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Today is quite possibly the first time that paper has been recycled in Sachkhere… and it turned out kinda crummy, but still pretty cool. As a proof of concept to show folks, it works, even if the results aren’t terribly stellar, yet.

Nini, Tiko, and Soso cutting up the parts for the frame.

Nini, Tiko, and Soso cutting up the parts for the frame.

The process was a bit more involved as all of my power tools are on loan (still). However, all my family favorites came out to help. Gocha showed me some wood I could use to build a frame. The girls insisted on taking turns with the hand saw. Even babua Soso took an interest, going so far as to take me to the local birzha to borrow some better wire cutters. This made the experience more fun; though, the kids were not terribly impressed with the results, and were all “why?” over the notion of making my own paper. But when they got to see the final, dried out paper, they seemed to love it.

I clearly need to rework the wire mesh screen. The one I got from the bazaar was coiled, which caused issues. Stapling it to the sides instead of the face, and then pulling it tight before stapling it to the opposite side should work. I was worried that the holes in the mesh were too large, but they turned out OK. It will probably also work better to affix a second frame temporarily to the first, laying it on top of the wire mesh would help ensure the paper’s dimensions and make it easier to remove the paper. I may even just skip the wire mesh altogether and go with cheesecloth or similar; though, I would worry that the paper fibers would cling to it too much.

Part of me really just wants to use picture frames, but that would be expensive. One the other hand, I have been shown an old bedframe that I could use for really big paper. I would just need a large enough tub to be able to dunk it in.

Wax paper or similar would also assist with the drying process, allowing me to press water out without it sticking to my hand. I’ve read that felt also works well for this.

The process would also clearly benefit from bleach. Not strictly environmentally friendly, but it would improve the quality of the end paper. Something to consider once the mechanical process gets worked out.

Clearly, this is a work in process, but the signs are good.