Make Paper – Loading the Drying Box

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,077
    Craft expert Gretchen Schermerhorn demonstrates how to make paper and how to load the drying box for the handmade paper.

    Gretchen Schermerhorn: Hi, I am Gretchen Schermerhorn at Pyramid Atlantic and today we are learning about the fine art of hand paper making and we have just unloaded our paper out of the jack and we have brought it over into a dry spot. At first I am going to talk a little bit about the drying box. This is called restrained drying box and as you can see, it is just a common wooden box, but at the back of it there are two small fans. So what happens is your handmade paper is going to go in between blotter paper and then in between these pieces of cardboard and it will get stacked up and then we put a board at the top of that, that goes all the way to the back. Then we plug ion the - we turn it on, plug it in, turn it on and then the air blows through the cardboard flukes and dries your paper really quickly, it dries in somewhere between 24 and 48 hours as opposed to -- you can also if you didn't have a drying box, you can put your handmade paper in between these blotters and switch it out maybe every eight hours. That's called a blotter exchange. It dries a lot slower, but it still does it. Alright, so what we are going to do is here are cardboards, here are blotter papers and we are ready to go. Here is our post right here. So I am going to put a piece of blotter paper right on top just like this. Here is our handmade paper that we just took out of the jack and it is still damp, but it is actually quite strong at this point. So we are going to gently lift it from one corner and if you get the sense that it is just too fragile, give it another press, put it back into the jack and put it, give it another press. Now lay it down gently on top of our blotter paper and I am noticing because the size of this paper I can actually get two side by side so I am just going to gently peel up the next one, place it down just like that and I am going to take another piece of blotter paper and put it right on top just like this, give it a press. Now I will take this whole piece right here and just load it into the drying box just like this, so you get flush with this edge right here. I will repeat this process until I have all of my pieces of handmade paper loaded. So now what we are going to actually do is fill up the rest of the space with the remaining cardboard. Now this drying box is a fairly simple structure. You can see it is just three walls and this actually is just a board that's on top of it. The most important thing that you really need to have are the fans behind it and those were just purchased at a hardware store, circular holes were cut in the back and they were just placed in. So it is actually quite easy to create on of these types of structures. I am going to fill it up the rest of the way, put the cardboard. Again, make sure that also you get cardboard when you purchase it that your flukes are actually facing this direction which will be parallel with the direction of the air that is blowing because that's going to ensure that it's going to dry a lot faster because the air is actually going through the cardboard, drying your paper. So I have finished loading it up with the cardboard and I am going to put this board on the very top, push it all the way to the back, so that actually creates a seal, it closes it all up. Then I am going to put weight on the top of it and again, that's really important because we want to make sure not only is air blowing through, but also there is weight coming down. If we just dried our paper without this, it would certainly dry, but we would have a lot of waves in turn. So this is called a restrained drying box because it dries it completely flat. Then we are actually going to turn it on by plugging it in. So after we plug in the drying box, we are going to let it dry somewhere between 24 and 48 hours depending on the thickness of the sheets of your paper and the type of fiber that you chose to create your sheets of paper. After that, we will unload it and take the sheets of paper out and check for flaws in the paper.