Know Your Paper
At Dpolti, we are manufacturing our own handmade paper.
The process of making handmade paper is quite straight forward, yet requires good skill and experience.
The main ingredient of our handmade paper is cotton.
Cotton which is a natural product is completely biodegradable, safe to environment and a great element to be used for paper making.
The process of making handmade paper involves a series of steps:
- Cotton Rags: The cotton rags are collected from reliable sources (majorly cotton/silk fabric factories) and are sorted before processing it further. It is properly cleaned; dirt and dust is removed.
- Chopping & Beating: Further, the cotton is chopped into small and similar sized pieces. It is then mixed with a proportion of water, along with harmless chemicals or natural dyes (to color it, if/when required). This process of beating and mixing is done in a large beater. The beater is equipped with fine blades that cut down the cotton rags and convert it into pulp.
- Dipping & Lifting: A mould (wooden frame with a mesh) is used here. It is dipped in the water mixed pulp, evenly shaken and lifted out with pulp on it. In case of heavy paper making, a fixed quantity of pulp is poured evenly on the mould, which is then clamped between two frames and then dipped into a water tank. The mould is then lifted up, draining the excess water and leaving only pulp.
- Couching: Once the sheet is made and some water is drained, the wet paper is transferred to the stack. It is generally done onto some cloth like muslin or felt sheet.
- Paper Pressing: This method involves the use of hydraulic mechanism to press the paper evenly and removing most of the water. This process reduces the thickness of the paper, makes it more compact, improving it's physical nature.
- Paper Drying: Even after pressing, the paper contains almost 60-75% moisture. To dry it completely, traditional method is used. Each sheet is hanged in sunlight to let dry naturally. The colored sheets are not kept under direct sunlight to avoid bleaching. This requires large open space and favorable weather conditions.
- Cleaning: To remove any dirt or foreign particles, the sheets are cleaned manually using some tools or bare hands.
- Sizing: This process is optional. A layer of starch is coated on the cleaned paper to prevent feathering. If the end paper needs to be kept raw/natural, this process is eliminated. Starch coating helps making the paper smoother.
- Calendaring: This is the process where paper is fed to a machine loaded with rollers. The paper becomes much smoother and a bit glossy after this process.
- Cutting: The ready paper is then cut into desired shape/size.
Handmade paper making is a complete manual process where at each step, an individual's involvement is crucial. This is laborious, time consuming job and requires understanding of traditional processes.
Each ready paper is unique in it's nature. The surface of each sheet in a single lot will also vary a bit.
That's the best part about handmade papers- making them imperfectly perfect.
Types of Papers used in our products:
1. Handmade Paper 250 gsm Calendared: Paper Calendaring is the process to press the papers through rollers, and to make the texture smoother and less spongy. This process also brings a bit of shine/gloss to the paper surface. However, handmade paper will always have natural textures and cannot be super smooth (unless coated for the purpose) like commercial-grade/mill-made paper.
Such paper is ideal for Watercolors, Gouache, Acrylic and Inks.
2. Handmade Paper 250 gsm Uncalendared: Uncalendared Handmade Paper is absolutely raw in the texture. The paper surface is unprocessed and natural. Such paper will have more grains/fibers, bumpy surface and less shine.
The Uncalendared paper is good for anyone who loves creating art on raw and bumpy surface.
3. Handmade Sketching Paper 125 gsm: This paper type is generally more blended. The fibers are intact and a thin invisible layer is coated on paper surface to make it pencil friendly. Rendering is better on such papers due to the extra layer of coating. The surface is comparatively smoother.
Such paper is ideal for Pencil Sketching, Rendering, Pens, Fine liners, etc.
Light color work can also be done, considering the thickness of the paper.
4. Handmade Paper 125 gsm: This paper type is natural. It is more fibrous. The surface is semi smooth. It makes the paper useful for writing letters, light artworks etc.
Such paper is majorly meant for general use and not any specific purpose considering the surface is uncoated. It can be used for brush calligraphy, pens, fine liners, etc. though it might need a bit of pre preparation for specific calligraphy & nib work. A fixative can help to coat the surface.
5. Brown/Kraft Paper 240 gsm: This is a commercial grade Hot Pressed paper that we use.
5. Black Paper 220 gsm: This is a commercial grade Hot Pressed paper that we use.
Hot Pressed papers are pressed at high pressure between heated rollers, to give the surface smooth/fine texture.
Cold Pressed papers are pressed between metal rollers of cold temperature, to give it a bumpy/textured surface.
Majorly, all handmade papers are Cold Pressed.