We’ve been blessed (or cursed!) with lots of hostas here at Happy Acres. I’ve been wanting to try making paper from them all summer but just haven’t had the time. But now I’ve done it. Let’s get started.
The first step is to gather some hosta leaves. You can collect them any time during the growing season. We are looking for 10 cups of material.
Tear up the hosta leaves. I’ve put them in a large measuring cup so I know I have 10 cups.
Now put in pot and add 10 cups of water or enough to cover. Let this mixture soak 24 hours.
Next dissolve 6 tablespoons of baking soda in cold water and add to the hosta water. You could also add soda ash instead if you happen to have it around the house.
Cook for three hours. This will breakdown the plant fiber and you will end up with spinach-looking mix.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, make your mold (screened frame) and deckle (frame alone). I just used two picture frames we had around the house. Dave attached screening to one of them. Be sure and cover the screen edges with duck tape or masking tape.
Prepare you work space. I laid down newspapers, a towel, and then the felt.
Fill your water pan about half full.
Then drain the hosta water so you end up with just the spinach-like material and add to blender.
Blend until it is a thick pulp. Then add to water tub.
With the pulp is in the water vat, take your hands and swirl the pulp around. Then take the mold and deckle (with the deckle on top of the mold), hold with both hands and lower it into the vat. Tilt it horizontally toward you making sure it’s below the surface of the water. Slowly lift it up, gently shaking the mold and deckle back and forward. Then let it drain. I let it drain on the side of the vat.
Then gently remove the deckle frame.
Cover the new paper and screen with felt and push a little of the water out before moving it to the table.
Now gently flip the screen and paper over to the table and begin sponging off the excess water.
As you are sponging it off you can see and feel the new paper pulling away from the screen. When it is completely pulled away, lift up the screen and you have hosta paper!
Then I cover each sheet with another piece of felt and then stack with paper, magazines, and cardboard to press.
Hosta paper takes a long time to dry! Check the felts and newspaper every day or so to see if they need to be changed. You could also iron the paper to speed up the drying process.
The hosta sheets are really fragile and thin. I made another batch of paper with hosta pulp and shredded mail to give it more stability. The shredded paper only needed to be soaked for 30 minutes before blending and adding to the vat.
You can see some pieces of hosta and the green tint to the paper. Since I’m not sure I liked the green tint, I sprayed a piece with Cherry Blossom Walnut Ink and then added blobs of silver and copper Lumiere.
Kind of interesting! It’s been years since I made paper and it was really fun. It does take quite a bit of hosta material to make paper. With the 10 cups it made three thin sheets. When it’s pulled from the water it looks like it’s going to be a real thick sheet, so next time I’ll know to make sure there I have plenty of plant material on the screen. I must warn you that hostas do stink when they are being cooked. The smells goes away in the paper, but sure did smell up the kitchen. Another fun project!