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Lesson Plans

Re: Papermaking/casting

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Teresa Tipton (tiptonist)
Fri, 24 Dec 1999 17:59:06 EAT

I have done papermaking and papercasting for about 15 years with students
and have found that casting onto Handiwipes to be the easiest way to get the
paper to release from the object. I have also used plasticene as the casting
material which works the best for recycling shapes and providing

Using recycled computer paper mixed with about 10% cotton linters is the
cheapest paperpulp to make. In Africa, I don't have access to the cotton
linters so I use 100% recycled paper. It tears more easily but is still
fully functional.

I use kitchen blenders to mix the pulp. I actually was going to recommend to
the person who only had $50 in his art budget to buy two blenders, set up a
papermaking studio, and fund his program with selling handmade paper
products...because once you start papermaking with students, they don't want
to stop! For screens, the easiest is to use a picture frame covered with
very fine screen door screening. Ideal is to use actual papermaker's screen
material, as the pulp will stick more to the screen door material, but it is
cheaper and easily available (in America). In Africa, I use heavy duty
mosquito netting.

You can cast over any object that is not a paper product but you can put
vaseline over the surface if you are concerned about sticking or are using
pre-fab paper molds. Vaseline is very expensive where I live so we use car
grease. Casting onto a sheet of plexiglas creates the ideal finished surface
and is the easiest to remove. But again, where I am living now, we don't
have access to it. The handiwipes are a good alternative because they can be
laundered. In Africa, we don't have handiwipes, but the "J" cloth is a good
substitute. If you have a large scale project such as casting over a tree
limb, you can strengthen the pulp by putting cheesecloth into it and
layering another layer of pulp over it.

There are also many good texts on the subject, including the classic Heller
work, Papermaking.

Teresa Tipton
International School of Tanganyika, Ltd.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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