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. Any of the Silk or Plant fibres on this website are suitable for this technique.
Our image shows papers made using the silk paper making technique and CMC paste. Layers of hand-dyed silk fibre 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.
The glue you decide to use will determine the final texture of the paper. Using 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 as glue for papier mache.
Here we include nylon mesh netting for keeping fibres in place and CMC (Methyl Cellulose) granules.