Start ripping up your paper into the smallest size you can manage, no bigger than half inch by half an inch. Always rip up more than what you think you need, you can always use it later. When you've finished you need to soak your paper scraps in a bucket filled with water over night, don't completely cover the paper so it's floating you just need enough to soften it.
Prepare your area by laying down two towels and placing your water tub in the centre, a third towel should be next to it along with dry J-cloths.
Drain the water from your bucket and pour it into your blender, it should fill no more than half. Add your paper to the blender and give it a stir, the paper might soak up the water but you must not add any more water. Now blend on a pulse or low setting, stopping every ten seconds to check and restir. If your blender stops it's probably because you've added too much paper or it's clumped, simply stop and remove some. How much you blend depends on how thick you want your paper to be, the longer you blend the smaller the pieces of paper.
If you don't own a blender you need to check your paper scrap to see whether they're small enough, if not retear them.
When you've finished blending your paper pulp, pour the whole contents of the blender into your empty tub. Now fill the tub up to half with water and allow the paper pulp to settle in the water.
Push your screen or photo frame down to the bottom of the tub with the frame facing down, hold it there until the paper pulp has settled and quickly pull it back up. You should now have a layer of paper pulp on top of your screen.
Whip your finger around the edges to blunt the edges and gently press down to get rid of the excess water, now place a dry j-cloth on top of the paper layer and flip it over onto a towel.
This is the most difficult part of the tutorial, you need to peel the paper layer off the screen in tact. Start with the edges and always peel off evenly or you'll use a patch, if you do lose a patch then carefully peel it off the screen and back into the bare patch. Get some water and paper pulp from tub to fix around the edges.
You should end up with something similar to mine, hopefully a lot neater! Place another j-cloth on top and leave it to dry, it's best to place it near a direct source of heat such as a radiator. But never place it directly on top otherwise it'll dry in the shape of it, use a hairdryer to speed it up. If you've got access to a heat press I advise using that, cover it on either side with newsprint to protect it. Stand back once you've closed the lid because steam and maybe even water will seep out, leave for no longer than two minutes.
Once your paper has dried you can peel it away from the J-cloth.
Now it's time to clean up! Get your bucket ready and move the sieve through the water tub then over the bucket, if you're lucky enough your sieve will perfectly fit on top of the bucket. Leave the water the pour through and squeeze the paper pulp remaining, squash it into a ball and place it somewhere safe to dry. The paper pulp can be reused again and it'll be quicker next time, don't just pour the water tub down the sink because it will block horrifically. Continue this step until there's little pulp left in the water, the rest can be poured down the sink.
Whatever you do now with your paper is up to you but here's a few tips:
- You can machine embroider your paper but always place another piece of paper underneath to prevent ripping and regularly clean your machine as you go.
- This paper can be printed in many ways: monoprinting, open screen printing, photo stencil printing, stencil printing, etc.
- Add a tea or coffee bag directly to the blender and paper pulp to add texture and create an antique stain.
- While the paper is at Step 6 you can add yarn thread or printed text directly onto your paper, just add water and paper pulp to the edges to fix it in place.
- Add a tiny amount of dye to the blender and paper pulp.
- Strong colours are difficult to create, for example red is infamously hard. Instead of using red paper which would only lead to pink, use red tissue paper. The ink inside the issue paper will help naturally dye the paper pulp.
- Separately create different colours then mix them together in the tub, pink and purple work brilliantly together.