Making A Children's Book
Ashley Holbrook &
For our final independent project, we wanted to do something that fully involved both chemistry and art. Of the projects we did during lab periods, we particularly enjoyed the papermaking lab, and so decided that we would apply our papermaking skills and create a project out of handmade paper. We were also very impressed with the exhibit that we saw in the Sewanee Art Gallery which displayed books that the artists had made. To make the project more original and unique, we decided that the artistic component of our project would be to make a children's book out of the paper we produced, and we thought an appropriate topic would be "recycling." We decorated the pages we produced using watercolors, and the short story is our own. In our papermaking process we decided that it would be important to figure out an appropriate amount of sizing to use as we would be painting on our paper with watercolors and the sizing would affect the absorption of the watercolor on the paper. We decided to bind the covers and pages of the book together using an accordion method.
The word paper originates from the Egyptian word papyrus which was similar to what we now know as paper but was woven from a papyrus plant. Following papyrus was the development of parchment, which was made of the skin of a sheep or goat. Eventually, the processes of producing types of paper such as papyrus, parchment, or bamboo paper (created by the Chinese) proved to be too complex, time consuming, and expensive to be produced at the rapid pace of the press.
Papermaking using beaten fibers originated in China in 105 AD. Paper actually used for writing or drawing came about during the 3rd century and the papermaking process slowly moved westward into Asia. American historians have found that the Mayas invented their own paper probably during the 5th century AD. This was the papermaking that was used widely among Mesoamerican cultures and eventually led up to the Spanish conquest.
filled 2 liter bottle (used as rolling pin)
Procedure for papermaking:
Procedure for making the book:
1. Draw the images in pencil first in order to prevent mistakes when painting them with the watercolor.
2. Paint the different images with the watercolor.
3. Handwrite the story with an ink pen.
4. Bind the book by folding a sheet of computer paper in the accordion style and then gluing the right side of the fold to a sheet of the story.
5. Repeat the gluing until every sheet is bound to the accordion.
6. To make the binding look more professional, glue a sheet of homemade paper around the spine of the book.
Here is an image of our finished paper. We produced 21 sheets in total!
Amount of Pulp Trial Observations:
|Trial||Amount of Pulp (mL)||Observations during papermaking||Observations after drying|
|1||400 mL||Not enough pulp was used, so it did not cover the entire deckle screen. Couching was nearly impossible. Pulp lost its form and got very messy, we could not produce wafer.||Did not produce a full rectangle sheet of paper, looked brittle and as though fibers were not well attached to one another.|
|2||600 mL||Couching was successful and the wafer was a good thickness.||Appropriate thickness for pages, produced a clean, smooth sheet of paper.|
|3||800 mL||Wafer was much thicker, couching was successful.||Thicker and stronger than trial 2, more appropriate for front and back cover pages.|
Amount of Sizing Trial Observations:
|Trial||Amount of pulp||Drops of sizing||Observations during papermaking||Observations during painting|
|1||600 mL||4||wafer seemed more fragile. fibers less bound together. was difficult to transfer from pelon to drying board.||watercolor paint absorbed into paper very easily, and the original line we drew bled into a blurry line, as did ink pen.|
|2||600 mL||8||wafer was much more solid and transferred more smoothly. less fragile. it was much easier to transfer it to the drying board.||watercolor paint absorbed into paper but ink held in its place and did not bleed, maintaining original form of brush stroke. If pen was applied onto wet watercolor, ink colors bled into one another.|
|3||600 mL||12||wafer more solid, similar to trial 2, a bit more trouble transferring from pelon to drying board.||paper behaved like wax paper, no absorbancy whatsoever, watercolor simply sat ontop of paper.|
|cover pages||800 mL||10||since there was more pulp, the wafer was thicker and took longer to dry than the 600 mL wafers.||ink pen did not bleed, nor did paint pen. Ink was absorbed but did not bleed.|
We were able to conclude from our trials that the more pulp used to make paper the more drops of sizing needed to make for a good sheet of paper to paint on. We came to the conclusion that the cover pages needed to be thicker and stronger because they were protecting the book so we used 800mL of pulp and 10 drops of sizing. The inside pages of our book are made up of 600mL of pulp and 8 drops of sizing. For both amounts of pulp we filled the deckle box to about 1.5 inches from the top with water. These amounts of pulp, sizing and water allowed us to make strong, smooth sheets of paper to ease the painting process. The accordion method we used to bind the pages made our work look more professional and we hope it will also keep the book together without the pages tearing out.
The differences between our original plan and our final experiment were mostly the changes we had to make in the amount of sizing we were using. At first we thought that we should use 12 drops of sizing instead of the 8 we ended up using, because we thought that we wanted our paper to be less absorbant. Then we realized that we did in fact want the watercolor to absorb into the paper, we just didn't want it to be absorbant enough that our watercolors or ink bled. Also, we started our project using cotton linter pulp left over from our previous lab, but we ran into a minor setback and our original source of pulp ran out. Thank goodness Dr. Bordley was able to help us produce new pulp! So, the pulp we used for the remainder of our project was fresh-beaten pulp, still made of cotton linters. At the beginning of our project we planned to bind the pages of our book by punching holes in the pages and tying them together with some kind of string, but we ended up finding a more complex and sophisticated procedure for binding our book: the accordion method.
STEP-BY-STEP PAPERMAKING: http://www.tutorials.com/06/0697/0697.asp
PAPERMAKING SUPPLIES: http://www.papermaking.net/
We would like to thank Dr. Bordley and Carolyn Fitz for their assistance throughout the course of our project!