Friday, 16 January 2015

Making Paper with a difference!

The new year has well and truly begun and with some new ideas and techniques.
I had for a long time wanted to make some paper at home and I have a mould and deckle kit, long unused. But I decided to make some paper with a difference, mushroom paper. I know that one of the best fungi for this is the birch polypore, Piptoporus betulinus. It's the perfect time of year for finding this mushroom on birch trees so I kept a look out and I found quite a few.

Growing on birch trees

An older specimen

A young ,fresh polypore

   I only needed one fairly young specimen so I carefully cut it from the tree. Then at home the mushroom was peeled and then cut up and blended in a blender into a gloopy pulp with some water. Then it was sloshed into a tray and ready for me to dip the deckle and mould into it.

Draining the water out from the deckle

This job was becoming messier (and smellier) by the minute and I think its best done outside or in a shed, not my kitchen! But I got my first layer draining and then tried to drop it out onto some jay-cloths and towels. This was the hardest bit as it wouldn't come away from the mesh easily. But after some fiddling and stressing it came out and was patted with a sponge to soak up the excess water. Next it was compressed with a slate, sponged a bit more and then left to dry flat. I managed to make 3 pieces of paper and on the last one I added some corn flour just as an experiment as to whether it can be drawn on. I don't hold out much hope of it taking inks or paints well but it was an interesting technique to try out. I very much like the texture of this paper and I will post again the results of any painting on it.

The 3 sheets dried
Close up of the texture and whiteness

In the summer when I can get outside and be messy, I will make my own recycled paper, with additions like wild flowers or saffron. 


  1. Such a wonderful and inspiring post Claire ! I great to try something different and I am sure is good for us :) xx

  2. Meant to say *It's*, typing too fast !

  3. Thanks Sarah, was great to try this out. xxx

  4. Claire, you're such an inspiration!!!

  5. Thank you Shevaun, you too my friend xxx

  6. Looks great Claire and for your first time. I could imagine that smell. I can't eat mushroom soup because of the smell! Great experiment using mushrooms, a new one for me. I used to make paper with my class of 30 seven year olds, drop lots of bits of grass, flower petals and bits in, great fun. If you make it thick you can press objects in, leaves, grasses, seed heads and leave to dry around them, results in embossed shapes.
    Yes you must see how paint and ink takes. Thanks for an interesting post.x

  7. Thank you Milly, it was great to do and I'll draw on it soon. I know it takes ink now.