Archives for category: recycling

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

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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

This artwork by Nathalie Boutté simply awed, amazed, and inspired me:

She recycles paper strips into these simple, yet obviously complicated, images:

I have some leftover strips of washi hanging around the office, literally, strips. I mean, tiny strips.  But let’s not give anything to waste. So, if anyone is willing to up-cycle and create something beautiful with it, give me a ring!

Nathalie's paper strips

Merci, Nathalie!

Have you ever been to Urciers, France?

I have not myself, but became curious about the place upon hearing about it from one of my colleagues.   She recently sold some fabric online to a customer there, and referred me to some pretty cool happenings in the center of France.

What most peaked my interest is a charming B&B  Sagrolle, where you can make paper out of recycled materials and plant fibers, as well as paint with earth pigments. Other workshops include mixed media and collage, as you immerse yourself in French country living.

Wouldn’t you love to vacation in a charming B&B in rural France, and hand make some paper to boot?

Shown below are some works by Debbie at Sagrolle. You can find more at her art site art-studio-36.  She  is currently working on making paper using a totally sustainable source of  willow fiber.  And as a truly green, earth-loving artist would do, she intends to convert the leftover hardwood branch cores into artist charcoal.

We look forward to seeing  the new works soon.  Go Debbie!

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As many of you probably read, Martha Stewart has recently joined the green movement: she is collaborating with KB Home to provide a line of green homes.  These homes would consume less energy than it produces over a course of a year, considered as a net-zero energy home.

Anyone can help their workplace become a net-zero space.

Here are Paper Connection International, we try our best to recycle, reuse, and be inventive with the way we do business.  Of course, we carry tree-free papers goods, but as far as office duties go,  for the past 15 years we’ve consistently maintained some earth-conscious habits,  continually striving for a net-zero office and warehouse.

As you peruse through our green gallery, please share any net-zero tips you practice at home or work.

Take a peek at our resourceful ways:

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Whatever packaging we receive with incoming shipments, we promptly store away to use for outgoing.  As many of you know, we send out our paper rolled. The tubes above were formerly used as the inner core for fabric bolts, but now are used as the inner support when we ship our precious paper.

Dec 1, 2010 was a lucky day or fateful day, not sure which….who am I kidding? It’s usually a little of both.  Visited my friend at her new digs in the best part of Tokyo…”Azabu”; more specifically Azabu-Juban.
Azabu Juban is exactly the neighborhood of one of my all-time favorite stores “Blue & White”, founded and run by Ms. Amy Katoh.  As we strolled over to the shop close to its closing, a spry, silver-haired woman passed us by…heading in the same direction.  Although it had been several years since going to the store and seeing Ms. Katoh- I just knew it had to be her.

Sure enough, there she was, when we entered the store.  I had a brief- but-inspiring discussion with Amy, who pointed that it was her store’s 35th anniversary.  Since we were so close to Tokyo Midtown, she recommended we see a show at 2121 Design Sight at Tokyo Midtown;  walking distance from Blue & White.

Amy thought I should see the exhibit mainly because of the paper lanterns. One mention of the mathematically-folded paper lanterns by Jun Mitani+WOW, “in the same vain as” Isamu Noguchi‘s lanterns, and I was ready to go.

On the way to 2121 Design Sight my friend and I enjoyed the outdoor illumination display in front of Tokyo Midtown.  Now, past sundown, luckily the gallery was still open.

To my pleasant surprise, the exhibit turned out to be so much more than paper lanterns! The exhibition was probably the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in years.  Coordinated by none other than the clothing designer, Issey Miyake, with a group of collaborators from many different fields: earth science, geometry, textile manufacturing, recycling plants, sculptors, etc. The name of this exhibit is Issey Miyake Reality Lab .   Mr. Miyake and associates have more than inspired me to breathe new life into the paper world.

Who wrote this desk?

The desk in the architecture library at  Delft University of Technology is made from recycled books.

Found via illusion 360

Now this is really recycling…

Crafted by Anastassia Elias

I missed salsa night at Waterfire in Providence this summer.  Thanks to artist Anastassia Elias, I get to imagine myself there inside this little world.             Check out more of her amazing work here:

found via illusion 360