Archives for posts with tag: DIY

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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We met Helen Hiebert back in the early ’90s, in SoHo, NYC at Dieu Donné Papermill , and have since watched her blossom into truly a paperwoman extraordinaire.

In our conversation below, we discuss handmade paper with Helen, who has cultivated a solid reputation as an educator, artist, writer and champion of the art of paper.  Enjoy her musings on handmade paper, altitude, and insight on her techniques, as well as what new paper goodies she is offering this time of year!

PCI:  What first attracted you to papermaking?

HH:  The fact that I could make paper from the ground up. I was involved in a community garden in NYC when I first learned to make paper at Dieu Donné Papermill, so I was learning about growing plants for the first time. When I discovered papermaking, I was intrigued by the fact that I could grow and make the raw material, and then continue working with it by making art.

PCI:  Would you say your approach to papermaking is more scientific or do hope to achieve a certain aesthetic goal? Do you aim to create your papers as a base for your artwork?

HH: To answer the first part of that question, I think I do both: I have an experimental approach to working with abaca – testing its strength and ability to become translucent and shrink in relation to various things I interject into the process (embedding string and wire for example, or nailing wet sheets to a board, thus interrupting and altering the drying process). But when I am working on a particular project, like Mother Tree or The Wish, I do have an aesthetic goal, and I choose from my reportoire of techniques to order achieve these goals. And to answer the second part of the question: I do not see myself as making papers as a base for my work but as the material that I’m most likely to work with.

The Wish, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Wish, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Mother Tree, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Mother Tree, installation by Helen Hiebert.

PCI: How have traditional Asian papermaking methods influenced your papermaking?

HH: A trip to Japan in the late 1980’s inspired my interest in handmade paper. I saw handmade papers in shops and was struck by the light filtering through the traditional shoji screens at the inn where I was staying. This was not a paper trip, but rather a trip to visit my father who was working in Japan, so it was purely inspirational. But that trip became the beginning of my career! Upon my return to NYC where I was living, I began looking for ways to return to Japan to learn papermaking. I remember visiting an out-of-the-way bookstore and purchasing Sukey Hughes bookWashi, and I think I purchased Tim Barrett’s book around that time. When I was researching ways to travel to Japan (i.e. an income stream) I discovered Dieu Donné Papermill and volunteered there for a short time. Then I became Program Director and worked there for six years. I never went back to Japan (not yet at least) and I learned all about Western papermaking and creative papermaking techniques.

PCI:  We absolutely love this video of children learning papermaking at Dieu Donné, as featured on Sesame Street! Spot Helen @ 00:25, 00:39, and 1:47.  The other artist is Robbin Ami Silverberg, who now runs her own papermill in Brooklyn.

PCI:  How has your growing knowledge of papermaking influenced how your work has evolved?

HH: I’m not sure this is an answer to your question, but I would expand it to include all of the paper arts. I have a fascination with graphic design and product design, and I’m always looking at materials and products and thinking about how they might translate in paper. I’m also obsessed with techniques that other artists are discovering, and I don’t think that the potential of paper has been fully explored. I’m more concerned with expressing my ideas through paper (and other materials) rather than expanding my knowledge of papermaking, although I’m certainly influenced by what I see and discover.

http://www.paperconnection.com/laurelai-designs

100 x 100 Paper Weavings #51; © 2013 Helen Hiebert Studio, Paper Connection’s Laurelai Design series & Hark! Handmade Paper

PCI: You recently moved from Portland, Oregon, to Colorado. How has the water,  altitude, and all around general move affected your papermaking and work?

HH: People told me my work would change when I moved, but I’m not sure that it has significantly. Part of this might have to do with the fact that most of my projects take years to realize. I’ve also moved a lot, so perhaps that is just part of my being. I miss the artist community I developed in Portland, and my paper dries much quicker here in Colorado.

PCI: You recently completed a trip to Europe. What were some highlights? Anything that would find its way incorporated into your next pieces?

I taught a workshop and lectured at the Papierwespe in Vienna.  Beatrix Mapalagama, the owner, has a great little business in Vienna, providing workshops in all facets of paper. I enjoyed the time I spent with her as well as the teaching.

Artists' books in a Venice window, Italy.

Artists’ books in a Venice window, Italy.

And it was a treat to visit Fabriano in Italy –to see all of the historic equipment and watermarked papers and to participate in the IAPMA (International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists) Congress.  Jocelyn Chateavert gave a demonstration which sparked several new ideas for working with abaca.  I was also able to visit Roberto Mannino’s studio in Rome as well as his permanent paper installation at the Graphic Institute in a building right above the Trevi Fountain.  It is wonderful to be able to share time, stories and ideas with other artists who work in similar ways.

Fabriano IAPMA Congress venue.

Fabriano IAPMA Congress venue.

Jocelyn Chateauvert prepares for her demo, Fabriano.

Jocelyn Chateauvert prepares for her demo, Fabriano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biking with friends in Germany.

Biking with friends in Germany.

Herr Chmel's paper theater, Vienna, Austria.

Herr Chmel’s paper theater, Vienna, Austria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PCI: Do you prefer making paper, working with paper, writing, or teaching? What aspects of each of these do you enjoy?

HH: Good question! Part of this has to do with making a living. Years ago, I looked at my income to see which of these areas was most profitable. And you know what? It was pretty even across the board. That told me two things: 1: I could choose one direction and put all of my energy there; or 2: I could continue to have several income streams. I really enjoy each of these facets and think that they play well off of each other.  Sometimes I make myself tired because I can’t turn off the ideas. Lots of them go by the wayside, and others stick.  This keeps me ticking.

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

PCI: We are certainly glad you keep active in all fields, and keep those ideas coming! Which artist(s), past or present, would you like to have a conversation with? What would you say about paper?

HH: I’d have to say Eva Hesse, and I would discuss our shared fascination with materials, among other things.  I’ve always thought that she would have loved paper… and she lived really close to Dieu Donné, (although it wasn’t there yet – she died in 1970 and it was founded in 1976). I sometimes fantasize about how we walked along the same streets of New York.

 

 

PCI: What is next for Helen Hiebert?!?

Per Helen’s blog, she posts this:

“A quick heads-up: next Friday through Sunday (11/28 – 12/1) I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on everything you find on my website. Playing With Paper Kits, How-to books, DVDs and art. It will be almost like you’re here shopping in my studio!”  

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

Earlier in the year, Helen  published a wonderful blog about Paper Connection.  We are so pleased to be collaborating more with Helen this year and re-developing a deeper paper relationship between us.

For more on Helen Hiebert, please visit the following:

Website: http://helenhiebertstudio.com/

Blog: http://helenhiebertstudio.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHiebertStudio

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.

mini notebook tutorial

Learn how to make a handmade mini pocket notebook!  The Paperwomen at Paper Connection wanted to share a DIY bookbinding demo for those of you who love books, beautiful paper and miniatures.

SUPPLY LIST

4 sheets for inside paper– 4×6 in.
1 sheet for cover paper– 4×6 in.*
*note: depending on the thickness of your paper, making the cover 4×6.25 inches is a good idea, so the pages don’t extend past the cover!
awl – pointy tool used in bookbinding.  Also a great crossword word!
bone folder
scissors -or a utility knife
linen thread-or any type of thread or twine
book binder’s needle

notebook supplies and paper

PAPERS WE RECOMMEND

You can use almost any paper you have handy, however, you will need a thicker sheet for the cover, because it needs to be durable.  The inside pages should be slightly thinner.  For this demo we used a natural lightweight lokta paper (25g/m²) from Nepal for the inside paper, and copper metallic and momi lokta for the covers.  We added a little brown asanoha patterned lace paper from Japan for decorative “end” sheets.  To see more paper choices, browse Paper Connection’s our online catalog.

STEP 1: FOLD SHEETS IN HALF

Your first step is to fold each of the 4×6 in. sheets in half lengthwise, and crease or burnish with a bone folder.

DIY three hole pamphlet

STEP 2: MEASURE 3 HOLES

Find the center at 2 in. and make a mark in the crease.  Measure 1/4 in. from both outside edges for the second and third holes.

how to make a pocket pamphlet by hand sewing

STEP 3: POKE HOLES WITH AN AWL

Carefully poke a hole with the awl through the center of the crease at each mark, making sure that all of your paper is lined up

book binding tutorial

STEP 4: SEWING

Start from the inside of the notebook at the middle hole and feed the needle and thread through all of the pages leaving two inches of thread to be tied off later.  Next, feed the thread back through the outside of the notebook at one of the outer holes and come back through the center hole.  Repeat this step with the opposite outside hole, but this time tie it off at the center instead of feeding it back through.

NOTE: We chose to place the knot on the inside of the book, but some people like to tie it off from the outside and leave a little extra thread or a bow.  To try it this way, reverse these instructions and start your sewing from the outside of the book instead of the inside.

pamphlet stitch instructions

And you’re done!

mini notebook pamphlet tutorial