09 Dec

Handcrafting a mould and deckle for papermaking

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Here at TopShelf we’re all about finding different ways to incorporate plants in our daily life  and that of course includes crafting. Today, we’re offering a tutorial on building a handmade wooden mould and deckle for papermaking that you can use along with our papermaking recipe that involves using green tea and kratom for a unique, organically inspired handmade paper suitable for stationary, cards, origami and more.

Papermaking, at it’s very basic level, is simple enough for a child to learn, but the artform of handcrafting paper is developed enough that it can take a lifetime to master but one of the hundreds of styles and techniques.

All you need is a blender, basin, some recycled paper strips and a mould and deckle.

“But what’s a mould and deckle?”

It’s a fancy way of saying two separate frames of the same size. One just happens to have some sort of screening attached to capture the pulp product that is suspended in the “slurry” (what you call pulp mixed with water) in your basin.  The other frame we call the deckle. The deckle forms the tight seam of the edge of your paper (this is called deckling).

There, now that you know some basic paper jargon and the idea behind how it works. Let’s get started.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED

A couple of picture frames, just the frames, no glass or backing.
Some sort of wire mesh like window screen which can be purchased in rolls at any hardware store (aluminum, not fiberglass)
Wood sealant (preserves your wood so you don’t have to worry about it warping after use)
Staple gun

First cut a swatch of your screen. Make sure it measures slightly larger than your frames (which should be identical in size and shape) so that a bit will hang over each end.

Staple your screen to the flush end of the frame.

Next you’ll want to trim off the edge of the mesh screen and you can weatherproof your papermaking tool with duct tape or wood-stripping tape or, for an attractive finish, use some wood sealant and varnish.

Now you’re ready to make paper.

Once you’ve set up your handcrafted papermaking tools you can start “pulling paper” the old fashioned way. Don’t forget to check out our handy paper recipe that includes green tea and kratom leaf powder for a unique, “rustic” look and a nice, mild earthy smell and hue to the paper.