Sunday, May 17, 2009


I found this picture on the web--a simple book press. Leah plans to make one for us this summer (her own version, of course) so that we can use it to press our handmade paper and any books I make, etc. They sell presses for making handmade paper and I believe you put them in damp or wet??
So--this is what I did during the night last night. First--these were the first thinner papers I book pressed--ironed them with just a hot iron. They are a tad flatter, but look pretty much the same.
Then I experimented with the thicker papers we made. Tried ironing--with just the hot iron--and that didn't work very well. I tried misting with water and with spray starch and either method worked pretty well. But it takes quite a long time to iron the paper dry again. And I had trouble with curling. So--what I ended up doing was...
...almost soaking the sheets with either water or spray starch--or a little of both.
I used my ironing cloth (really stained it, as you can see)...
...and ironed the paper just enough to flatten it out well.
I had cut up pieces of butcher paper--folded them shiny side out...
...and then stacked the damp, flattened paper within layers of the butcher paper...
...and put heavy books on the small stacks.
I can't imagine how long they will take to actually dry this way? If they can even dry at all??
Another experiment! I am not positive but I think that in the actual book presses they sandwich the handmade paper in between the couch papers somehow? I have never tried to press damp or wet papers before--so I guess we'll find out, eh? Maybe after a while I could sandwich these between couch papers or paper towels or something if they're not drying at all?? Hey--you never know unless you try, right?
Anyways, that was what I was up to all night. :):)
It's 37 degrees at the moment, but they predict it will get up to 70 today! Another beautiful, sunny morning!
I'll let you know what happens with the paper, of course. :):)


Serena Lewis said...

The book press reminds me of a flower press I have that's been waiting for me to paint and decorate for years. I hope all this experimenting finds a perfect way for you to flatten the paper out easily.

Rita said...

Hi Serena!
Aha! We could also use the book press for flowers, too! Thanks for the idea. :) How do you press flowers in a flower press? Do you layer with something--paper towels, blotter paper, couch paper, newspapers? I have only pressed flowers in the pages of old books.

I should take some time and search around online for ideas of how to press handmade paper. I know you can use the couch papers to absorb water--but the old ones we have been using are wrinkled and creased and those that would press right into the paper. And the red pulp stains the new nice flat white couch papers(which aren't that cheap)--and then we can't use them on anything but really dark paper (stains transfer). So--I should do some more searching online--and keep thinking and experimenting. We'll figure out a way. :):)