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banana_legs
12-13-2009, 04:46 PM
In a quest for more consistent printing results, and to save cost, I embarked on making my own paper. I tried by re-cycling copier paper but discovered when they say 'non acid' they really mean 'highly alkaline'!

After much experimentation I am now getting pretty good at making paper! At last I have a paper base and sizing method that is so far repeatable, although I plan to make another batch of paper this week as the ultimate test.

The shot below is on hand re-cycled copier paper (hence the small black dots which occasionally are visible as partial letters).
The paper normally has a pH of about 9, so I added hydrochloric acid to reduce it back to neutral. The paper has a weak internal size of PVA glue to help improve the wet strength, then 3 coats of 3% gelatine (unhardened). I then print with the classic 1A:1B single coat cyanotype, and after washing and drying, soak the paper in an alum solution (5g to 1L water) to harden the gelatine and act as a preservative. The shot was made using a lens in this case as I wanted an image with good detail as a test.

Best regards,

Evan Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/cyano_full_test_small_4223.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/cyano_full_test_small_4223.jpg)

taco
12-13-2009, 05:46 PM
In a quest for more consistent printing results, and to save cost, I embarked on making my own paper. I tried by re-cycling copier paper but discovered when they say 'non acid' they really mean 'highly alkaline'!

After much experimentation I am now getting pretty good at making paper! At last I have a paper base and sizing method that is so far repeatable, although I plan to make another batch of paper this week as the ultimate test.

The shot below is on hand re-cycled copier paper (hence the small black dots which occasionally are visible as partial letters).
The paper normally has a pH of about 9, so I added hydrochloric acid to reduce it back to neutral. The paper has a weak internal size of PVA glue to help improve the wet strength, then 3 coats of 3% gelatine (unhardened). I then print with the classic 1A:1B single coat cyanotype, and after washing and drying, soak the paper in an alum solution (5g to 1L water) to harden the gelatine and act as a preservative. The shot was made using a lens in this case as I wanted an image with good detail as a test.

Best regards,

Evan

Maybe a very stupid question but how did you apply the cyanotype coat (I suppose a glass rod or something similar). But the more imortant for me: Do you have any idea of how much in grams per square meter (or for non-Europeans in ounces per square inch) you applied?
Greetings,
taco

earlj
12-13-2009, 05:47 PM
That's an interesting result, Evan. I think that with this image, the black spots do not detract. Did you break the paper down into pulp and then press it back into sheets? Should I start saving the lint from the dryer in order to make paper for prints?

Keep us informed - this is fun to see.

renon
12-13-2009, 06:46 PM
An excellent test picture and an interesting project; to survive in the digital age after all companies gave up to produce analogue material ( :) ).

banana_legs
12-13-2009, 07:00 PM
Hi Taco,

I should have said that the sheet is 8"x10" in size and I use 1ml of part A and 1ml of Part B to coat it (sorry about mixing units!). I use a pastry brush to coat the paper as it is really cheap and has no metal ferrule (my wife does have her own for making pastry). I do dampen the brush before I coat as with only 2ml of mixture, a dry brush can grab most of that.

Earl,
I shredded the paper first to make it easier to handle, then gave it a blast in the blender. I tend to really mince most of the paper to get a fine pulp, but then do a few sheets coarsely as well to try to get some fragments with lettering on. As a guide to proportions, I fill a 1Litre jug with shredded paper (crosscut; not squashed in, but not too loose either) and that just fills my blender. I add 1/2Litre of boiling water to the blender and give it a good blast. In my last batch, I made '6 litres' (i.e. 12 fills of the blender) of paper pulp. I had to add 1/2 litre of 10% Hydrochloric acid to get the paper to pH neutral (the pulp fizzed like crazy so you need a big bucket!) I then mixed 200ml of PVA glue slowly with water to thin it and topped the jug up to 1L; I then added this to the pulp. I put 2L of water in a bowl and then added 3 x 250ml cups of pulp; 1 cup of pulp gives me about 2 sheets of paper (the paper is thin). I got just over 60 sheets from the mix.

Best regards,

Evan

EDIT: I did try adding lint from the drier; all of the kids clothes are quite dark though and our lint is nearly always a dark purplish colour which does darken the paper somewhat. The long fibres do help to increase the wet strength of the paper so it is worth doing if you can. I plan to try adding some cotton wool to a batch to see how it looks with the white fibres.

banana_legs
12-14-2009, 07:21 PM
I have just made another batch of paper (hanging to dry beside me). I tried with half of the PVA glue this time and 38 sheets of A4 copier paper filled the blender 6 times (3Litres of pulp in total) and made a total of 32 sheets of 8"x10" paper.

I have been trying to split-tone the cyanotype images using calcium carbonate as a bleach. I have had great success in the past using shop-bought water colour paper where I get a fantastic blue-yellow split. With the slightly acidic hand made paper though, the blue just bleaches out and does not split to a yellow tone!

Thus for this batch of paper, I have made 17 sheets which are pH 9 and 15 sheets which are pH6.5. I will see if the split toning needs an alkaline paper for best effect, or if it is the simple gelatine size that is stopping the yellow.....

Regards,

Evan