Li Ziqi making paper by hand

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Zài zhōngguó zàozhǐ xūyào hěn cháng shíjiān.


That was exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you.


I recall in high school… or middle school doing some projects for art class where we recycled paper and it was an interesting process though i always wondered what it’d take to make paper from scratch. I will definitely watch this video at some point today :slight_smile: Thanks for sharing


If you like a little more stop-motion in your papermaking videos (and are in the company of a small child…), a good follow up is S3E10 of Tumbleleaf. Spoilers! Fig the fox figures out how to make paper out of Buckeye the beaver’s leftover woodchips…Drawing Party!


This reminds me of a project I’d like to see done:

Take complicated procedures (such as this one) or mechanisms (such as combustion engines and transmissions) and show how/why they came to be. Explain elements by showing what happens in their absence, and how it was discovered that they help. Start with the simplest possible ways to try to achieve something, and why that didn’t work (or well-enough).

I’m thinking something in the vein of Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer.


The original ‘Connections’ TV show was a lot like that, except sideways. I was always fascinated with the bubonic plague to computers connection.


I wonder how many consecutive youtube channels doing the same thing it would take to denude that entire area.

And what the yield of the paper be ?

Making paper by hand is one of those things you should do at least once in your life.


I used to make paper as a kid from a pulp I made from literally chewed-up celery fibers. I didn’t know about couching it on a screen or using washing soda (instead of wood ash) to purify it and it was pretty lumpy after it dried. I also didn’t know about sizing the paper to make it better to write or draw on. (Unsized paper is more like sheets of blotter paper.)

I took various “fine” crafts courses at university including paper making, and was also able to get a job doing hand bookbinding and cover, spine, and page repair for my university library’s conservation department. So not only was I making paper but I was working with specialty papers on the job.

Everyone was equally inexperienced at paper making - including our instructor, but the university art department owned a Hollander beater that was boxed up in storage so we got it out and figured out how to get it working. It served the same purpose as beating the pulp on rocks, to separate out the individual cellulose fibers.

In the old days they’d speed up the process in China and Japan by building water-powered drop hammers (wooden mallets) at an area on a stream bank where there were flat rocks with water barely washing over them to keep the pulp hydrated (m-o-i-s-t) while it was beaten, so we weren’t cheating too much by not beating the pulp by hand.

I pulped interesting weeds, lawn trimmings, and cotton rags. Blue jeans produced a lovely shade of blue paper, and the chlorophyll in the grass trimmings made a nice grass-stain green paper. This was in the mid-Eighties and hand papermaking wasn’t very popular in the US until the late-Nineties and early-Aughts, so there were no books or magazines about it at local libraries, art stores or bookstores, or any of the specialized equipment required. So we made photocopies of whatever info we could find and built the equipment ourselves.

After that course was over I didn’t have access to the equipment anymore and moved on to other crafts, but a good friend from class was the first person at the school to get a BFA focused on papermaking and paper sculpture.

So yeah, I dug that video. Thanks.

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Very interesting :slight_smile: a few years back i was interested in bookbinding (i get weird obsessions at random) and researched it but never took the step to put it into practice.

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It’s a lot easier when you walk into a fully equipped and stocked workshop with people to show you how to do stuff and critique your work so you can learn more quickly.

What really got me the job were two samples I made at home over the weekend before applying on Monday morning, after seeing the job opening notice on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t great work but it showed them that I was serious and had some skill at making things with my hands.

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