How to make your own paper
Break up a sheet of pulp, or some old newspapers, and soak in a bowl for a few hours.
Mix the paper pulp into a loose porridge and thicken with starch and boiled water.
Soak a mould covered with a fine mesh. Dip the mould with the deckle (the removable wooden frame) on top into a vat with the pulp and water and fill the mould.
Carefully lift and shake the mould sideways while the water runs through the mesh. This makes the sheet smooth and ensures that the fibres point in different directions to make the paper strong.
Remove the deckle and tilt the mould so the water can drip off.
Lay a wet blanket or a piece of felt on a table. With a rolling movement, press the mould onto it so the paper sheet is transferred onto the blanket.
Lay another wet blanket over the wet sheet of paper.
Lay the blanket-and-sheet “sandwich” between two pieces of chipboard. Use clamps to squeeze the water out.
Lay the blanket with the wet paper onto a drying table, with the paper facing down. Carefully pull the blanket back off the sheet.
Place each sheet of paper on a bed sheet, towel or piece of brown paper to dry.
Once your paper sheets are dry, stack them on top of one another and weigh them down with something heavy to press them even more. After a few days they will be nice and smooth.
The history of paper
The art of making paper by grinding and soaking vegetable fibres and pressing them together has intrigued mankind for almost 2,000 years. The technique was developed around 100 AD and is generally attributed to Cai Lun, an official at the imperial court in China. The invention spread west to the Islamic world in the mid-8th century.
The writing material papyrus, which was used in ancient Egypt and Greece, is a kind of fabric of dried, pressed strips from the stalks of the papyrus plant, and is not actually paper.