Paper-Making Workshop

The Textile Dye Garden hosted a papermaking workshop over 2 weekends using recycled media from Pratt’s 2D printing center and plants grown in and around the garden. The workshop allowed people to make paper from scratch and embed flowers and plants into the paper however they wished onto the paper sheets being pulled.

This process is made possible by first taking any type of scrap media (preferably non-coated scrapes such as construction or printer paper) and ripping them up into approximately 2” pieces. These pieces are then submerged in water for 24 hours. Once the paper has been thoroughly soaked, the scrap paper is mixed with a little water and blended until a smooth pulp-like consistency is achieved known as slurry. The slurry is placed in a shallow bath of water where the shredded paper is able to float within a larger bath of water where it is ready to be pulled.

The paper is made by using both a deckle and mould. These can be made by using two old picture frames or scrap pieces of wood. The mould is a frame with a thin mesh material stretched on top of one side where the slurry can be caught, and the deckle is a separate frame meant to be laid on top while pulling the paper in order to maintain the shape of the paper on top of the mould.

The paper is made by pulling the mould and deckle through the slurry bath until there is a thin layer of slurry left of the mould when taken out of the bath. Excess water is taken out by pressing sponges to the bottom of the mould until it is no longer dripping water. At this point, flowers and other plant material can be placed on top of the slurry, making sure the edges are covered by some slurry in order to keep them in place.

Once the flowers are arranged the deckle can be taken off the mould and the paper can be placed upside-down still on the mould onto a piece of fabric where one can continue to press the paper with a sponge in order to get as much moisture out of the slurry as possible. When the paper has lost enough moisture to detach from the mould, the mould can be removed and the paper is left to dry for 24-48 hours. When the paper is fully dry the edges will start peeling off the paper, and the sheets should easily detach from the fabric. The paper will take on whatever texture the fabric is, and can be ironed in order to get a smoother finish if desired.