Thursday, April 1, 2010

We did it! Paper!

We made paper! It was easy.....
After seeing some grasses from last year decomposed, flattened and dried in sheets that looked like paper in the field, August said, "Hay, what is this, it looks like paper!" (Some weird freak of nature had sheets of "grass" bleached and paperlike....)
I said paper can be made from grass....of course he wanted to make paper.
He grabbed a handful of grass (Winter Rye to be exact - and I only know this as it's our cover crop.....) and stuck it in water.
There it sat for a few days.
Momma got on the puter.
The internet is a wonderful thing.
Unscientifically, without measuring anything, we made paper from scratch!
Step 1: Pick grass, cut into 1-2 inch pieces, blend in food processor - the ONLY blend we did.
Add to pot with water.
Cook on stove for a little while - an hour maybe 2.
Step 2. Take ashes from woodstove.
Add water. Let sit.
Filter off some liquid (caustic soda)

Took awhile - sieve and filter clogged a lot.
Took clearish filtrate and poured into grass mixture.
It started foaming immediately. (Caustic soda breaking down cellulose)
We cooked a bit and then left sit on the stove for a week or so.
Stink doesn't describe the smell.

Wash grass fibres.....poured grass mixture into sieve, put grass back in bowl, filled with water and repeat....until the water is almost clear.....

The delay on the stove was caused as I realized we needed a fancy wood framed screen thingy to lift the paper fibres out of the water....
until I figured out I could use a bacon grease splasher stopper. (Technical term)
We put the bacon screen (bend handle up) in the bottom of the big stainless steel bowl (oops have I forgotten to mention everything MUST be stainless steel??)
Poured grass/water mixture in carefully. We let it settle a bit, stirred it around gently to even it out, and then carefully lifted screen out......
Turned upside down on to some clothe diapers on a cookie sheet
Let dry in front of woodstove.

Unbleached paper!
It's a little wrinkly but definately paper.
Very very cool!
Helpful websites:
Paper making (Caustic Soda instructions)
PS I'm not kidding with how I did it. Totally slap dash and it worked!!!
Kind of the way I follow recipes..........
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1 comment:

Kez said...

That is so cool! We've done it using recycled paper, but from scratch is very impressive!