This information is reprinted from the Beginner Topics column of Hand Papermaking Newsletter #66 (April, 2004).

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Making a Deckle Box

Living in the midwestern United States, I think of spring as a time of new beginnings--plants are alive again and the snow is finally gone. Spring encourages us to think of doing, or using, something new.

We usually make paper on some form of mould and deckle or suketa. An interesting variation is to make a deckle box. A deckle box represents a cross between Western and Eastern papermaking techniques. It works well for cooked fibers and new spring plants; it may also be used for recycled (new life!) papers and traditional western fibers.

To make a deckle box you will need four pieces of 1”x4” lumber for the box sides, canvas stretchers available at any art supply store, some metal screening material, a bamboo mat, and some non-woven interfacing.

I pick standard dimensions for the box that match canvas stretchers--say, 8”x10”. Simply put the canvas stretchers together, then cut a layer of metal screening to the outside dimensions of the stretchers. The second layer is the bamboo mat (if you have trouble locating one, try an Asian grocery) cut and tied off to fit the metal screen. The final layer is non-woven interfacing and again the size is that of the other surface materials. Construct the box from the 1”x4” lumber and put weather stripping on the bottom edge. It is also a good idea to put hooks and screw eyes on each side to hold the box on top to the canvas-stretcher base on the bottom.

Now you have a device that may be placed into a tub of water, filled with pulp, then lifted and drained. When the top is removed your sheet of paper is on the non-woven interfacing and may be left there to dry. Insert a new piece of interfacing for your next sheet.

Another note about spring: this is the time to check all those craft centers that open for the summer. Plan to take a trip, or go around the corner and take a class. Learn a new technique. Bloom!

Copyright 2004 Hand Papermaking, Inc.