Monday, 27 July 2015

Paper Making: Challenge Accepted

I'm so happy to be back in school after a semester off to study for the architecture board exam. I'm proud to say that I'm an architect now. :)) I exhausted my left brain in the process of getting my second professional license that my right's excited to be back doodling and sketching designs.

I only have a few units this sem but these subjects keep me busy with fun stuff. In our supposedly lecture class, Materials Development, we already tried laser cutting acrylic and wood veneers - and that's just an assignment for a week, not a term project! Who knew school could be this exciting?

For our paper week, we were given the choice of either making something out of paper or actually making paper. After watching the paper-making video our professor prepared, I decided to take the challenge and make my own paper.

If you feel like trying it yourself, here's my process - much more 'homemade' than the video I've seen. This process looks easy because you won't be needing big equipments or special tools. Just look around your house and you'll find the things you'll need. :)

And these are those things:
scrap paper and/or tissue
embellishments (optional) - i used tea leaves for color and scent
containers - one must be big enough for the frame
picture frame - as big as you want your paper to be
metal mesh - the one that's in your screen door. this should be at least as big as your frame.
2 pieces of cloth - also at least as big as the frame
absorbent rag
2 non-absorbent boards - for pressing, i just used an illustration board with the plastic
drying board - i used a lap desk and a kickboard
hair dryer
stirrer or any stick - unless you want to use your fingers like I did, and i don't recommend it. haha.

Making the Pulp
* cut the paper/tissue
* soak them in water
* soak the embellishments in water
* put soaked paper into blender then add water - more water than paper, or you'll say bye-bye to your blender

* blend for a few seconds - you can put the embellishments before or after blending. I put mine after.

Shaping the Paper
* fit the metal mesh into the frame, replacing the glass
* place the framed mesh into the container
* pour pulp evenly to the mesh
* let drain then tilt to the the corner to drain more - don't tilt if it's still super wet, you'll displace the pulp
* transfer paper to the cloth
* sloooowly, carefully 'peel' off mesh - try not to peel off the paper

Pressing the Paper
* put cloth on one board
* cover the paper with another cloth place another board over
* press the now-sandwiched paper - remember you're doing this to drain water, not to flatten the paper
* remove board then pat - pat - the sandwiched paper - do NOT rub, you might displace the pulp
* remove the upper cloth
* transfer paper to the drying board

Drying the Paper
* blow the paper dry
* take the board out to sun dry - mine took a few days to fully dry

* The more pulp in the mixture, the thicker your paper will be. You can put the blended mixture in a bigger container and add water before pouring it into the screen, if you want thinner paper.
* The thinner the paper, the more difficult the peeling process.
* Cover your drying board with plastic for easier peeling off.

That's it! I hope you'll enjoy making paper as much as I did. Here's my video, the one I actually submitted to my professor as documentation. It's a one-take video, which makes it funny because you'll see fails like water spilling off my container and how i used my hands to stir the tea mixture. haha. Forgive me. :)

PS. The video started with me showing how I prepared the pressing cloth and boards, and the making of the framed screen.

See how school could be fun? ;)