How Do You Make Rag Paper?

To prepare rags for paper, simmer some cut up pieces of cotton or linen with baking soda, strain the pieces, then use a blender, papermaking screen, wooden frame, press bar and window screen to make the paper. The process takes a couple of hours.

  1. Prepare the rags for paper

    Cut up old linen or cotton sheets into little pieces, and simmer them at a low boiling temperature in a non-aluminium pot containing a small amount of baking soda. After about an hour, rinse the pieces through a strainer to remove all of the baking soda.

  2. Make and mix the pulp

    Put some of the fabric in a blender, and blend until you have a fine-grade pulp. Continue blending a little bit of fabric at a time until you blend it all. Fill a tub with warm water, and pour the pulp inside. Move the pulp around with your hand until you have mixed it well with the water.

  3. Dip the papermaking screen into the water

    Holding your papermaking screen with the screen side toward you, dip it into the tub of pulp and water vertically, making as little movement as possible. Once it has hit the bottom, turn the screen horizontally. Pull the screen straight up so the pulp is evenly distributed along it. If the pulp is not evenly distributed, remove the pulp, and repeat this step from the beginning.

  4. Press out the water

    Put the screen into an empty tray to catch the water, and put an empty wooden frame on top of the tray, matching the sides with the papermaking screen so as to create a feathered edge. Remove the wooden frame carefully, and put a piece of window screen on top of the pulp. Use a press bar to press the water out of the pulp, and wipe the water out of your tray with a towel.

  5. Remove the sheet, and dry

    Carefully release the sheet from the screen onto a piece of paper, and hang it up to dry.