Hand Papermaking with Plants (Illustrated Infographic)

Hand Papermaking with Plants - Infographic & Process - Paperslurry.comIf you ask someone what paper is made of, most would immediately say trees. However, with the hand papermaking process, you can use other plant fibers to make an incredible range of handmade papers. Check out this handy infographic (not quite a tutorial, but you’ll get the general idea).

Some plants are grown specifically for the hand papermaking process, others can be sustainably harvested from the wild, and even more can be made from leftover fibers from the garden, kitchen, or even agricultural waste (check out Fresh Press). To make strong paper, choose plants with a high cellulose fiber content.

Since we’ve simplified the overall instructions, keep in mind that each plant fiber requires different treatment along the way, and the resulting paper will reflect the fiber’s unique characteristics. And, there’s an endless variety of techniques for cutting, scraping, cooking, retting, pulping, sheet formation, pressing, and drying that will all affect the resulting paper.

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23 thoughts on “Hand Papermaking with Plants (Illustrated Infographic)

  1. I am submitting a proposal to do a hands on hand papermaking demonstration at the Colorado Springs Mini Maker Faire in October. Is it permissible to make posters of the Papermaking with Plants Infographic for my display?

  2. Hello from Cambodia! I am new to Paperslurry and new to papermaking. I have a Hollander Critter as part of my activity program for patients at a trauma hospital in Battambang, Cambodia. I hve successfully made paper from sugar cane husks and banana tree trunk and am currently experimenting with cocnut husks but this is proving more of a challenge! Does anyone have experience of making paper from cocunut husks? I am having difficulty working out the right amount of fiber to make the pulp move freely in the machine. Any recommendations as to pound/kilo amount of fiber to put into the machine would be welcome.

    • Hi Anne, your program and paper sound great.

      Unfortunately, I have never worked with coconut husk fiber before. But, sometimes it helps to add already processed pulp into the Critter Beater, to help with circulation around the tub. Also, I find that sometimes too much fiber weight slows down movement around the tub, so maybe try adding handful at a time.

      Maybe there’s someone out there who has worked with coconut husks before?

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  4. Hi I am from Taiwan I am interest in that Hollander beater do you know where can I buy it,

    and we are using that acrylic fiber instead of paper fiber can we use this beater

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  6. Hi! I’m wanting to make paper with my grade 4-5 class, but we don’t have a mold and deckle. Is there anyway to do this with plants but without that? Would love some tips.

  7. Hi! Your info is very helpful! We grow flowers for production to stores like whole foods,but we end the end of the season with lots leftover, that we dry for wreaths,etc. But again we end up with lots leftover. I’m excited to use up our refuse to make paper,but I’m not sure which flowers and plants have a high cellulose content. Is there any way I can test for this? Or is it just trial&error?any ideas?

    • Hi Jesi, glad you find this helpful!
      Iris and daylily leaves, gladiola and spiderwort stalks generally make sturdy paper. One way to test for potential paper success is to tear the leaf or stalk crosswise. If it’s resistant to tearing, then that’s a sign that it will make stronger paper. Think of a blade of grass versus a tomato stalk. Please do test, keep good notes on your process, and let us know the results! Hope that helps you get started,
      – May

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  9. Hi, myself Shrabani from India .
    A locally cultivated reed commonly known as mat sedge or Cyperus corymbosus grass are used by traditional artisans to make hand dyed and hand woven floor mats .
    Both the locations indigenous artisans prefers to use natural plant based dyes which are extracted through natural traditional process .
    Now , I wish to use the same grass variety to make handmade paper . Any expert help is highly appreciated . with regards !

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  11. Can you tell me if I can use the leaves and stalks of Wild Ginger to make paper. It is a noxious weed in New Zealand and we have a whole stand that we have just cut down. Ann NZ

    • I’ve used the fresh stalk and leaves of ginger from a local farm, and it made beautiful, strong and green paper. Not sure about wild ginger, but give it a try! – May

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