If you’ve been making your own handmade paper now, you might want to try making rice paper. Rice paper is a beautiful and elegant creation that has been used in writing and art for centuries in China and Japan. Slightly translucent with a unique texture, it will be a lovely addition to your handmade paper collection.
Though rice paper traditionally means paper made from rice plants, today it can be made from just about any plant source, such as bamboo.
To make your own rice paper, you will need about a pound and a half of bamboo leaves, two and a half pounds of wood ash (such as from a fireplace), a big pot, a basin, water, a couple of towels, some mesh for straining, a mortar and a pestle for grinding, a wooden spoon, the frame you made for paper-making, any decorations you’d like in the paper, and some heavy books for pressing your paper.
To begin, shred your bamboo leaves and set them aside. Prepare your ash by mixing your wood ashes with your water in the pot. Boil the mixture for half an hour and let it sit overnight.
The next day, strain the mixture through your mesh. Mix your bamboo and the ash mix in the pot and cook it together for five hours. When it’s finished cooking, strain the whole mixture once again, and wrap the fiber that’s left in a towel.
Rinse the towel out with fresh water and squeeze out the excess water. Empty the fibers from the towel into your mortar and grind it into a paper pulp with your pestle. Next, fill your basin up with water and pour in your pulp. You should have about four parts of water to one part pulp. Stir it well with your spoon.
Follow through with the rest of your paper-making steps, and when you are finished, lay a piece of cloth over the paper before covering it with your books to flatten it out.