This information is reprinted from the Beginner Topics column of Hand Papermaking Newsletter #65 (January, 2004).

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Pulp Painting

If you have been following this column you now have colored pulp (see the previous two issues on dyes and pigments) and it seems appropriate to write about things to do with that pulp. The following are some easy suggestions for being colorful.

Pulp for painting is ideally finely beaten using a Hollander beater. If you do not have access to this type of equipment you may wish to order pulp from a supplier. It is also possible to make blender pulp using abaca fiber that is quite satisfactory for several of the following techniques. The “pallet” of colors created may be put into zip-lock baggies and stored in the refrigerator.

When using painting techniques it is best to form a base sheet of plain pulp and work on top of it. To paint using a brush it is necessary to mix methyl cellulose or formation aid (from a paper supplier) into the colored pulp to achieve a flowing, workable color. The ratio of colored pulp to additive is a matter of experimentation. Once achieved, the colored pulp may be handled like a regular painting medium. Just set up your cups of pulp and paint.

Two other uses for painting pulp are quite simple. The first is to make or purchase stencils. Stencils are easily cut from mylar and a wide variety are available precut from paint and hobby stores. The stencil is simply laid on the base sheet and the colored pulp pushed through the pattern with a spoon or small brush.

Syringes, squirt bottles, and/or turkey basters can be filled with pulp and used as drawing tools. The pulp needs to be mixed with water, but then it can be used in spray bottles. When using pulp in containers it is very important to keep shaking the mixture as the heavier pulp will settle to the bottom.

I said two, but here is another. Masking and making negative resists is a very simple technique. Just cut strips or shapes of pellon or mylar and layer and build color areas around these masks on your base sheet. Two dimensional objects may also be created in this manner.

The largest question is simply where to begin. Have fun!

Copyright 2004 Hand Papermaking, Inc.