Thursday, October 7, 2010

Paper Pouring Mold

This post is slightly off topic from what I usually announce here, but after a discussion on the Yahoo Papermaking group about pouring paper, I had a few queries off list about how I built my mold. So here is a brief explanation with some images that will hopefully make it clearer for others. Above and below this text you can see images of the front and back my prototype pouring mold - the one that is about 5 feet long by 2 feet wide. The door behind it below can help give you a sense of scale.

Above this is a image looking through the mold from the front (or top). The mold is designed to create slow drainage, and so is lined first with screen print mesh (220 screen), then window screening, then egg crate for support. Below is a detail looking from the back (bottom) to the front. You can kind of see the U-shaped hook I used to attach the egg crate.

Below are two details of how the wood support for the egg crate are screwed in. You can also see the U-shaped hook a little clearer.

Hope this helps some fellow papermakers out there! Feel free to pass this blog link along. For an image of the bigger mold in use, please take a look here. To see images of some of the poured paper I've done, visit here and here.


Anonymous said...

I am new to paper making, but quickly realized the standard 8 ½ x 11 moulds weren't going to work for my needs, so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon your blog and custom made mould! After talking with a few people about making a large mould ( I want to make one about 2' x 4') I realized I would need extra support to prevent sagging. I then read up some more and people suggested egg crate, as you've used here. Since I'm new at this I had a couple questions and was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction.

Did you cut your egg crate down to size or just find it that size? (Is it from Home Depot?)

What's the benefit of using screen printing mesh versus one layer of window screen (do you need two layers for the support/drainage?)

Are the screens just stapled to the custom frames?

How's the process work for removing the paper from this custom mould?

Thanks for the blog! I'd appreciate any suggestions you're willing to give.

Rocinante Press said...

Hi maddiwonders!

Thanks for your comment! It's great to know that this blog is a resource for someone. Answers to your questions below:

1) The egg crate is from Home Depot, and I cut it down to size. I think I may have used tinsnips.

2) I used screen mesh because it's finer, so it slowed down the drainage. When using a pouring mold, you try to control the drainage as much as possible - and so something with finer holds like mesh gives you more control. But there is window screen underneath it for support - partially because when I first built the mold, I didn't use egg crate either, and and I thought it would be enough. So when I found out I needed more, I just added the eggcrate rather than rebuilding from scratch.

3) Yes, the screens are just stapled to the mold.

4) When using a pouring mold, the paper dries inside the mold and is peeled off when dry. VERY IMPORTANT STEP: after pouring the paper, run your finger around the edge of the mold to clear the fiber from the edge. This gives you a small clear space to get to the edge of the paper when it is time to peel. Usually, the paper peels off just fine, the only trouble I've ever had was when the paper was super thin.

Hope this is helpful - and let me know if you have any other questions!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle!

Thank you so much for responding! This is a great help to me. I just had a couple more questions.

1) If you were to rebuild your mold would you add the two layers consisting of screen mesh + window screen?

2) Is the wooden frame custom built too? I assume it is, but I thought I should double check.

3) In the Paper Pouring Process:

-Is the mold suspended in water when you are pouring your paper pulp?

-Once the pulp is poured on the mold, do you press down on the pulp with a sponge to remove excess water? or do you just let it very slowly drain and air dry?

4) Any suggestions where to find a very large plastic tub to drain the water into?

Thank you so much for the tips!

Rocinante Press said...

Hi Maddi!

Answers below -

1) I'd probably use it again, because the nylon window screen probably also protects the finer mesh from being ripped if the egg crate pressed it to deeply.

2) Custom built? Well, it's made out of stretchers that are usually used for stretching canvas for painting. Since I don't have that many woodworking tools, it was just easier for me to build it that way.

Paper pouring questions -

Is the mold suspended in water (ie. Napalese style) It could be, but I don't have a vat that big. I usually pour in a modified Japanese style where I pour in fiber with formation aid and stir it around as it drains slowly. By stirring, I get a fairly even dispersal of fiber.

Pressing down - sometimes, but I'd lay a piece of pellon over the sheet first and press through that so as not to distress the fiber and create a void in the sheet. But I haven't found that it makes a big difference. So most of the time I just let it drain and air dry. If you can, put the mold out in the sun, it will dry very quickly.

4) - Home Depot has concrete mixing bins that you could use, or maybe a kiddie pool depending on size?

Hope this helps!