All About Cotton Linter

Cotton linter shred pulp in package

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.

Cotton linter pre-shred

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.

Paper casting mold

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!

9 thoughts on “All About Cotton Linter

  1. Thanks for the useful info.
    BTW, isn’t this cotton linter used for face masks too? Industries use it to manufacture a special fabric for the masks…. I’ve just heard but not sure about it.

    1. Leandro, thanks so much for chiming in with your comment. I had to do a little digging, but thanks to you found that you are correct. Cotton linter is used in some face mask production. Follow this link to learn more.

      Kim Grummer

  2. Hi there! Looking to buy cotton liner but only can find the sample pack. Do you sell it individually?

  3. Hi, are you USA or UK based? I’ve only ever used sheet based linters and would like to buy more, but perhaps also try the pre shredded. Is there an advantage to pre shredded other than speed/ease of use? I work in large amounts so economy useful. Any tip s on dying the pulp?

    1. Hi Jo, you’ll just have to try it and find out. Printed papers certainly have some amount of sizing, and some amount of it will be retained in recycled pulp. Whether it’s enough to ‘size’ a sheet with new fiber like cotton linter is hard to say. Feel free to share your results here. You can find lots of info and papermaking tips on this chat group: Be sure and look through the archived information before asking the group your question. It may have been covered already. Be careful – once you start digging in the archives you may get lost in there, so much to learn!

    1. Hi Stacy, unfortunately we’ve been unable to replace the shredding service we used for years. The company was sold and no longer offers this service. We have cotton linter in sheet form. Apologies – we miss this product as much as our customers! Kim

  4. Hello,
    I am trying to learn more about the process involving making cotton linters into paper. You say that the pulping process removes naturally occurring waxes and extractives to expose the cellulose, do you know what chemicals they use to remove the waxes? What do you mean by extractives?
    How do know where I could get more information about this?
    Thank you!

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