Ever wonder how to make home-made mulberry bark paper?
I learned something about it by watching some women make it while I was on the road from He Ho to Inle Lake in Myanmar. This girl is rinsing the pulp.
How to make home-made mulberry paper.
Harvest several branches from a paper mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera, (1 inch in diameter and about 8 feet long). Steam the branches for half an hour and peel the bark off in strips, scraping off the very outer black bark as much as possible.
Soak the fiber in water for 12 hours, add soda ash to the water and cook the fiber with occasional stirring in a pot for 4 hours. Cool the fiber down for 3 to 4 hours. It should pull apart in your hands. Rinse the fiber by dunking it into large buckets of clean water.
Pick up a ball of the fiber the size of a melon and squeeze out all the water. Lay it down on a work surface and beat it to a pulp for 10 minutes. Place the beaten pulp into a large vat and repeat the process until all the fiber is made into a pulp. Mix the vat of pulp with a small amount of water until it reaches the thickness you desire for your paper.
Wet the screen and cover it with pulp and shake the screen gently so the pulp to settles evenly, creating a flat piece of paper, and add leaves of lowers for decoration. Once the fibers start to settle, set it down on a flat surface. After the paper dries, peel it off the screen.
The photos showing the rest of the process of making mulberry bark paper can be seen here: http://goo.gl/lncB9q
Shan ProvinceMyanmarmulberry bark paperrinsing the pulp