Introduction: Handmade Paper - Easier Way
I'm making handmade paper, and came up with an easier way to make small sheets. This might work for larger sheets as well, but as my current project uses smaller paper this is all that I've tried.
Buy two tiny wood picture frames from your local thrift store (I paid fifty cents each for these).
Remove the glass, photo, and retaining hardware from the frames,
Buy a pack of ScotchBright scrubbing pads (the green ones) or snag one from the kitchen.
Cut the scrubbing pad(s) to the size of the frames.
EDIT: I'm adding information here based on failures and successes last night. Photos to follow.
Buy some tulle ($1.50 a yard at the fabric store: get the fine version - as in 'tiny holes' of the stuff used for kids tutus)
Cut the tulle to be a bit longer than the ScotchBright pad(s).
Note: the tulle is used to make a smoother paper, and to allow easier release of the new paper onto the couch (the surface on which you dry the paper). Earlier I used glass - a sad mistake - and the surface tension was enough to pull it off the scrubbing pad. When I went to tulle-covered towels, the paper never released from the scrubbing pad. Adding a layer of tulle on the scrubbing pad solved this problem.
Place the scrubbing pad on top of the mold (your bottom frame, faced with the flat side up).
Place the tulle sheet on top of the scrubbing pad. Make sure it has no waves or wrinkles.
Add the deckle (the top frame, flat side down) gently onto the tulle-covered scrubbing pad.
Dunk your 'sandwich' into your pulp-water mixture.
Pull it out flat, shaking gently left-to-right then towards and away from you as the water drains to get more varied alignment of the pulp fibers.
Gently remove the deckle (the top frame), lifting it straight up so you don't disturb the wet paper. Set deckle aside.
Remove the mold (the bottom frame) from underneath the paper-tulle-scrubbing pad and set the mold aside.
Hold the tulle-scrubbing pad with the new sheet of paper so one corner is down, and let the water drain until the drips are infrequent (you'll get the feel for this pretty quick once you start doing it).
Place your tulle-scrubbing pad paper side down onto your couch (the thingy you let the paper dry on).
Most instructions suggest felt, a wool blanket, a reusable wiping rag, or construction paper. The photo shows me using glass in hopes of getting a smoother surface, a sad mistake (think 'superglue'). I ultimately found success using a bath towel covered by a flour-sack dish towel covered by another layer of tulle.
Press lightly to adhere the paper to the couch. Hold the tulle down with the fingertips of one hand, and peel the scrubbing pad off the tulle.
Set the scrubbing pad aside, and then gently peel the tulle off the wet paper you've just made. Start with one corner: if the corner of the paper comes up, try another corner.
When you've filled the towel (I got 20 small sheets on mine), slide the tulle (I had help) onto a dry towel, and let the paper air dry overnight.
Apologies for the photos showing me couching onto glass: really - do it onto tulle-covered towels. I'll try to get better photos up in a day or two.