My wife recently wanted to make paper and with her equipment still located at our previous house I needed to put together something quickly and, most importantly for me, cheaply.
The end result was a relatively strong mould that worked a treat. Total time for construction was about two hrs including a quick trip to pick up some duct tape!
If you want to see how these are used, check out my wifes ible on making paper out of fabric. https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Paper-From-Pajamas/
Step 1: Material / Tools
I used pallet wood for the frames as that is what I had lying around. This project can be made even simpler by using a couple of matching picture frames.
The mesh needs to be fine enough to give a good surface for the paper to sit on but not so fine that water doesn't easily drain through it. I tried using the mesh out of an old microwave but that was too fine. In the end a discarded oil splatter guard was chosen. The mesh was falling off the frame but that just made it easier to upcycle into this project, if you need a new one they are only a couple of dollars from dollarama.
- Wood for the frames
- Fine mesh
- Duct tape
- Circular saw
- Staple gun
Step 2: Build - Deckle
As I was using recycled timber, the first step was to rip the planks down to a managable size. I made mine about 30mm wide as I wanted the frame to be sturdy.
Determine the dimensions of frame that you require. I maximised the size to match the mesh that I had. The size of the mesh exposed is the maximum size of the paper it will make. Cut and sand the pieces required for the frame.
To make construction easy, I used butt joints held together with a couple of screws. As I didn't want to buy anything, I needed to recess the screws a fair bit so that they held securely. A good tip when doing this is to put a bit of tape on your drill bit so all holes are recessed to the same depth.
You don't need to be overly picky about making the frames square. They do need to be in the ballpark but any paper made will be slightly uneven anyway - part of its charm!
Once the frames are complete, take one and lay the mesh over it (this will become the deckle. Use a staple gun to secure it. You need to get the mesh relatively tight. I put a staple in each side and then worked my way around the frame while keeping the mesh tight with my other hand. Cut away any excess mesh and cover with duct tape. The tape covers any sharp edges.
Step 3: Build - Mould
Foam strips are attached to the second frame to form the mould. There doesn't seem to be any right or wrong size for the foam strips. They just need to be big enough for the user to compress them slightly to form an edge when the paper pulp is being scooped up. I cut my foam out of some old packing material I had and then used contact adhesive to glue it down. Use the instructions on the glue and let it try for the correct length of time.
Step 4: Finished!
Thats it, finished! A basic and cheap mould and deckle that can be used multiple times.
Post Build Thoughts:
- The timber for the frame should have been ripped thinner. My wife has complained that it is a bit heavy for continuous use. Weight could have been saved by using smaller timber and gluing the joins to ensure the frame was still rigid.
- The frames should have been sealed. This hasn't been a problem for us and I don't think that they will be getting a lot of use but if you were going to make a lot of paper it would be worth sealing the timber before attaching the mesh and foam. In reality, the wood is free and if it falls apart I will make more!
- A larger deckle would likely need some support under the mesh. This could be acheived by adding a heavier grade of mesh under the fine mesh.