Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

In the spirit of Earth Day I decided to try and "recycle" our old paper into new. Having experimented before with handmade paper, I wanted to try something a bit different. I wanted my paper to be shaped, yes I know that I could just make the paper and then cut it out, but I wanted it to be a bit thicker and have more definition along the edges than a typical die cut, not to mention texture. So I decided to try and make a paper mold and deckle using my Fiskars  USX Shape Templates.

Supplies needed:
Old paper-anything without a glossy coat works, copy paper, newspaper, paper towel etc.  Traditional card stock works as well but I found the heavier paper needed to soak in water for awhile before the blending in step 2.

Screen- if you have an old screen you can cut that up or pick up some inexpensive household screen at the hardware store

Binder Clips
USX template of choice (I used woodland tree, and cupcake)
cookie sheet

Optional: rolling pin

Step 1: Tear your paper up into 1 inch squares, place into a bowl with enough water to cover the paper allow to soak.

Step 2: In the meantime create your mold and deckle. Your mold is the screen that what you paper will be created on. The deckle is the edge that will shape the paper in this instance you are going to use your USX template. Take the screen and attach it firmly to the template using the binder clips. Pull tightly as you don't want there to be space between the screen and the template. I found there is an edge to the templates and therefore you will have less seepage if you flip your template upside down. This will help prevent some of the seepage that naturally occurs.

Step 3: Using your blender, add a couple of handfuls of the wet paper and then enough water to blend easily. This will be kind of trial and error depending on how heavy your paper is. The thicker the paper the more water you will use. BUT the more water you use the longer it will take your paper to dry. To start try about 4 cups of paper scraps to 2 cups of water. Blend until the paper pulp starts to look like wet cotton.

Step 4: Fold up a towel and line your cookie sheet with it. Place your USX mold and deckle on top of the towels. Using your hands fill the shape with the paper pulp packing it in. Make sure you not only fill the corners but that you get an even layer of pulp. If some spots are too thin it will cause your paper to either loose shape or tear easily.

Step 5: Once you have a nice thick layer of pulp, start working the water out of the paper. To start you can use your hands, as it gets drier you can even place an additional towel on top and use a rolling pin to work out water. Change the towels as necessary.

Step 6: Allow to dry. Depending on the thickness of the paper, moisture in the pulp and air this can take anywhere from several hours to a day or longer. If you wish to speed up the process and don't mind your shape a bit "flatter" you can carefully un-mold your paper and use an iron on it. Be careful to press firmly down without shifting. Like any paper it tears easily when wet.

Step 7: Remove your paper mold. You may notice some rougher edges if pulp seeped under the edges, this is easily removed with scissors or a bit of sand paper depending on the thickness of your paper.

The finished paper has the feel and weight of an egg carton.Your shapes can vary in thickness anywhere from a heavy textured paper to almost a paper clay texture that is the thickness of chipboard depending on how thick you applied the paper pulp.

The paper you have created is fun to ink as the texture of the paper pulp provides an interesting texture.

As of this writing my tree was STILL drying, but my squirrel was dry as was the acorn so I decided to create this card:

"Nuts About You"
Supplies used: Fiskars USX template-Woodland Tree, Cardstock-Bazzill, Patterned Cardstock-Fancy Pants-Childlike, Ink-ColorBox Q stack( Chocolate and Blueberries), Fiskars LED Rotary Trimmer with straight and deckle blades, gemstone, Metallic Rub-on-Craft T (Set #2), Stamp Font- Embellish It (Basic Type,) glue dots, glue glider perma tac.

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