Cotton is a seed fiber commonly used for papermaking. When cotton is ginned it removes the long fibers from the seed. These fibers go on to make cloth and papermaking fibers called cotton rag. The seeds are then run through a machine called a linter. This machine removes the remaining short cotton fibers from the seed. The seed goes on to become cottonseed oil and also livestock feed. The short cotton fibers removed with the linter are papermaking fibers.
The cotton seeds are put through the linter twice and you will see cotton linter for sale as first cut linters or second cut linters. The second cut cotton linters are shorter than first cut cotton linters. These cotton linter fibers are then put through the pulping process to remove naturally occurring waxes and extractives to expose the cellulose. The pulp is pressed into sheets and dried. Sometimes you can find it pre-shredded which makes it easier to process using a blender.
But why would you want to use cotton linter in your papermaking projects? For one, the short fibers are perfect for paper casting! Paper casting molds have lots of lovely nooks and crannies that give depth and definition to the cast once it’s formed. Short fibers of cotton linters are just perfect for filling those spaces and dry into a strong and durable creation. The white of the pulp allows for decorating a paper cast in any way you desire.
Cotton linter can also be added to recycled pulp to add strength. Try cotton linter today – it’s sold in our shop in sheet form and pre-shredded form. You can use the sheet form in your blender too, just be sure to soak it in water first!
Check back later in the month when we will feature some paper casting projects and examples!