A couple of customers have asked me about ‘LAID PAPER’.  I sometimes offer it in my custom journals, and the name intrigues. The answer is a matter of history, and of traditional skill.
Before the machine age took over, paper was made by hand, sheet by sheet, using nothing but water, and ground bark, grasses, linen or cotton rags. In the resurgence of skill appreciation and traditional craft revival, many artists and specialist paper makers once again soak, pulp and sieve by hand.

The first type of sieve/screen/mould was a frame with many wires in parallel strung across the width... think bamboo screen ... As paper fibres dried, these wires would leave an imprint in the paper. Even if the paper is pressed flat, against the light, you can still see the LAID impressions. Paper made this way is, even now, called 'LAID PAPER.

Even today, with large drums that rotate and drag the fibres out in continuous lengths, the laid style can be achieved depending on the drum sieve construction. Many writers love it because you can write straight along the laid lines without additional drawn or printed lines on the paper, since the close lines run ACROSS the grain of the paper (handy to know if you are trying to bind with it). The vertical wider spaced lines that run with the grain are the 'chain' wires that hold the screen together

In the early 18th century, a more sophisticated 'woven' wire mesh was developed, with the resulting paper more fine in it's texture, and without the 'laid' lines...think flyscreen..  Paper made this way is called WOVE PAPER.

So next time you look at the paper in your hand bound treasure.  Think, is it LAID, or WOVE?

Prefolded Precut Porper Paper Post Packaging Friday

selling lots of lovely hand bound treasures...
want to protect my books in the post...
not happy to pay a fortune on mass-produced packaging...
seems a waste of paper resources, and money...


..thinking..    [feel like Winnie the pooh]

Make my own sturdy packaging template that I can make out of any stiff protective waste cardboard.
Here's how, in pictures..
Bought one ready made as a prompt for a design. Ended up changing it to something better.

measure the book and allow for wrap around and side flaps that fold in
Score the fold lines and cut the small outer bits into flaps

See how the corners stick out to protect the corners of the book inside.
OK, so it used to be a coffee machine box. it's second life will be just as triumphant!

[polishing portable halo on left butt-cheek as we speak!]

TEA-STAIN TUTORIAL! Non-acidifying technique

As promised, here's a pic-by-pic of my tea-staining paper for some leather wrap journals. There are many methods, and I use various myself, but I haven't seen this one about, so I'll show it today. Just some lined notepaper today, for demo purposes, but I use all sorts of paper in this process, watercolour, cotton rag, hand made, smooth... I'll try to answer questions in comments later, then update the tute before putting it in the tutorial section of the website.

  • paper - any type and size that will fit into/between your trays
  • teabags - cheaper the better, as you don't have to drink it! I used 20 doubles for this lot.
  • Bi-carb soda - this is to tone down the acidity of the resulting tea-water (paper doesnt like low pH)
  • Perforated trays - from a 'cheap-shop'; as many as you want; a once-off cost
  • Tub - that will fit all trays to submerge the paper ( stople this one from my son!)
  • Jug - not specific, but handy, especially if the resulting tub of tea is too heavy to move
  • old towel/rag (not pictured) - to put trays on from out of the tea... learned this the hard way
  • [bookpress or bookboard and weights - for flattening paper at the end]

Add bi-carb and stir. Amount is not exact, but I put about half a cup. If you are really keen,  test the water if you have a pH kit and work the amounts to suit - more bi-carb means less acidic.
Note that this technique does produce fairly pH neutral effects in the short term, but I certainly wouldn't call it archival.

Put teabags into the warm/hot water in the tub. Don't be shy - add heaps as you'll use this water for a fews days for many sheets in one go - it's the best way.  As the tea ages, the colour gets richer and the effects more random - yippee. Let it steep for an hour or so. it's worth the wait.

Put one sheet of paper into each tray and stack the trays. Leave the top tray without paper, since it'd just float around and be a nuisance.

Gather teabags in the tub to one side and put the tray stack into the tea. Go slow - it'll burble as the tea flows between the trays. You might like to let each tray separate a little as you do this, to make sure no airbubbles are trapped (which would leave an unstained white blotch on your paper). Put the tea bags into the tray on top. As time goes on, more tea comes out of the leaves and 'settles' between the trays - more randomness - Yippee.

 After a couple of hours in the tea bath, carefully take tray stack out, draining as you go, onto the old towel. Take it outside and separate the trays to dry in the air (no pic of this.. forgot.. oops.. I'll upload one later).

When the papers are dry (depending on the weather/temp), take paper from trays and 'reload' trays with more paper to stain and return to the tea bath.

Your tea-stained paper will have many different effects, depending on the strength of tea, how long they were in, the temp when drying, the pattern on your trays (flat bottom trays without holes are fine, but take ages to dry), the paper grain you started with....  I had some Eucalyptus leaves fall off into the trays as they dried, which left imprints... love that.

Now it just has to go into the bookpress for a while to straight out the kinks and let the paper fibres rest (makes the paper not so stiff to work with)

I get chills every time the paper comes out - just never know what you are going to get.

I'm keen to answer questions and get feedback, so I can clean up the tutorial before I put it on the permanent page.

So, what do you think?