chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paper Making

I have been creating scrapbooks and cards for several years now. As any scrapbooker will tell you, this craft generates a lot of paper scraps. I have saved all my scraps from various projects over the years. You just never know when you will need just a little bit of something. I also like to pick up a variety of papers for use in future projects. You may be surprised to learn that paper styles and colors go out of style fairly quickly. How else could paper companies sell more paper?

As a result, I have amassed quite a selection of papers over the years. Not wanting to throw them away, I thought I would start to create my own papers. The first step was to sort the papers out by color. It turns out that I have a lot of brightly-colored card stock. Not sure how I will use them, but I’ll worry about that later. Several papers are multi-colored so I put them in piles by their predominant shades.

The paper making process requires the use of a blender. I have been through a few blenders over the years and didn’t currently own one. I paid a visit to my local Big Lots and found a Hamilton Beach blender for a good price. (I’ll have to try it out on margaritas for Cinco de Mayo as a true test.) With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I decided to make pink and red paper. I tore up scraps of paper that included solid pink and pink-based papers. The blender was filled about halfway with paper and the rest with water. I let the paper soak for about 10 minutes and then blended it on high speed for about a minute. The resulting pulp was dumped into a plastic tote. I added two pitchers of water for each pitcher of pulp.

The result of all this mixing was a tub of light pink pulp. I assembled my deckle and screen and dipped it into the pulp, lifting it up and draining. I then sponged off all the water I could by gently squeezing and pressing. I then peeled the new sheet of paper off and placed it on a towel to dry. The pink was pretty but I wanted to add a little more pizzazz by using red. Red is such a strong color that I only used about a quarter of a pitcher of red paper with the rest of the pitcher filled with water. As expected, I didn’t need much of the red to create a vibrant color.

The end result was six pages of new paper from about four full sheets of old paper. This may not seem worth the effort but the positive is that these six pages were created out of a variety of scraps which would otherwise have had no purpose. The new pages are all a nice uniform color and ready to be used in my next project.

Making paper is a little messy but it was a nice activity for a cold winter day. I look forward to experimenting with more colors and techniques. Now I need to find something to do with my newly-created paper. I’ll keep you posted on that one!

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