Hi, Arnold. I like to make my own cards using rubber stamps and think it might be fun to make my own paper, too. Is handmade paper good for stamping? Thanks! Terry
Hi, Terry. While this depends on the stampers expectations and requirements, the answer is certainly yes! An awareness on how the paper industry makes paper can give the hand paper maker lots of clues on steps that will give handmade paper the optimal surface for stamping.
Machine-made paper is specifically engineered to provide a surface that will deliver a clear image for printing or stamping. Paper mills use additives in pulp to control the spread of ink. They use pressure and uniform drying to make sure the paper is smooth, and sometimes apply coatings or ‘glazings’ to make sure the paper will deliver a perfect image. Hand paper makers can similarly engineer their paper surfaces to receive inked images like stamping. Here is how!
Make paper by recycling printing papers such as stationary, envelopes, or fliers. This provides handmade sheets with built-in additives meant to make good surfaces for images.
SECOND: SMOOTH THE SURFACE
Use pressure to help level the surface of the paper. This compacts the sheet, squeezing the fibers closer together. To press, put a new wet sheet between absorbent materials such as couch sheets, felts, or thin layers of cloth. Apply pressure by placing the sheets under a stack of books or between boards under cement blocks. The more pressure the better. You can also purchase a press for the purpose from the Arnold Grummer’s shop.
THIRD: ADD SIZING
Sizing is the additive in paper that reduces the spread of ink. Simple ways exist to add sizing to recycled paper if more is needed. The easiest for home paper makers to use is the wax found in white bakery sacks. Add a 2” x 2” piece of white bakery sack to the paper you are recycling for your sheet. Or equally simple, let any handmade sheet dry then place a piece of waxed bakery sack over it. Make sure the waxed paper is large enough to cover your handmade sheet. Apply a hot iron. The heat will cause the wax to migrate from the waxed paper to the surface of the handmade paper. You can also try spraying your handmade paper with spray starch then re-drying it with an iron!
These simple papermaking techniques for the stamper will provide thousands of variations in individual sheets. Even so, a stamper might want an image stamped directly onto handmade paper to make a statement, invoke a mood, or enhance artistic design.
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