After doing some researches online and readings articles and books about how to make natural and simple inks, I decided to experiment my first ink with coffee and tea.
My husband is a coffee lover. I emptied the content of an already used coffee capsule to do my ink. I understand that I started with a lighter coffee that I would have if I was used new coffee, but it is always important for me to think of recycling (or second use items) before doing a project.
I use 4 larges capsules and only 1/4 cup of boiled water and I transferred the coffee 5 times to get a deeper brown color. To preserve my ink, I added a bit of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. The ink color was a light brownish and dried the same color.
I am the tea lover at home, so I thought it could be a good idea to make some ink with pure Hibiscus herbal tea. I bought this delicious tea in a local shop called "Experience Tea", months ago.
I poured boiled water over the tea, set it aside for few minutes then added 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to get some thickness, (more like paint than ink) and a bit of vinegar. I drained the ink through a sieve and let it aside for 30 minutes.
My daughter had some fun with! The color was like a mat pink but turned into a nice grey after an hour.
I really wanted a pink/reddish color so I tried it again but I did not add any cornstarch. That ink was a bright reddish pink, that turned into a beautiful blue-violet on the paper.
I finally tried something else. I dipped a piece of fabric (an old white cotton pillow cover) into the pink ink then let it dry overnight.
In the morning I expected to find a nice blue-purple result, but the fabric stayed pink!
It might sound crazy but I have never had the opportunity to learn how to make my own paper. I surely knew the process, very close to the papier mache technique, I also like to use Nepalese and Lokta paper to cover my cardboard furniture, but I never made a single paper sheet myself!
The experience was very exciting.
I first watched videos and tutorials online. I saw people using newspaper, white paper, colored paper, even fabric, like denim! I also learned how to make your own mold.
A month ago, I borrowed a book at the library, "The Organic Artist" by Nick Neddo and read a lot about sustainable art, how to make your own paint, ink, and of course paper... It's fascinating!
I am now ready to build my mold. I went to the closest "second hand shop", and bought a blender and a picture frame. I had an old chair at home, and decided to use the fabric to cover the picture frame. Since we are about to change some of our defiant window screen, I cut a piece, and then cut rectangles in an old bedding linen to make my drying station.
I set up my Papermaking station, in my garage, and mixed newspaper and falling leaves in the blender to do my pulp. I poured the pulp in the vat, scooped my mold in the vat and.... nothing happened! The fabric that I used to build my mold was waterproof! (See the last picture, no water drops)
I switched the waterproof fabric for a bedding fabric and the water went through it, slowly. I noticed that even if I stapled the fabric very tight on the frame, a puddle was formed in the middle of my mold, it probably comes from the fact that that type of fabric is a little elastic. I finally drained my paper sheet with a sponge, and let it dry for 24 hours. It turned out beautiful!
It was such a great experience, I invited my kids to try it out and they really enjoyed it. We set up a station outside and played with paper, grass, faded flowers and leaves.
My next step is to improve my mold (why not a shape!) and add natural colors to my handmade paper.
I spread the word in my community, the school is interested in having an activity in Spring such as paper making, and I plan to share my learning with my upcoming classes.