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Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Lesson 3 of 22

Using Paper Additives

Robert Mahar

Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

3. Using Paper Additives

Lesson Info

Using Paper Additives

We're going to take our screen screen side up, put our dekel face side down so the two are flush together use your fingers just to agitate the pulp a tiny bit, and we're going to dip that down underneath and lifted up slowly to capture as much of that pulp is we can holding it above the surface of the water bath. You kind of skim off some of that excess pulp and additive from the frame, and then we will lift that right back over to our working tray. Now, with the trades that you're working with at a certain point, you'll realize you probably got a quarter inch of water and there you can just easily lifted back up and pour that back into your water bath to kind of help maintain your control your mass a little bit um once it's on here, I'm going to slowly lift the dekel straight up, revealing a beautiful sheet of paper. Um now I am going to add a little bit more botanical information or material to this I did it, obviously I removed my dekel first that's not imperative uh, the order of t...

hat, but let's take a couple pieces of some of these beautiful yellow pressed flowers and add those on there now you can get really creative with these, especially if you were doing perhaps larger sheets and you want to create a specific border or a pattern that's absolutely something that you can do with the dried flowers and foliage. Once I've laid them down on their, then I'm going to go ahead and take that second piece of screen justice we've done before and start pressing gently with the sponge. How we doing in the studio? They coming out? All right, love it. Excellent. Pretty good for a first try. You know what? This is a huge part. It's a great point, madeleine it's, part of my crafting philosophy. You really have to allow yourself to screw up the first three, four dozen, two dozen times she do a project because, honestly, that's, how you're going to learn, you got to be kind yourself in this process and nobody's going to do it perfect the first time around. It is this continuation of a learning process. So just if you saw the craft graveyard I have at my house, you would probably be appalled. But that's, how you get to the good stuff, you gotta work through all of those crappy for a second and third tries until you kind of get a feel for the material and you're a little more comfortable with the process. You've kind of got the steps down and if you're working from a book or a video, you're able tio do it without necessarily referencing every single time. So now that I've pressed out a little bit of the water lifting it up still not coming off so not a problem, we're just going to flip that over on a piece of paper towel on our work surface. I'm going to use my sponge as a little bit of a tool give a little pressure on the back and see if I can't lift it up now oftentimes if you are having trouble with the release on the screen, if you give a little bit of pressure may be on the corners with the just one of your fingers a little bit of gentle pressure, you'll see that it starts to kind of fall down a tiny bit, but you can always feel free, tow, lift down and give a little tug now this's something I was talking about earlier I gave a vigorous tug and I managed to rip off the corner of my piece of paper, but honestly not a problem at least in this instance, if I was really upset about it, I would probably just throw it right back in my water bath and reincorporated into the pulp, but I don't really think that's necessary a lot of times, especially with the rough deck allege having a little bit of added texture to that just adds to the charm of the paper. I'm gonna take one more sheet of paper towel, press that down over the top, and that is another good thing to keep in mind during the process of the paper making. We're not going for perfection here. We're not looking to replicate machine made paper there's something really special about the handmade paper and being able to see the art of the hand of the crafter in it. This is alarming us to add in these great additives to really have this beautiful texture and those beautiful rough deck aled edges. When I took it out, it was a little there's more paper pope on like one side than the other, so it ends up a little bit thicker a lot of times that during the process of oppressing the water out, you can even out the texture and the thickness a tiny bit. But again, if that's something like you really feel like the papers lopsided, and you want to throw that back into your pulp batch that's, not a problem, so you can see I've pretty much filled up the surface of my felt here, so I'm just going to put down an additional layer I'm going to take this last sheet that I worked on here gently lifted up. And lay it down one other note before we move on to the next variation about some of the dried flowers there you will find instances if you purchase your dried flowers and foliage online sometimes they are have a dye additive to them because obviously most flowers will fade during the pressing and drying process and so sometimes you will add in you know people who do this professionally will add in a little bit of dye when you add those flowers too your wet paper during the drying process you may find some of those dies bleed into the paper pulp I found this particular to the true with flowers that have like a purple or blue dye to them so it's just something to be mindful of I have not had much issue at all with the dried green foliage um and the yellow seems to work quite well as well all right so quickly now we're going to move onto our last batch so let's go ahead and start tearing up some paper again to build the base of our pope I'm again we're drawing on three different types of paper here just a standard copy wait paper a standard construction white construction paper on and then there's a little bit heavier weight um copy paper or text no happy with paper in there you know and for this one if you want to take one of your used paper towels excuse me and rip up a portion of it to add it into your pulp this might be a good opportunity just to see how that works and you really won't notice a large difference in your pulp but again, it's just a great way to recycle and use some of those back up at a little bit more of that in there so I would say ladies, you're probably good at that point with that amount that you've got in there I think is perfect and then we're going to go ahead and take our water now if you want to thicker paper robert, you yeah change the ratio of water too powerful or does it not, man? No, you know what? That honestly doesn't matter because in the end it all gets poured into our water bath, which really dilute it anyways, you were going to get the thickest sheets of paper with the first couple of polls out of a new pulp batch and that's because you've got the most concentration of pulp in your water at that point green make any impact it does not know it does not. So now um let's all coordinate are blending let's put our lives back on so if we can do this somewhat in unison but let's, go ahead now excuse the noise folks at home and we're going to go ahead and blend these up and you can kind of see I've after I've turned to the blender off, removed a lid, I kind of just like, poke around that top layer just to kind of feel the consistency and again, we're going for that sort of watery oatmeal consistency, which doesn't sound very appealing but it's a good description and now as faras coloration. In addition for this last batch, I spent a lot of time experimenting with different additives to see what would get the most vivid colors. What would get the most subtle, varied colors. One of the things I experimented with was bleeding artist tissue, and all of you have a little stack at your tables. Um, this actually looks exactly like normal tissue paper, but it's intended for craft projects where you want that color to bleed a little bit and I thought initially, oh, this is perfect. This is going, I'm going to get that bright blue. I'm going to get that bright magenta color, but what I found happened is while it turned to the water bright, bright colors, it was very, very subtle in the paper pulp. But one of the magical things that kind of happened during the drying process is I found a lot of that ink sort of migrated to the edges of the paper and almost created a really lovely hombre effect so that the center of the paper there was very little color, but all around your beautiful deck allege it was a little bit deeper it's, super subtle, but really very lovely, so you certainly can add one of those in if you want to go ahead and select a color, tear it up and place it into your sheet. But the real star of this round of paper making is going to be this really inexpensive paper confetti. This stuff is something I picked up the dollar store it's, it's flecked it's, just standard round confetti. If you put a healthy chunk of it into the top, we'll run the blender for just a second, and you'll find that additional colors from the confetti will transfer into the pulp, but we're not going to blend it so much that we obscure all of the beautiful little round shapes of the confetti this way. When you pour down to your sheets, it's going to be this really kind of lovely festive party paper, and we're going to use those a lot in the next segment in creating some beautiful, fun and festive party decorations cell you can certainly if you want to go ahead and add that and absolutely feel free to do that at the same time because the paper tissue is so light it's going to blend beautifully a little circle you can do it at the same time again part of that is experimentation to if you wanted to blend it in in advance so that you didn't see as much of the flecks of the tissue that's totally fine as well leaving already see yeah you can and again because the effect of this is so subtle you should feel confident and putting in the whole sheet without you know over saturating the color is asking yeah she would like to use the sunday funnies yes so she thinks the color would all just end up being sort of brown by the end of it this would be my tip for her is go ahead and create a basic paper pulp to start with and then like we did with our first batch perhaps repp ripped the funnies up stick them in and just blend it lightly that way when you poured in there still going to be little hole pieces of those and so when you screen out your sheet you might actually find you know snoopy's leg or you know other parts of the funnies which I think that could be really charming okay let's put our lids on and let's do a little blending my friends everybody good okay sorry at home here we go wow look at that suit yes see like it's beet red deep aqua blue the students were using some of the the artist bleeding tissue and again I'm telling you it really it makes it look like it's going to come out so much vibrant than it does it's a little it's a little tricky that stuff so once you've done that let's go ahead and pour that into our water baths you need a little muscle to get those off of the blender base there you go. Yeah, this is a messy kraft my friends and this is why we're doing it on top of paper that we can throw away at the end of recycle into our next batch but you do you just want to kind of keep up a pile of paper towels and dish towels on hand you will find they come in very useful so once you have poured that in let's go ahead and go right into pulling our first piece so again you're going to agitate the water a little bit and you could see it's kind of its take on a completely different nature with that confetti added in and slowly lifted up gonna run my finger along the edge just to remove some of that excess pulp allowing it to drain for just a second and as we've done for we're going to move over to our trays set it down there gently remove the dekel straight up to reveal your lovely rectangular piece of paper. Now we will take our screen and we're going to place it over the top, taking your kitchen sponge just gently applying pressure on the top and squeezing that excess back into your water bath. Yeah she's saying that most commercially available papers include methyl cellulose which is the additive to stop the paper falling apart once you put it through the water bath excepto have you diluted that? Do you need to put something into replace it? I have not found especially with the smaller sheets that that is necessary just the mere act of pulver pulverizing the paper fibers and matting them down really tends to do the trick now it should be noted that this paper because of the rough nature of it is not going to be printable you certainly can write or draw on it, but it is not something I would want to experiment sending through my printer I think that you would end up spending a lot more time with it than you want tio if that were the case. So now that I've pressed a little bit of the water out of this piece, I am going to lift up the corner to see if it's no doesn't want to come up so we're going to flip it face down onto that paper towel again just applying a little bit of pressure on the back to help it release and it can if it needs a little bit of coaxing, you can kind of gently peel on some of the corners, and usually at that point, once one corner goes, gravity takes effect and it pulls the whole piece down. So now that is sitting there by itself on our extra piece of screen, I'm going to take that second piece of paper towel and just gently press it on the back. It looks good, right? I love that confetti. I just think it was one of the kind of a happy accident in the process of playing around with all of these different additives. Um, now there were a couple of extra things that I wanted to show you. I had mentioned earlier talking about the bleeding art paper and the effect are the bleeding heart tissue and the effect that it had. I don't know how well you can kind of see this on camera, but it definitely is deeper shade of this sort of rose pink along the edges. And I found that to be true with most of the samples I used with the bleeding heart tissue, this is quickly I just want to talk about some. Alternative additives you can add in I started playing around with adding some fiber content a little bit. One of the ongoing projects I have going in my studio at home is some embroidery projects, and so you're always snipping off the ends and I end up with a little bowl almost like a little nest full of clippings, and I started experimenting with adding those into the paper. And I have to say, I kind of came up with some results that I was really pleased with. They seemed to be fairly well embedded into the paper pulp and during the drying process really cemented themselves there, and they almost seem like little art pieces. Honestly, this is something that I would imagine even perhaps live framing a little dip tick for at home and using my paper in that way. Um, but again, experimentation with this is so much fun you could experiment much like we did with the dried paper flowers, perhaps adding in photographs or little bits of printed text. You know, say, perhaps you've got a little saying or quote, you wanted to add in you could lay that down over top of the wet paper pulp before you added the additional screen and started pressing out that excess water so well done, my friends, you guys air troopers, this is looking good my first one the stem didn't really want to stick ceo when I did my second one with the fern e actually forgot to put the fern on before he did the the sponge just so when I said the firm down I was afraid that that really was gonna pop so I took some of the residual stuff off my friend dropped we went down a little bit kind of security genius and then did the final dash so you're almost using it like like two cemented down as it were just a little piece of yeah, you know, and I think that's perfect and that's what he did a lot with adding thie when I used to these little clippings of embroidery floss because a lot of them did want to cooperate initially and they're sticking to my fingers so I finally get them down on top of the paper making screen and then I did exactly what you did take a little bit of that extra pulp out of the bath and kind of just like press it down to cement certain portions of it back in um let me I just I would like to see for second what are students did on some of these pieces? They love beautiful and you may find like I had mentioned with some of the blue flowers during the drying process it may bleed a little bit but again, that's kind of part of the experimentation when I when I was pressing the water out of it, I did notice there was some purple on the human. How so? Yeah, yeah. You will find that the's air gorgeous. Guys. Yeah, I see exactly what you're saying about the worthiness of the stem. And I probably if I if I had the white stuff, I could still probably at this point even go back that's true that's true. Or you could even just go in and kind of clip out that little bit of the woody stem and the rest of the branches would stick beautifully. It looks great, but I was thinking of snipping rights and that is something. Even if the leaves on the branch seemed to press beautifully, that stem is not always going to want to stick. Where should you guys these look beautiful, real love war. Wait, look, the corner it wasn't feeling this right all the way new pull it up if it doesn't look as though it's filled the entire screen you can always feel free to, like, dip it back down in, maybe manipulate the tub a little bit to try to get more of the pulp on top of the screen. But we kind of like the e o like this it really love with that particular the bleeding, our tissue that used how it created that lovely, subtle blue color. And I'll be interested to see as it dries how that sets because you may find with that particular color that it remains consistent throughout the sheet of paper. Or you may find as with some of these and let me just show you two things I know I had mentioned them how these had kind have just gone ahead and bled to the edges of this sheet color is super super subtle, which is really kind of, I think that's charming. I love that it was a threat just mixed in the pope. You know what? I try both ways. I found that if I had it loose in the pulp bath, it was a nightmare to try and wrangle it down. So what I really ended up doing was once I pulled it up, I just kind of like try toe gently lay it, which is often hard to do with wet hands because the string is going to want to stick to your hands. Let me just tell you quickly after you have given it a day or two and the felt under a stack of books to dry if you find that it is still damp go ahead and lay it out in single sheets by itself, not in a stack and just allow it to air dry overnight. What you may find happens at that point, though, is you end up with these warped pieces but not to worry because much like fabric these will iron flat, so if you simply take a piece of towel dish cloth, paper towel what not lay your piece of warped dried handmade paper on top place another piece of toweling on top you really want to sandwich it between two pieces? Take your hot iron still hot, all right, and just press it for a few minutes. It really is going to take out the majority of that warping um alternately if you've allowed it to sit out overnight and dry and then you place it back in um uh, heavy stack of books like is if you were pressing paper flowers, it will eventually flatten out there as well, and you can see that's that's done a nice job in removing a lot of that warping that took place so excellent. I think we're in a really good point. Folks, we've managed to get through three different variations, which I'm really pleased about j k o do we have any questions to wrap up on for this has been a really great segment on this is bean so simple I would say you listen, richard, to produce him really beautiful effects and that's. The thing I love about it is these air, really materials that you've got around your home, right there, easily accessible. And, you know as far as any of the adan's, you know, flowers from your backyard. Confetti from the dollar store. It's, it's, simple and it's. A lot of fun. And again, the name of the game is experimentation. Until you find something that you're really happy with and suits the purpose of the project you have at hand.

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