Silk Paper Making

Silk papermaking or silk fusion is a paper-mache type technique for creating textured paper/fabric or 3d objects using silk fibres combined with an adhesive medium such as paste made from Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) or watered down PVA. Order the materials and equipment for making silk paper from this selection of products which include the different types of undyed and hand-dyed silk fibre. Here you can buy the web-like silk Mawata Caps with their frilly edges, super fine Mulberry silk sliver, gummy silk waste, or fingers of silk carrier rods.

Our image shows a detail of paper made using the silk paper making technique and CMC paste. Layers of hand-dyed silk hankies and a few lengths of loosely spun wool fibres were placed onto a piece of nylon mesh. A second piece of nylon mesh was placed on top to make a sandwich of fibres and the CMC paste was sponged through the mesh to dampen the fibres all the way through. When the adhesive had dried, the mesh was carefully peeled away to reveal the silk paper. You will note the glistening green edge of a silk hanky at the top of the image.

The glue you decide to use will determine the final texture of the paper. Using the PVA will produce a slightly ‘crispy’ robust paper which is resistant to water (depending on how much glue is used), while using CMC paste will result in a soft paper. The finished paper can be used for embroidery, scrapbooking and mixed media projects.

Experimenting with Handmade Silk Paper

    • The technique can be used to make paper from other absorbent fibres such as cotton, tencel, soybean, bamboo and casein. As wool and hair are waterproof by nature, they will not absorb the CMC solution but may adhere to the surface when PVA is used.
    • Dried petals, leaves, shredded or torn paper and other porous items can also be glued together between the two sheets of nylon mesh using the silk papermaking method.
    • Fibres can be shaped around a former, such as a plastic bowl or balloon and the silk paper making medium used in the same way that glue is used for papier mache.
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