I made a trip to the homebrewing store to pick up some calcium carbonate the other day, and over the weekend I made my first batches of paper with fiber entirely derived from junk mail, dryer lint, and whatever I could scrape off the countertop from the last couple of batches. The result was a simple, but rather pretty paper, with quite a bit of “confetti” effect from bits that didn’t blend down as smooth as the rest. The sheets are acid-free and take ink without smudging. As it turns out, I was even able to feed a sheet through my laser printer, with the low-fidelity, but attractive results you can see here.

The basic experiment is, it seems to me, a success. What I’m getting from a very slap-dash recycling effort is paper I wouldn’t hesitate to use as stationary with friends or customers, which also seems to be as durable as most of the hand-made cover stock available to me. There are experiments still to be done with sizing, and more precise sorts of dyeing. It’s going to be awhile before I can deal with fibrous yard waste. Etc. But the dollar-store paper-making rig works, and I have a couple of friends who look like they are ready to try their hand.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2691 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.