Friday, 25 January 2013

Pulp Friction

I've been having great fun today playing with paper pulp.Here's the 'soup' I started with: 

I usually pick out papers that have similar colours in, but today I just used all the random scraps from recent projects. I added some green food colouring, but it didn't take too well, and so I added some blue. This was very faint too, so I added some red. One thing I've learned - red food colouring is much stronger than all the others. Let me tell you, this stuff was warm, gooey and congealed. It looked, and felt like something from a horror movie:

Gruesome! But awesome..... If only it was Halloween. I have discovered the best stuff for making fake bodygoo.

At this point I was starting to get a little worried about how my project was going to turn out. I could see my next items being slapped all over Regretsy... I kept calm and carried on. After all, this was a creative experiment - playtime! And you never know how these things are going to go. 

I lined some bowls with tin foil and started moulding, squishing the water out and mopping it up with a sponge. The first bowl turned out ok I think: 

All well and good. I played about a bit with some bleach:

And tried a bit of non-coloured mixture with red splodges added:

Tried adding some non-pulped bits of paper scraps:

Had a go at a vase with half-and-half non-coloured and red mixtures:

(I think it looks like some very weird extra-terrestrial rock.)

I decided I preferred the dishes but with frilly edges, and I liked the bleach effect, so I played around with that, bleaching out the middle of the dishes and leaving the edges more red: 

By this time I had quite a collection of paper vessels and was having difficulty standing up (I have hypermobility syndrome and fibromyalgia - standing up isn't one of my strong points). So I took a break and came back later to see how things looked.

I was quite pleased. The darker bowl to the right of the picture above was my favourite. I loved how the edges were really dark red and wished I hadn't been so free and easy with the bleach on all the others. I thought I'd try to replicate this by adding some colour back in. I wet the edges first so the colour would hopefully bleed nicely into the dishes, like the edges of a rose petal.

Pretty cool! I like these. They make me think of strawberry pancakes.

It'll be interesting to see how they look once they're dried. They should lighten up a bit, especially the middle bit that's not painted. I have no idea what the underside will look like though. On some I did stick in some non-pulped paper scraps, and I imagine the creases in the tin foil will leave an impression. I'm definitely looking forward to turning them out. And will probably play around with some more colour or decoupage or something. 

Now it's the part where I have to be patient. I have to admit, in my impatient state of creative excitement I did stick a couple in a low oven for a few minutes, but I got scared as soon as they were warm. After all, I used my best crystal bowls as moulds. Still , that's probably a good thing. They are almost certainly best air-dried. 

I'll be back with more pics of what-happens-next as soon as they're dry and I've turned them out. It may be a few days; it's freezing here and the snow is coming down thick and fast outside:

Brrrr! Can't see me going out very far in this. I find it hard to walk at the best of times. If I'm able to stand up long enough tomorrow, I may have a go at making paper bowls with some un-pulped paper scraps instead. 


  1. Hello. Visiting you from the Interactive Blog Team, Etsy. Thanks for taking us through your paper making project. I've never done this before but it looks fun and gooey. I'll be back to see what happens next.

  2. Looking forward to see the finished bowls. Looks like you've had a very creative day.

  3. Ohhh they look really pretty with the pink bleached edges - can't wait to see the finished articles :-) Simmi x

  4. Well, that looked highly enjoyable! I have followed your blog so I can come back and find out what happens next!

  5. I love the colour effects in these! I've just started experimenting with homemade paper, I'll need to try some bowls too!