Papermaking Additives and Fillers

Handmade Papermaking suppliesThis range of papermaking additives provides the serious handmade paper maker with professional materials for producing high quality and durable handmade paper. The additives can also be used by modellers for paper casting and papier mache.

To add colour there are natural dyes, Deka L Direct dyes, Procion MX Fibre Reactive Dyes and pigments. Using the Cationic Retention Aid will ensure a well dispersed colour which binds to the fibres.

CMC (Carboxymethyl cellulose) powder granules

CMC offers a versatile acid free adhesive which can be added to the pulp to promote fibre to fibre bonding. It gives strength to paper castings and makes the surface of finished art pieces more durable.

Soda Ash

Paper can be made from plant fibres such as onion skins, corn husks and bark. Soda Ash dissolves out the non-cellulose parts of these materials without weakening the finished paper. Add 250g to each kg of fibre and boil in a stainless steel or enamel pan (not aluminium) for 2-4 hours depending on the fibre.

Titanium Dioxide

A strong white pigment which makes paper whiter and more opaque, acting as a filler, giving a smoother surface to paper, resulting in less “pick”. The filling effect is much stronger than with calcium carbonate, but it does not have the ability to neutralise paper acids. Titanium Dioxide is also used to tint coloured pulps. Use 5-10% to dry weight of fibre. Add to pulp and stir thoroughly.

China Clay

Paper CastingChina clay is a fine white powder, also known as opal gamma kaolin, which is used to make paper more opaque and smooth and reduce shrinkage. It is especially useful in paper casting and will appeal to papermakers and model makers alike. Add during the mixing process using up to 10g per litre wet pulp, using considerably more for modelling. This pulp relief (right) was created by Jan Fairbairn-Edwards.

Cationic Retention Aid

The cationic retention aid binds pigments, dyes and other additives to fibres in the pulp. Make a stock solution of 25g to 1 litre of water in a blender and then dilute to 5 litres. Allow to stand for several hours and use within 2-3 days. It has a refrigerated shelf life of around 9 months. Add pigment* and other additives to the pulp, pigment first and then additives. Add the retention aid very slowly while stirring the pulp until the pigment is retained in the fibres. If you use too little or too much it will cause the additives to remain separate from the pulp. At this point your water should be fairly clear if not completely clear.

Pigments & Dyes

A pigment can be added to the pulp and the Cationic Retention Aid will help to bind it to the fibres. Pulp can also be coloured using natural dyes, Deka L Direct dyes or Procion MX Fibre Reactive Dyes.

Calcium Carbonate

Calcium carbonate provides an alkaline reserve in paper which promotes acid-free archival qualities. It retards shrinkage in paper castings and makes for a smoother surface. In paper sheets it improves opacity and whiteness. Use 3-4% by weight of dry fibre, or 1% by weight of wet fibre. Add to water and mix for several minutes. Stir evenly into pulp at the beginning of the cycle and soak overnight.

Paper Sizing

Add paper sizing to pulp at anytime during the process, to make paper less absorbent so that ink or paint does not run or feather. It improves paper stiffness and helps protects the fibre from oily media as well as dirt and pollution. This alkyl ketene dimer emulsion has a neutral pH and meets archival standards. Essential if you are to use your paper for screen printing or artwork. Use 4% by weight of dry pulp or 2% of wet pulp.

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