Handmade Paper

So in a recent workshop, I made a bunch of different types of paper, time to try it out I thought. I had 3xA4 sheets and 2xA3 sheets pulled from the white board + Day Lilly + Lemongrass vat, so decided to have a go at folding something from that.

handmade paper
White board, Day Lilly, Lemongrass hand-made(by me) paper

I remember the ladies of PAQ talking about Chinese Threadbooks – an ancient paperfolding tradition from China. Having already folded one using cheap decorative paper, I thought I would throw some handmade paper at one also.

threadbook complete

There are examples, hundreds of years old, of clever multi-compartment paper widgets, used to store silk threads (from weavers and embroiderers), and there is some exploration of the folding theory on teh internet, but you gotta dive deep.

threadbook compartments

So I cut an A4 size square, then downsized a tad to make 6x 1:2 rectangles for the innards, then set about folding.

Level 1 are the lovely little flower handle square boxes, 4 of them in this model.

threadbook level 1

Level 2 are longer boxes, each of which hole 2 level 1 boxes, in a clever little flap lock.

threadbook level 2

Level 3 is the cover, and the largest of the boxes in this model, that locks the level 2’s in another clever little flap locking mechanism.

threadbook level 3

The hand-made paper is remarkably strong, and takes folds pretty well – I used my bone folder to crisp up the creases as I went. I misted the folded pieces with a little water and then pressed them under a big book while they dried, making them hold their shape well, then assembled the finished piece.

I like this a lot – careful planning of the “right” and “wrong” side of the paper nicely shows of the paper and entrapped botanicals. I must remember to bring it along to the next PAQ meeting. Happy to have made the paper and then folded it – nearly the complete cycle. Eventually I will print my own paper also, but that is for future times.

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