Archives for category: packaging

Sizing, dosa, wheat pasteMany of our readers are quite knowledgeable when it comes to sizing your own paper, especially sizing your “go-to” paper.

Here is a step-by-step “recipe” for cooking up your own sizing and applying it to your favorite Eastern paper.

The photos shown here are mostly depicting sizing made from wheat starch.  Nope!, it’s not a gluten-free, but not a problem for the paper, and a nice alternative to animal-based sizing.

Exciting news regarding plant-based sizing… last night we received a new Eastern paper, already pre-sized with devil’s root starch, “konnyaku” -no animals used at all with this process, only human labor.  Photos will be posted soon on social media.

We have entertained many varying viewpoints on sizing and sizing recipes. What are yours? Please share below, along with your experiences in making your own sizing. In the meantime, enjoy our sizing tests, made in our paper “kitchen”, here in Providence.

Adding sizing to paper affects the paper fibers’ sensitivity to humidity, absorption, and bleeding. There are many materials that can be used to size paper; we will cover the sizing procedure for gelatin size and wheat paste. It is not unlike cooking, where 90% of the procedure is preparation. This method allows for easy application with a large soft-bristle brush.

Gelatin Sizing Recipe:

This is the recipe for rabbit skin glue that can be used to size paper. (Please note: the gelatin size will need to be prepared 8-12 hours in advance.) What you will need:

  • Rabbit skin glue: 1/3 Cup (powdered or solid sticks)
  • Crystalline Alum: 1 Pinch (potassium aluminum sulfate)
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Soft-bristle brush

Step One: Soak the glue in a quart of cold water for several hours until it swells and softens. (With solid sticks this may take overnight or 12+ hours).

 

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue

 

Step Two: Once the glue has softened and become gelatinous heat in a double boiler. The mixture should be stirred continuously until the gelatin has dissolved and the glue has become one consistent solution. (Note: never allow glue to boil). Remove from heat and stir in 1 pinch of alum. Allow the glue to cool slightly and apply warm to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

The remaining size solution can be saved in a jar in the refrigerator, and only requires heating to be used again.

 Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat pasteSizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Wheat Paste Recipe:

This is the recipe for wheat paste that can be used to size paper.(Please note: the wheat paste will need to be prepared one day in advance.) What you will need:

  • Wheat starch: 1/3 cup
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Measuring cup (1/4 cup – 1/2 cup size)
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Nylon fabric

Step One: Fill the bottom of the double boiler with cold water and place on your heat source at a medium heat setting and bring to a low boil. (Alternatively, if you do not have a double boiler a glass jar placed in a saucepan works as well. Add enough water to submerge 1/3 of the jars height.) Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Two: While you are waiting, measure out your wheat starch and water. We used a 4:1 ratio. 4 parts water to 1 part wheat starch: 11/3 cup of water to 1/3 cup of wheat starch. Mix the starch and water together in the top pan of the double boiler, (or the jar for those who are not using the double boiler) Mix thoroughly, making sure none of the starch has stuck to the bottom. The resulting mixture should be an opaque white solution resembling milk.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Once you have mixed the ingredients place the pan over the boiling water (or place your jar in the pan) and stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. The mixture will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream and small “chunks” will begin to form. Continue stirring until smooth and the mixture has the consistency of custard.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Three: Now the mixture can be covered and allowed to cook over a low boil for 25 minutes, with a quick stir every 5 minutes. The paste should continue to thicken and become somewhat translucent as it cooks. After you’ve allowed the paste to cook, add small amounts of hot water from the pan to your mixture and stir until the paste is smooth and custard like.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Pour the paste from your pan into your designated container and allow it to cool in a refrigerator over night. This is to allow the paste to gel into a homogeneous solid.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Four: Once the paste has gelled, wring a small amount through a piece of fabric: nylon, cotton, handkerchief, etc… Slowly add small amounts of water and mix with a brush until the paste is thin enough to apply with a brush to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Remember: As with all size, test for each use, and dilute as appropriate. If in doubt, thin and apply multiple coats. Allow the paper to completely dry between each coat. The best way to learn how much size to use, and when to use it is through experience and experimentation.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste, gelatin, rabbit skin glue

DIY, upcycle, marbled paper, hand made, craft, containerHow about wrapping a simple empty cookie tin to pretty-up  your desk or kitchen storage, make a quick vase or gift?

After our last DIY tutorial, we felt ready to tackle wrapping a tin with some beautiful hand-made marbled lokta from Nepal to make a unique up-cycled object.

What you will need:

Frame supplies editTIN-1

Step One:

Cut down a piece of paper to the size of the tin, leaving about a 1/4 inch extra on the top and bottom and at least one inch added to the length.  Apply a coat of glue to the backside of the paper, and make sure you get all the edges.TIN-2Step Two:

Place the tin centered (vertically) on the paper leaving an extra 1/4 inch on the top and bottom to be folded over later.  Align the tin at one end of the paper and roll it slowly with two hands, smoothing the paper from the center out as you go.

TIN-3TIN-4

Step Three:

Pinch the extra paper around the edge of the tin on the top and bottom.  Cut out a circle big enough to cover exposed tin area on bottom and adhere cut circle with glue.  Burnish out any wrinkles and you’re done!

You can apply a clear coat of acrylic medium to the finished object to protect the surface, and add a slight sheen.  This will also make the colors appear more saturated.  You can also rub a clear wax candle (solid wax) to cover the paper to create a barrier, helping resist oil stains and fingerprints.TIN-5TIN-6

DIY, upcycle, patterned paper, lokta, washi, yuzen, frame, chiyogami, joss paperWe had so much fun with our last DIY tutorial, and with so many handmade papers at our disposal at the Paper Connection warehouse, we wanted to share some up-cycling projects using smaller decorative paper scraps and thrift store finds.  Have a small piece of patterned paper lying around from an old project?  Or an old frame?  If so, I bet you’ll love our new DIY demos!

For this demo, we used patterned lokta to frame a piece of Joss paper, a traditional Chinese gold leaf paper.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

wheat paste, patterned paper, lokta, washi, yuzen, DIY, upcycle, frame, chiyogami

Step One:

Place the frame on top of a piece of paper, trim it down so that there are approximately 1-inch borders around the edges.  Then, cut out a window in the center, leaving an extra ~1/4 inch.

Frame-cut-2Frame-cut-1Step Two:

Apply the PVA Glue to the front of the frame and place frame face down centered around the opening. We also included wheat paste on our supply list; takes a  little longer to dry, but creates a very strong bond with paper.  We used a sponge brush to apply the glue.

Frame-corner Step Three:

Using the right angle tool, cut a flap, to later be folded over. You can cut the flap a number of ways, we chose to follow around the frame clockwise, as opposed to lining up the top and bottom.  For the center opening, we eyeballed a 45-degree angle for the cut.

Step Four:

Apply the glue with the sponge brush to the flaps .  Frame-glue-flap

Step Five:

Fold the LONG side of the flap over FIRST.  If you mistakenly fold the short side over first, (like we did), just trim off the long part and if you are using handmade paper it is pretty flexible and you can stretch it to meet the other piece. Same rule applies to the inside flaps- getting a perfect 45-degree angle is difficult, so a little fudging while the flap is wet Frame-fold-backwith glue will allow for a certain margin of error.  Fold the extra paper around the back of the frame.

Step Six:   Burnish the face and edge of the frame with the bone folder to make sure there are no bubbles or creases.DIY, wrapped Frame, burnishing, patterned lokta paper

Step Seven:

DIY coaster, papercraft, yuzen paper, chiyogami

This step is optional, however, while you have all of your supplies out, use a scrap to make a coaster!  We used a a small piece of yuzen or chiyogami and a scrap of masonite.  You could also use an old coaster, or a scrap of wood.  Follow steps 1-6 and once you finish, apply the acrylic medium (also referred to as matte medium or gel medium) as a top coat to the coaster (and frame) for a slightly shinier, and better protected surface.  It will also make the color of whatever paper you use a little more saturated.  And you’re done! Frame-final-1

Frame-Final-4

How to wrap a cylinder,  coming in the next DIY tutorial.

For more interesting paper news, check out our Facebook page and our website Paper Connection.

You could say “I am my mother’s daughter”  in my love of folk art  and ephemera… apparently!  My mother’s collection through the years has inspired me to not only start my own collection, but to keep up with hers.  Although not technically folk art, she had amassed a collection of vintage Japanese wrapping papers and packaging.  “Vintage”, meaning, not from 1992, or (click here to see our sister shop on Esty) retro-looking replicas, but literally, “vintage”;4-5 decades oldwhich was stored away in the corner of her attic, waiting for her next mixed media collage.

Here are some of the many sheets I pored through, pondering if I could use them in my own artwork.  For now I will just add them to my personal ephemera collection.

See more at our flickr here.

2012 over!?!  That was amazingly quick. I guess I do spend much of my time on the road and it is clear traveling or rather “not being home” speeds up time!

To switch things up in my dual-life pattern, I spent the fall of 2012 in the East Coast of the US for a change.  First DC, then Cleveland (noted in the previous blog.  Early November started with a bang, with one the best Paper Connection Annual Holiday Warehouse sales ever!  Then, more excitement by mid-November, as my staff and I organized a 4-day visit from a Paper Rock Star guest-Ms. Aimee Lee in Providence, RI.  We had an awesome turn out for Ms. Lee’s hanji talk, demo and new book signing: Hanji Unfurled.  After Ms. Lee’s successful visit to Rhode Island, I got to enjoy a “real” Thanksgiving with relatives, turkey and pies; it had been many years!  Surely a day to recognize all that we have and all that we have in abundance.  November, 2012 was certainly packed full with a cornucopia of accomplishments; I am very thankful, no matter what month it is.

Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012

Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012

Pies Nov. 22, 2012

Pies Nov. 22, 2012

By December, 2012, my suitcase was re-packed, and currently I am back on the other side of the globe. Since I’ll be on the road again shortly; heading to Seoul next week, I thought I would turn to TWO past abundant Novembers.  Reflecting back as time springs forward.

November, 2011: Journeyed north to Tokohu- the Northeast of Japan: For several reasons, this voyage to Tohoku was quite meaningful, especially post the March 11, 2011 disasters. The main goal was to check on my very good friend, who had moved back to the Tohoku area on March 1, 2011, I hadn’t seen her family since 1986.  My friend warned me that all the coastal places we visited in 1986 “ARE GONE”, she wrote days after the tsunami hit. Another reason for going to Tohoku was to get a sense of the general post 3.11 feeling of the Tohoku survivors, where so many mingei-folk arts are/were born. The bonus of this trip was visiting with Mr. Koichi Odanaka at his studio.  It was my privilege to meet Mr. Keisuke Serizawa’s last apprentice.  I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories Mr. Odanaka told of his life with Mr. and Mrs. Serizawa in Tokyo. So it was a gratifying trip- educational and moving at the same time.Odanakas Work

Odanaka’s work is truly irresistible.  Although, it’s not something I stock at this point, I would like to support as many artists as possible in the Tohoku region of Japan.  Let me know if you’re interested in any of his work; I’ll see what I can do!   Here are a few of his stenciled items I purchased: calendar and textiles.

November, 2010: Traveled, by plane, to Toyama-ken for the first time ever.

Fuji from the plane.

Fuji from the plane.

Old Town of Yatsuo

Old Town of Yatsuo

For centuries Toyama was known as the main pharmaceutical producing area of Japan.  Back before plastic bottles with cotton stuffing, all medicines were wrapped with washi. The area was previously known as “Etchu” so the paper from the area is called “Etchu Washi”.

washi bags& wrappers for medicines

washi bags & wrappers for medicines

Of course, the need for washi dropped off with the invention of new packaging, but a young Mr. Yoshida, moved back to his hometown of Yatsuo, giving up a city life and a city job to start a washi-making mill in the small, well-preserved town of Yatsuo, not too far from Toyama City. Mr. Yoshida knew he had to make paper for new uses, so he decided to make kozo paper for artwork.  Mr. Yoshida befriended the katazome master himself, Mr. Keisuke Serizawa, while he was working up at Ogawamachi in Saitama, making his own paper for his stencil work.  Mr. Yoshida convinced Mr. Serizawa to try some Yatsuo paper (Etchu Washi) for his stencil work.  From that point forward, Mr. Serizawa used the kozo paper made at Mr. Yoshida’s newly fashioned mill.  FormingBlackKozosheetsIt was a start of what would become a long business relationship and friendship.  Both the Yoshidas and the Serizawa’s had a deep connection with mingei and both had the passion to carry the tradition of washi and katazome into the future.  Currently, the next generation of the Yoshida family run a paper shop, mill and incredible folk art museum, which houses the collection of the Yoshida parents.  Thanks to the friendship between the Yoshida family and the Serizawa family, this Yatsuo operation called Keijyusha continues to produce decorated katazome papers, stationery items and collectible calendars employing Serizawa’s original stencils.Lookforthesign

kakishibu paper "rug"

kakishibu paper “rug” in Museum.

There are still a few 2013 Serizawa desk calendars for sale at Paper Connection and many beautiful items in stock and for sale from this precious operation in Yatsuo.  Please call us or email us for more information.SerizawaProducts

Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc.

Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc.

Allyson is a local graphic and package designer who uses paper including our paper.  We are always happy to see her smiling face.  Below is Allyson’s use of our Lokta Brown Berry and Vine paper in the center note cube.

Our Lokta Brown Berry paper takes center stage as one of Allyson DuPont’s note cubes, as seen on etsy.

A RISD grad with a BFA in Graphic Design, Allyson runs her own design business while supporting disability advocacy projects through her work: website design, print design, branding and identity, and developing her own stationery and invitation line on etsy.

Please read (here) more about Allyson and why I was inspired to introduce you to her on this blog.

Thanks Allyson!  So glad you made the paper connection….

Back in the fall of 2011 I met this young, talented designer, while at the Kokeshi Festival in Tokyo.  I couldn’t resist but bring her irresistible designs to you, here in “America” via PaperNado.com.

These incredibly cute washi tapes, vintage patterned papers, letter sets and tiny messenger dolls; all just arrived!

Contact: info@papernado.com.

3-pk vintage patterned washi tape

Vintage Patterned Letter Sets

Tiny Messengers

Can you stand the cuteness?!

Yes, attached they ARE- by artist Ealish Wilson, who created these beautiful pieces over the summer.

The strings in question are mizuhiki-wound paper ties. Thanks Ealish for sharing your work!

Paper Connection has a vintage stock of mizuhiki– as shown in this photo below.   Not shown in the website, so don’t hesitate to call if you’re interested.

In mid-November, I attended the Kokeshi Festival in Koenji (southwestern Tokyo).  Many vintage doll collections were for sale, as well as modern items with kokeshi doll designs, such as, tenugui, letter sets, pochi bukuro (mini envelopes), t-shirts, etc.So many cute products are now produced with kokeshi designs; of course, paper goods, like stationery sets, but even washi tape with a kokeshi pattern is now available.

I probably received my first kokeshi in the 1970’s…so perhaps my collection is already considered vintage!?

Kokeshi and wooden, lathe toys are a big part of my personal collection.  I am so tickled to see that there has been a resurgence of interest in the world of kokeshi-another traditional folk art of Japan like paper.

The major tradtional kokeshi production area is Tohoku; North East Japan; This is the center where the major disasters occurred on March 11th.   By supporting these lathe artists they will be deterred from abandoning their home and craft passed down from previous generations.  The kokeshi makers need our encouragement and support  to continue  producing these special, wooden toys.

This map below shows 6 Prefectures of Tohoku, the North East region of Japan; Fukushima Prefecture on the left and Aomori Prefecture on the top right.

After my friend Rie went to visit the studio of Kazuki Yamane I was inspired to investigate further into the origata world.  I came upon the Origata Design Institute in Minami-Aoyama in Tokyo.  The Origata Design Institute, managed by Ms. Sugihara was established in an old-style shop. (An “old-school”  tradition taught in an old…school or rather old building). They offer origata workshops, upon the tatami platform, publish and sell books on the subject, and most of all, provide an inspirational place for folding enthusiasts to learn and meet other folders, and of course, a place  for artists to spawn ideas for collaboration.

During my short visit to Origata Design Institute, I met a paper folding artist Ms. Yuko Nishimura, who has shown at the Fuller Craft Museum, in Brockton, MA, not far from Paper Connection.  I also met a young wire artist, Mr. Yujin Hataguchi,  who created these postcards on left below from photos of his work.

Photos of goods at Origata Design Institute below.

Just two datys ago,  I saw another display of origata as soon as you enter the shop at the Origami Kaikan, which is located in another section of Tokyo.

Looks like interest in this ancient art is having a revival; it seems to be back in style.  It really is encouraging to see others promoting traditional arts as we do at Paper Connection. We teach in order to bring history to the present; so the new generation will adopt ideas invented in the past, re-interpret them with fresh eyes, and then incorporate them in their creative endeavors.