You can make paper out of a number of materials using either a prepared pulp, cotton linters or from recycled papers. You can also make paper from plant fibres which need first to be soaked in water for up to 24 hours and chopped up before simmering in a solution of 1 tablespoon soda ash in 1 litre of water for 2 hours (a smelly process which should be done outside if possible!). This process breaks down the cellulose from the plant fibre. It is the prepared plant fibre that is used for the pulp.
The pulp can be coloured using pigments or dyes, and silk threads, seeds and other items can be added for extra texture. There are also a range of hand papermaking additives which can be included in the pulp to help bind coloured pigments to the fibres, whiten the pulp, create a smoother surface and make it less absorbent, or improve its stiffness.
Papermaking Explorer Pack
A good way to learn about the process of hand papermaking is through our PaperMaking Explorer Pack. The pack includes one A4 deckle and frame, couching J-cloths, 250g cotton linters, 15g hand-dyed silk fibres and 5g mill dyed silk waste. It also inludes the simple to follow Papermaking for the Terrified booklet written by Kath Russon.
The Papermaking Explorer Pack includes everything you need to get started