PAPER-MAKING: LED POP-UP CARDS WITH CIRCUITRY

Skin and Bones: Armatures and Sculptural Papermaking – Ellen Kucera and Chris Petrone  

Ellen and Chris led students in creating sculptures from the inside out, starting with elegant armatures. Beginning with skeletal frames of wire, steel, twine, and basket weaving, students then created paper to cover their forms. Credit banner image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28526815@N08/28829944092


Front cover.

Back cover.

INTRODUCTION  

Making paper by hand is a thing of beauty. Holding the dry textured artwork in your hands provides so much fulfilment! The end product – made from old receipts, scrap papers, junk mail, and copy paper that you were about to throw in the recycling bin – has so much practical value. It can become anything you can imagine. A greeting card, a pop-up card, a book, and so much more.

OVERVIEW OF THIS BOOK

This book will introduce and cover the basics of making handmade paper from recycled paper. The basic tools and equipment required for papermaking are covered. The steps of how to make a sheet of paper are included. Ideas like greeting cards, pop up cards, wrapping paper, and more are explored and explained. Techniques like adding seeds, doing printing on the paper, colouring and scenting the paper – to name a few – will be discussed.

 From a teaching perspective, the underlying value of this activity will be investigated. For parents and educators, several layers of integrated learning are included. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) is explored in the process of papermaking.

Areas that will be touched on are global citizenship, sustainability, taking action for the environment, taking social action, entrepreneurship, business opportunities, accounting, and more. These areas are very relevant and are practical, cutting-edge educational practice today. These aspects will provide a richly layered approach to project-based learning, like creating and selling handmade greeting cards.

Additionally, some very creative techniques for adding value and fun to the papermaking process. For example dyes for papermaking (colouring), different paper textures (choice of materials), scented paper and exploring different fibres.

The next section of the book includes pop-up greeting card making. The goal is to plan the papermaking (colours and textures) for pop-up card making as a second activity. Thirdly, electrical circuits to the pop-up card will be introduced. Finally, the programming of microprocessors will be touched on. The microprocessor will be programmed to light up led lights, make buzzers go and more. 

ABOUT PLANTS AND PAPERMAKING:

Amazingly, many plants can be used for papermaking! Some plants are grown specifically for the hand papermaking process, others can be sustainably harvested from the wild, and even more can be made from leftover fibres from the garden, kitchen, or even agricultural waste (check out Fresh Press). To make strong paper, choose plants with a high cellulose fibre content. Fine paper requires fine fibres.

This process may sound very simple, however, please keep in mind that each plant fibre requires different treatment along the way, and the resulting paper will reflect the fibre’s unique characteristics. So exciting! There’ are just so many different techniques for cutting, scraping, cooking, retting, pulping, sheet formation, pressing, and drying for papermaking. These techniques and processes will all affect the outcome of your paper. More about that later.

 

THE PAPERMAKING PROCESS IN SHORT

Recycled paper is shredded by hand into small pieces (about 1 cm). The paper is placed in a kitchen blender with water. A blender is fine for beginning to make paper. However, more sophisticated equipment is available like a Hollander paper beater. The pulp is then poured into a large tray. A mould and deckle are used to scoop the paper slurry out of the tray. Place the mould and deckle on the tray edge an allow most of the water to drain. Transfer the sheet of paper carefully onto a sheet of pellon by tilting the mould onto the sheet of pellon.

Pellon: Polyester sheet material sold in fabric stores as interfacing and available in varying thicknesses. It can be used as a substitute for papermaking felts.

 

Several methods can be used to drain most of the excess water. For example pellons, towels, wool, and more. Place the absorbent fabric on both sides of the paper and lightly press to remove the excess water.

I use a large rubber roller – after most water is drained and expelled – to push more water and moisture out of the wet paper. The water can then be removed with a towel or sponge.

An additional step is to transfer the wet paper onto blotting paper. Be careful during the process. Blotting paper can be purchased from any art supply shop. For absorbing water from the wet paper the thicker the gauge of the blotting paper the better. The great thing about the blotting paper is that one can use it repeatedly. Just leave the blotting paper to dry overnight, and voila it is ready for the next papermaking session! Place the wet paper between two sheets of blotting paper (one at the bottom and one at the top). Take a large rubber roller and lightly press while rolling over the paper. The more blotting paper you use in succession, the quicker the water is removed from the newly formed wet paper.

A paper press is the best method when flattening the sheets of paper. However, not everyone has one. Using wooden boards (e.g. plywood), loading the paper in between pellon and towels and standing on it (using your body weight) will also work to press and drain the water from the newly formed paper.   

ALTERNATIVE DRYING TECHNIQUE: WHEN YOU ARE IN A HURRY AND CAN’T WAIT FOR THE PAPER TO DRY – IRONING METHOD

Place the wet paper – after draining most of the water with blotting paper – between two sheets of cotton. A towel could also work! Take a medium to a hot iron and start ironing the cotton or towels – turn it over from time to time. After a while, the paper will be almost dry. Transfer the paper to thin layers of fabric like cotton and repeat the ironing process. You should end up with dry paper, ready for use. 

LONGER DRYING METHOD

The paper is then transferred to a new dry wooden board with pellon on both sides (top and bottom) of the paper. Next step is the drying process. The ideal is to dry the paper while under pressure. A drying rack and ventilated drying rack (electric fans) are perfect for this process. However, if you are on a budget, carefully place the wet paper on a sheet of glass or against a window (glass pane). Wait for it to dry. This could take up to 24 to 48 hours depending on ventilation, sun exposure, and the thickness of the paper. Wait for it to dry. The papermakers from around the world have large plywood boards with a stand which they place outside in the sun. The boards hold the wet paper and sun do all the work. See how paper is dried in Bangladesh.

 

Remove the paper from the glass and inspect the paper. The paper is now ready for use!


 

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR PAPERMAKING

All you need to do is collect all the scrap paper lying around. Find a plastic storage tub and an old kitchen blender? With a few supplies and these basic instructions, you’re well on your way to making handmade paper. You will be very friendly to the environment!

 

SUPPLIES FOR MAKING PAPER:

 

  • Water
  • Scrap Papers
  • Plastic storage tub or vat (shallow tray)
  • Kitchen blender – get one from the opportunity/thrift store at a low price
  • Mould & Deckle (a mesh screen attached to a frame). See here how to create your own mould and deckle:  How-to make a mould & deckle
  • Wood boards, sponges & a rolling pin
  • Used towels, wool blankets, cloth, pellon, blotting paper, or other absorbent material
  • Additional collect petals, leaves, flowers, seeds, and almost anything organic and lay it flat on the paper. This will elevate the paper art to the next level. However, there are so many more ideas!
  • Paper press: You could improvise by placing the paper between two sheets of plywood. Just stand on it to press it – simple. However, if you want to invest in a simple paper press you could make one, or you could purchase a professional paper press. To start with, pressing with your body weight will work just fine!
  • For quick drying use a clothes iron (wrap paper in cloth and iron till dry). Be careful not to burn yourself!

MAKING A SIMPLE MOULD AND DECKLE FROM PICTURE FRAMES.

YOU WILL NEED:

 

  • 2 x size A4 picture frames – inexpensive ones or used ones
  • Galvanised chicken mesh - size A4
  • Nylon or aluminium fly screen mesh – size A4
  • A pair of scissors
  • A pair of tin snits (used for cutting sheet metal)
  • A staple gun

CONTENTS

Introduction. Page 6

Overview of this book. Page 6

THE PAPERMAKING PROCESS IN SHORT. 7

ALTERNATIVE DRYING TECHNIQUE: WHEN YOU ARE IN A HURRY AND CAN’T WAIT FOR THE PAPER TO DRY – IRONING METHOD.. 8

LONGER DRYING METHOD.. 8

Equipment required for papermaking. 9

Supplies for Making Paper: 9

MAKING A SIMPLE MOULD AND DECKLE FROM PICTURE FRAMES. 9

You will need: 9

...................................................................................................................................................... 10

STEP 1. 10

STEP 2: 11

STEP 3: 11

HOW TO MAKE PAPER FROM THE RECYCLED PAPER. 15

STEP 1: CUT UP PAPER (ALTERNATIVELY USE A PAPER SHREDDER) 15

STEP 2: BLEND IT & MAKE A VAT OF PULP. 18

STEP 3: PULL SOME SHEETS. 18

STEP 4: COUCHING (Pronounced ‘coo-ching’) 19

STEP 5: ROLLING.. 23

STEP 6: PRESSING.. 24

Option 1: Hand Pressing. 24

Option 2: Board Pressing. 25

STEP 6: DRYING.. 27

Option 1: Quick drying using an iron (if you are in a hurry) 27

Option 2: Surface Drying (any flat surface will suffice) 27

Option 3: Exchange Drying. 27

Option 4: No Restraint Drying. 28

Option 5: Dry on Pellon or Cloth. 28

SAVING AND STORING PULP. 28

The key principles of fair trade. 29

More about Trade Aid: Prokritee (Bangladesh) the art of handmade papers. 31

VIDEO: Prokritee (Bangladesh) the art of handmade papers. 31

SAMPLES OF THE HANDMADE PAPER FROM THE WOMAN IN BANGLADESH: 31

Fun Projects to Do. 37

LEARNING ABOUT NETS: 43

STEM, STEAM, AND ESSSTEAM... 45

EXCITING CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE DESIGN BRIEF: 47

ALTERNATIVE APPROACH: Tell your story through sculpture or 3-D mode. 48

MOVING FROM THE BASIC CIRCUITRY TO MORE ADVANCED ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS AND SYSTEMS. 49

YOU CAN LEARN ARDUINO IN 15 MINUTES: 51  

Interested in electronics?. 52

FREE SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FORM THE ARDUINO WEBSITE: 53

PRACTICE MAKING A VERY SIMPLE GREETING CARD WITH ONE LED.. 65

WHY NOT ATTEMPT TO CREATE A POP-UP GREETING CARD? INCLUDE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE LEARNED UP TO NOW. 71

HOW TO USE THE CATHEDRAL POP-UP CARD TO INCLUDE LED LIGHTS AND A MICROPROCESSOR. 72

WHAT IS A PICAXE MICROPROCESSOR?. 72

Programming Software. 73

Blockly: 73

FLOWCHARTS: 74

PICAXE Editor 6 supports all PICAXE chips and has a full suite of code development features such as: 75

THE CIRCUIT TO THE CATHEDRAL POP-UP GREETING CARD: 76

Chibitronics blends art and engineering through paper electronics. 77

Conclusion. 77

ABOUT THE TEACHER AND AUTHOR: Page78

 

IMAGE: Equipment to make a mould and deckle. Stapler, roller (to push water from the wet paper into absorbent blotting paper), scissors, tin snips, flyscreen (nylon or aluminium), chicken mesh (galvanised), and 2 x size A4 picture frames (new or used). Credit images - creating a mould and deckle – William van Zyl.