp mixture with the quantities that we used today, you typically can get at least four to five good sheets. You can continue beyond that and sort of like tip the base and a bit tio continue to get that pulp up onto the screen, but you will notice that the sheets of paper will continuously get a little bit thinner as you go along. Just obviously, because you're depleting the amount of pulp in your water bath. So all right, now that we're set to go, so I'm just going to kind of agitate the water a little bit with my fingers, they're gonna take my frame and just kind of slip, sit down underneath, let the pulp settle for just a second and slowly pull it up. You can see we've captured a lot again. Some of these chunky pieces I'm going toe set aside, and that really is just an indicator to me that, you know, I probably should have let it go sit in the blender for a few extra seconds just to kind of really, you know, chew up those bits of paper, and that probably could have been accomplished by just taking off the lid and maybe with the blender off, obviously swirling around the top layer just to see if there was any of those large pieces. So once we do this, we're going to move it over and you all have large trays at your table. I'm going to be working with this this wooden tray for a moment and replacing here and when you lift the dekel off, you can kind of see it's a lovely rectangular shape. You go ahead and set your deck elice side, and then everyone has a second piece of screening at their table, and what we're going to be doing with this is simply laying it over the top of our paper pope, and we're going to be taking a standard kitchen sponge and just very gently pressing down on to the top. Now, you don't wanna press hard because you don't want to warp the screen on the top of your paper making frame. You really just want to start to absorb some of that excess water from the paper. You do this a couple of times, and as you do this, then obviously you can kind of squeeze that excess water back into, um, your water bath just do that a couple of times, gently pressing, and this is just our initial passed to expel some of that water. Now, at this point, what you want to do is you kind of want to gently lift up on the corner of the screen to see if the paper pulp is sticking I find that often depending on the type of paper have used to create my pulp and the additives that I've put in, sometimes it immediately sticks to the screen other times it needs a little convincing to come off, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take it with the second piece of screen still on top and I'm going to flip it over on my work surface onto a piece of paper towel again, I'm going to take my sponge and just gently kind of press on the back encouraging it to come off of the frame sometimes it will need a little bit more convincing, but in most cases it will come off for you um now at this point I'm going to take some more paper towels and it should mention too that if you're concerned about using a number of paper towels and you're doing this at home, you certainly can use rags, dish towels things that you can then just throw into your washer and reused for the next time I'm going toe, place it over the top and just gently press it down. Um this is again our second past to expel s'more of the water in a peel it off and you're gonna see it's going to come right up on my paper towels so at this point I'm going to take away that second sheet of screening and I'm gonna lay it gently back down onto and you can see at this point it's pretty solid it's it's a little limp like a piece of fabric but I'm going to place it back onto my surface and I'm going to put the let's get one more paper towel and put that on top of there it's this stage of the game you really can take your paper and I often will dry on pieces of felt the paper will not stick to the felt during the drying process and what it typically will do is I'll start a stack put a couple of pieces of paper on it once I seem to have covered most of that surface lay another one on top and I just sort of build a stack of the paper as I make it and then when I'm finished at the end of the day with my project I will take that and I'll generally stick it under say, a heavy stack of books I'm just to kind of help keep it flattened drying time on the paper will vary I would normally let it sit overnight check it the next day if it still feels a little bit damp, you might just want to let them sit out individually, air dry a little bit and it may work the paper a bit, but I'll show you how you can flatten that back out but before we get to that stage, I'm going put one more piece of paper towel on the top, and I just want to show you a quick method to speed up the drying time, and that is essentially taking a standard household iron. You want to make sure that is not on esteem setting, you're going to be producing enough steam as it is, and you don't want to do this with an ironing motion. You really just want to press it down, and and the steam that you can see coming up is really just the evaporation of some of the water that is still trapped in that paper pulp. Um, this is not a necessary step, but it's sometimes nice if you're a little bit of occasional impatient crafter, like, I tend to be in want things to dry much faster than nature would normally have happened. Ok, is it just the standard, like polly felt isa standard? Polly felt obviously, wool is going to be a little bit more absorbent, but I found that this standard craft store felt doesn't work that at all, like, I've had pretty good results with it, okay, at this point, obviously it's going to be a little warm, so just be mindful of that on dh, then you can take it and lay it out on your surface on dh we've made her first piece of paper which is kind of magical I have to say the way all of that comes together so I'm going to do one more round with this water bath just to kind of reiterate the steps that we've covered and then we're going to go into a second step where we're all doing it together so again just to reiterate we're taking our screen and you don't really have to worry much about rinsing them between uses but our screen is face side up our dekel is face side down of their flush together and agitate the water slightly I'm going to dip my screen down underneath the pulp allow it to settle for just a second gonna lift it up you could see again some of those huge chunks but I missed from earlier we're just going to get those out of the way squeegee off some of that excess pulp you allow it to just hold it over the water bath for just a second to allow some of that excess water to drain off again place it over top of your tray remove your dekel to reveal your lovely piece of paper and then we're going to take our second piece of screening and place that right over top of the pulp again at this step we're going to go back to our kitchen sponge and very lightly add pressure to the top um, again, this does not need to be heavy pressure. You want to avoid a lot of water in that one you want to avoid pressing so hard that you warp your paper making screen because you want to be able to use this for a good long time you have courses to three same with a rolling pin work to press out the water. Is that going to be way too heavy? You know, that is a really good question that might be worthy of an experiment. My concern within that stretch, the paper that's exactly it was going to say my concern would be that it might distort the paper sheet in the process. Um, but again, like I said so much of the paper making process about experimentation, and I totally encourage you to kind of go off on some experimental tangents like that to figure out, you know, maybe you're going to come across some some shortcut methods that work for you and our genius. And I really I love that part of crafting it's really an ongoing experiment some of you to use the rolling pin, let us know because she's also asking, can she use the lint screen dryer from her trapped from her? You know what drives? You know what? Yeah, you absolutely can you absolutely can, and that's actually kind of jean genius because that's a lot of paper fiber I'm sorry of fabric fibers in there and it's going to add a really interesting quality to her paper good question yeah you absolutely can finally found a use for that will let me write something tio come straight out the one they like it my apartment complex it's like the basket one uh scoop it out put it in the basket I don't know I was in college I remember using on we had a printing press and so he had the wool felt when we would run the paper that we made through really like squeeze it all out yeah and that didn't really deformity at all it's almost like there's old wringer washing machines to kind of expel all of that so you see I have pressed out more of that water with a piece of paper towel I'm removing the second seat of screening now I love this one even kind of really see on there some of the beautiful specs and there we've got both shades of pink and you could see how the dough dies from the wrapping paper have really affected that white paper pulp that we started with. There are little flecks of white in there which I think a really beautiful but it's a really simple way to add color to your paper so in on this one I am just going toe lifted off into my hand and I'm going to skip the ironing for this particular piece and go ahead and place it on top of our felt. So now that we have done that were going to dio a little swap out with my water bath and we're going to continue on with you guys and exploring some additional additives. So, ladies, have you ever experimented with papermaking before? Is his first time for you finish? You have tried, I did it with and it was this is this is interesting similar technique or something similar with the blender and everything, but I can see now where I'll make use of it more when I dima cards and scrapbooking put him on the pages and on the cards, so that would be beautiful. Well, it's funny, I have talked teo, I know that this is a project that often is tackled in elementary schools. I've seen classrooms of kids kind of being introduced to paper making and so it's it's obviously not a new technique. A lot of people have done it, but the goal with a little bit of what we're doing today is to kind of show you howto bring it into more of the adult realm and utilize some of these sheets for invitations and party making decorations were going to do all of that in our next segment. So comes the lovely kate with my clean blender thank you so much and so if you bear with me just one second I am going to do tear up a few sheets of paper to get back to the stage where you all in the studio are get a couple more in here paper you just need to stay away away from rome says it just doesn't work really great question j k o they recommend that you stay away from any glossy paper, so anything like magazines that have a glossy finish on them really don't tend to bind together as well as matt papers that don't have whatever sort of finishing on them that some of those glasses a glossy rags deal so it's up a little bit more I also experimented a little bit with adding and primarily white paper and then adding in some vintages book pages towards the end just, you know volumes that had been discarded maybe from like the library sale stuff that's on their last leg it's not going to remain on the library shelf and put them in the very last minute sort of like we did with the colored paper and if you are mindful not to pulverize it down into a fine pulp when you screen the paper out, you're still going to see those little flecks of those pages and occasionally little letters and words which depending on the type project could really fit lovely into a certain kind of aesthetic. So I have got this about halfway full of paper, and I am now going to cover it with water again. The paper in the blender is loose, it's not packed down tight. We don't want to impair thie blades of the blender. I'm gonna put my lid on. All right, so why don't we all do our blending together on this one and try and consolidate it? So with just the white shades of paper in there right now, we're going to go ahead and blend it down, as is for the moment. All right, forgive the noise at home. Here we go way. How we doing a little thick. You if you do feel like it's having on the paper, absolutely add some more water, it certainly cannot hurt, and it will not affect the final outcome. It's a little bit, obviously, of an inexact science. I would say the number of pages that I ripped up to place into the blender. We're probably between six and eight, and again the water level. For that amount of paper, it was about two thirds full. So now that you have done that were going to oh, sure, absolutely go ahead, good, all right, awesome. For this next round we're going tio experiment a little bit with some natural additives to kind of give an almost botanical feel to our paper and one of the things that I've had really nice success with is this preserved moss this is something that you find at your craft supply store your florist supply store it's often used we need to a floral arrangement to kind of decorate the edges of the pot or used in terreri ums that sort of thing and so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take a healthy handful about this much and again this is really about experimentation regarding how much you actually want to use and I'm just going to throw that into the top of the blender replace the lid and I'm going toe pulverize that again so yeah if you want to go ahead and do that as well we will excuse me all blend at the same time again everybody good all right let's go and really you just need a few seconds with that to kind of get it worked in there yeah if it feels like your pulp is a little thick at some extra water that's great not so much okay at a little more water and if it gets to the point where it feels like it's being impacted we can also remove a little bit of that pulp tio love the blender to do its job all right does it feel like it has mixed in do you see it somewhat well incorporated in amongst the mixture okay great so at this stage then we're going to take our pictures off of our blender stands and we're going to pour these into our water baths and again the water baths are really about a half to two thirds of the way full now the thing that I love about this preserved moss is even though you have put it in the blender you're going to see a lot of the natural elements now see I ran my fingers through I found a little chunk much like I did with the paper I'm going to go ahead and set that aside but what's really lovely about this is it's going to add a flecked finish to your paper so that once you're sheet is dried it's going to look almost a ziff there were botanicals or grasses mixed into it which I think is a really lovely look now before we pull our papers I want to show you one other thing that all of you have at your workstations and that is a little folded piece of paper with some dried and preserved flowers and foliage these because they are so delicate we don't want to put them into our paper pulp because they would be blended beyond recognition what we were going to do instead is once we pull our piece of paper before we remove the dekel, we're going to set it down our tray and everyone's got tweezers as well, and you can take those and place a couple of those elements on top of the wet paper pulp and then remove your dekel. Um, now, I should say, with the dried and preserved flowers and foliage the's air really simple to do at home if you have the inclination in the time it really just requires you taking a piece of paper, folding it in half, taking some clippings from your garden, your backyard, your neighborhood, slipping them into that fold, tucking them into the center of a thick book and placing them under a stack of heavier books. And really, at that point, it's a waiting game. You just want to set them aside for a couple of weeks. And what happens during that period is that the weight of the book's helps press all of the moisture out of the botanicals, and it gets absorbed into that piece of paper. There are, however, foreign impatient crafter like myself, plenty of wonderful online sources. If you go to a search engine and type in dried press flowers, you're going to find many online sources for them, and they're relatively inexpensive and they come in a wide variety I have found with experimenting with them that you want ones that and don't have a lot of woody elements to them so if you're dealing with say a leaf or something with a fairly thick stock um you want to avoid that only because it will not fully incorporate into your paper and once the paper's dry it will slowly start to peel away which is super disappointing whereas working initially with these really beautiful pressed ferns they're going to look gorgeous on top of the paper the same thing goes with some of the flowers if you're dealing with like a daisy for example that's got a really sort of thick fibrous center to it those are not going to be your best option for an additive you want something more along the lines of like pansy zor viola as are some of those almost paper thin pedal flowers that will press really lovely and flat so I just want you to have those on the ready with your pair of tweezers if you find that picking them up with your fingers is easier that's totally fine just sometimes they are so delicate it's easier just to use that as a little tool so let's get ready we're going to take turns now at the work stations here in the studio because you are sharing a water bath but if one of you at each table wants to go ahead and take your screen again with the screen face up and the dekel face down you're going toe stand which those two together so that they are flush and then just quickly kind of run your fingers through the water to agitate it and then dip your screen down into the interior you're gonna go basically to the bottom the base and allow the pope to settle for just a second and then gently lifted up you don't have a straight edge if you'd like to have like a more natural looking paper would you just not use the top screen? You absolutely can yeah and you will find even with using the screen when you kind of closely examined some of these sheets that they still have that beautiful rough deck allege without the dekel it's just going to be a little bit more free form this is a way to kind of maintain a shape for your piece of paper so once it is drained a little bit over the top of the water base and you kind of run your fingers along the edge toe get rid of some of that excess pulp and paper material and then we're going to set it down on top of our trays just to kind of help maintain um control over some of our water mess if you weren't doing this over a train you were just doing it on your work surface you would quickly find yourself in the midst of a puddle and we're just kind of trying to avoid that how we doing in studio? Excellent. All right, so once you have laid it down on your sheet of paper before you remove your dekel let's go ahead and add in a couple of the dried florals so um we have got some made in hair fern here we've got some standard for instant lovely small yellow flowers from little blue bell flowers but what I'm going to be doing is I'm taking this essentially and I'm just laying it right on top of my paper may be tapping it slightly, but you don't want to press down too much once we put the screening on and start pressing with the sponge that's really going to secure and it here it tio to the surface so I think I'm going to leave just that simple single piece of fern and then at that point we can go ahead and lift our deck als straight up does the many of the roles that you're using to they leave any kind of sense you know what? Not so much could you use a cent to create center paper if you wanted to? You know what I think during the process of making the pulp you certainly could experiment with adding in some essential oils maybe just a few drops and that's actually really lovely idea again all about the experimentation kind of giving paper and added dimension and sent I think is a lovely idea now, once you have removed your dekel, you've got your dried florals on the top, we're going to take our extra piece of screen, and we're going to gently lay it over the top, gonna grab my kitchen sponge here, and I'm gently going to press down on the surface and you're going to feel it's going toe will take a second with the dry sponges, but once the sponges, moisture will see that it absorbs much more quickly. Take it back over to the water bath, and you can see we're getting a lot of moisture out just by the simple step of pressing it gently a couple more times. You don't necessarily need to overdo this step, but it is the first way we're going to get rid of most of the moisture. Everything from here on out is really smaller steps in doing that, so now that you have done that, were going to gently sort of lift up the corner of the screen to see if the paper sticks, it does not like our first batch, so what I'm going to do then is take a couple of pieces of paper towel and lay them down on my work surface, and then I'm going to take the entire screen um, are papermaking screen with the extra piece of screen on top, and we're going to flip that over on top of our paper towels again, I'm going to use this sponge is a little bit of a tool and give a little bit of gentle pressure on the back just to transfer it from our papermaking screen to the surface of this extra piece of screen. We left it right up, it came off beautifully and so then at this point I'm going to flip that over on top of my paper towel removed that extra piece of screen and I'm going to take an additional piece of paper towel to press it on the top romans sticking little mind, sticking a little under it's not even with a little pressure with a sponge if you want, you can kind of with your thumb, maybe start to peel a little bit on the corner. You do you just want to be a little bit gentle with it because it is so wet it can easily tear no put enough pressure on it's it's honestly it's a very forgiving, and this is a really good point, phyllis, if you get to the point where you can't get it off the screen and the thing tears in half, all you have to do is put that back in your water bath and it becomes part of your pulp again so that you can start all over again so it's very forgiving in that regard. How are we doing? We got it off excellence. You just had to pay a little bit on the corner, but it finally I've got a little tear on the corner but it doesn't take away from no worries. Yeah, not at all. And so you can see at this point we've pressed quite a bit of water out of it. Um at this stage that you ladies air at phyllis and kathy, you just want to take an extra piece of paper towel then and press it down over the top just again expel a little bit more of that moisture did it come off, madeleine? Peel it off. Ok. Excellent there's always a workaround. Yeah, yeah. So you flip that over, then on top of the surface of your paper towel perfect, and you'll just press down now with a clean paper towel on top of that. But you can see with this paper what I love so much about that moss, is it really the way that it breaks down in the blender and distribute itself throughout the sheet? You get all of these like gorgeous flecks of that foliage material. And then with the added edition of the leaf, I just think it's a really nice component, so, um now with these let's put them back down on our paper towels, put the extra paperback towel back on top of that and we're just going to do our iron trick real quick just so you get a little bit of experience in the studio with using that and again we're not going to be doing an ironing motion it's simply oppressing motion and you'll hear a little sizzle and you'll likely see a little bit of steam coming up again a reminder that you do want your iron set on a non steam setting you know you can actually go hot you I tend to turn mine all the way up fresh for plants or flowers or do you really recommend just drive? You know what I really do recommend drying them because what you'll find with the addition of fresh flowers to your paper is that they dry in a different rate than the paper pulp will so they will tend to at a certain point buckle up and you'll have these sort of odd little botanical buckles in the middle of your paper and with them already being dried, they're going to sort more less drive the same rate as the pulp to maintain a flat sheet of paper. So now once you've ironed it, go ahead, remove that extra paper towel and you can kind of gently peel up your sheet of paper off of the surface of the paper towel and lay it on top of, uh on top of your felt on paper, maven seven is asking. When you're all done, can you also recycle your paper towels into pay? Yes, absolutely, absolutely you can and that's. One of the beauties of this is that they had a beautiful fibrous quality to the paper pulp, so by all means, don't throw in the trash said imus side, and you can use them for your next paper pulp batch. Great harmony sheets of paper. Would you roughly get out of one batch with one batch? I would say you're going to get four to five good sheets beyond that, the sheets of paper going to begin to get a little bit thinner only because at that point you're obviously depleting the amount of pulp in your water bath. If you can manipulate it as you're using the screen to cry, try and get us. Much of that pulp back up onto the screen is possible, but yes, you'll definitely notice they get thinner as you go along.

Class Description

From making your own paper to marbling and stamping to sculpting hand-crafted objects, paper crafting is an incredible way to express yourself. Join Robert Mahar to explore everything this simple, sophisticated art form has to offer.

You’ll embrace your inner recycler as you learn to create paper pulp and form it into sheets of handmade paper. You’ll also explore the Japanese art of suminagashi and use this centuries-old technique to create gorgeous, marbled paper. You’ll learn basic stamping and patterning techniques that add extra flair to any project. You’ll dive into creating three-dimensional paper crafts as well, from hand-crafted flowers to papier-mache projects to other decorative and functional objects.

Whether you’re looking to create handmade gifts to share with friends or to add new paper craft goods to your Etsy® store, you’ll leave this course equipped and inspired to create dozens of new projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Robert Mahar - Paper Flower Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Garland Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Marbling Directions.pdf

free bonus materials

Robert Mahar - Course Supplies List.pdf

Robert Mahar - Syllabus.pdf

Robert Mahar - Letters Sample.PDF

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 1400000665814257

This class if filled with new and fun ways to use the paper that we have in stock. In addition, the paper technique that utilizes Suminagashi Ink is mind blowing! Anyone who loves to create beautiful things will enjoy this class. Robert is one who is an exceptional instructor, in that when he is demonstrating a new technique, he has an ability to use clear concise language. I have enjoyed the class, and plan to use the gorgeous floral pieces in my studio and home, along with creating a lovely party. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Really enjoyed watching this two day Paper Crafting course with Robert Mahar. It was full great paper techniques and inspiration. Roberts has such a calm and positive teaching style. Watching him work through step by step of each project you really pick up lots of wonderful tips and tricks of the trade. Highly recommend it.

Holly Herick

Robert Mahar is an excellent teacher with many great examples on paper crafting. Robert has encouraged me to continue working on my sculpted watercolor paper flowers—now I have a bunch of new tips and tricks to try. This class is well worth the price