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The vital tools necessary for making handmade paper with a deckled edge. The Mould and Deckles are available in three sizes (approx) A4 (210 x 297mm), A5 (148 x 210mm) and A6 (105 x 148mm). The inner frame is called the Mould and has a tensioned nylon mesh attached across one side. The outer frame is called the Deckle and will define the edge of the paper. The Deckle and Frame are used to scoop out the paper pulp from the vat and the Mould allows the excess water to drain away.
A couching cloth is made from a dense felt fabric. The wet pulp sheet is flipped onto the couching cloth from the Mould so that it can soak up the remaining moisture. A second couching cloth (or felt) can be placed on top of the drying paper so that the process can be repeated with the next sheet.
Universal Indicator Paper allows you to measure the pH levels in the pulp. Acid content degrades the quality of paper and the higher the acid content, the quicker the paper fades and curls. If the pH is known during making paper, acid levels can be reduced by adding Calcium Carbonate to the pulp.
A simple handmade paper can be made using a similar technique to papier mache. Fibres, strips of paper, leaves or petals can be bound together using PVA glue, silk paper medium or CMC paste. The glue medium you choose will depend on the absorbency of the base material. To make a silk paper, place a sheet of papermaking netting on a flat (protected) surface. Take the silk fibres and pull them out so that there is a thin layer of the fibres all running in the same direction across the mesh. Build a second layer with the fibres running from the top to the bottom of the mesh so that they cross over the first layer. Create another 1-2 layers in the same way and then place a second sheet of papermaking netting on top to create a sandwich.
The paper is created by bonding the fibres together using either the PVA based silk papermaking medium, which produces a stiffer, slightly more robust paper, or CMC paste which makes a soft, pliable paper. The glue is spread or brushed over the top sheet of netting and pushed through the holes in the mesh with a sponge to fully dampen and bond the fibres within the sandwich. The paper can remain in the sandwich to dry (to create a textured surface patterned from the netting) or the top sheet of netting can be removed. The resultant paper can be used for mixed media, stitch or scrapbooking.
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