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How to Make Paper from Corn

This is a tutorial showing you how to make paper from corn. And I give you a few different options. This tutorial focuses more on how to make paper from corn husk. It is light on the whole paper making process. If you have never made any kind of paper you might want to check out my beginners tutorial here. It includes videos.

I also have a video for this tutorial at the bottom of the page.

Will has a youtube channel with over 700 videos on projects you can make. Check it out right here

 

Safety Guidelines for using Soda Ash
  • A General guideline is to use 1 tablespoon of soda ash per quart of water.
  • Cook it outside if possible, a hot plate, or some kind of outdoor cooking set up. If you use it inside then insure the area is well ventilated.
  • You should also wear protection. This means gloves, safety glasses and a respirator.
  • Always add the soda ash to the water. Never add the water to the soda ash. It can cause explosive splattering.
  • 1 tablespoon of soda ash per quart of water.
  • rinse very thoroughly and then rinse thoroughly another couple of times
  • Always use a stainless steel pot. An enamel pot is ok as long as there are no chips in the enamel. Do not use any other type of pot. Same goes for utensils. Use only stainless steel utensils or plastic utensils.
  • I have read some things that point to arm and hammer washing soda as a substitute for Soda Ash. It makes sense to me but I have not tried it.

 

Materials Used in this Tutorial:

  • 1 dozen corn
  • 3 Gallons of water
  • 12 Tablespoons of Soda Ash or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Large Stainless Steel Pan
  • Stainless steel or plastic utensils
  • Paper making tools such as Mold and Deckel
  • Materials to absorb water, like felt, paper towels, dish towels or couching paper
  • Blender or food processor
  • Mallet for hammering the husks (optional)

 

Overview

When it comes to making paper you need some kind of plant matter that is fibrous. It is these fibers that are woven together to make paper. Many different types of plants are suitable for this including corn husk. But the fiber needs to be broken down. In it's plant state is too tightly bound together. We typically break it down with some kind of a chemical. Soda ash and heating in water does this breakdown very well.

 

Shuck the corn

I shucked one dozen ears of corn.

Discard shanks

Discard the shanks, silk and any parts that are brown or overly ripened. I was very liberal with what I discarded and still ended up with just about 1 pound of husk.

You can also manipulate the color of your paper at this stage. If you keep more greens then your paper will be more green. If you keep all the whites and discard the greens your paper will be much whiter.

Wash the corn

Thorougly wash the husks. I first washed with a little dish washing detergent then I rinsed it all off twice.

A bag of soda sash

Next we are going to mix up a batch of water and soda ash. This will break down the fibers in the corn husk.

Use 1 tablespoon per quart of water.

Be sure to carefully adhere to the safety guidelines I have described in the table at the top of this page.

Add soda ash to water

Add the soda ash to the water. Never add water to the soda ash! Always add the ash to the water. Do it slowly, stirring it in.

Add corn husks to water

Add the corn husks and stir them in gently. Wear protective gloves and glasses, and stir gently to avoid splashing.

Stir and heat

Simmer it for two hours. Longer is ok. But make it a minimum of two hours.

Rinse thoroughly

Let the pot cool then rinse the corn off thorougly. Once it is rinsed you should rinse it again, thoroughly. You want to make sure the soda ash is gone before you handle it.

 

NextOk, let's continue and make some paper

Watch the video here:



 

 

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Arnold Grummer's Econoly Large-Dip Handmold Papermaking Kit

Arnold Grummer's Econoly Large-Dip Handmold Papermaking Kit

Makes an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. The remarkably affordable price of the dip handmold makes it a perfect choice for classroom use. Includes deckle, a packet of dried flowers and illustrated directions for making paper and using botanicals.

 

Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking

Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking: Make Your Own Recycled Paper from Newspapers & Magazines, Can & Bottle Labels, Disgarded Gift Wrap, Old Phone Books, Junk Mail, Comic Books, and More

Transform junk mail, newspapers, comic books, wrapping paper, food can labels, and old phone books into beautiful hand-made paper in just minutes! "Trash-To-Treasure Papermaking", the ultimate guide for crafty recyclers, is every family's answer to the problem of too much paper waste. With just a blender, paper scraps, and water, people of all ages will discover the fun of whipping up sheets of unique handmade paper in a variety of shapes, colours, textures, and sizes. From cards, invitations, and little bound books to paper bowls, wreaths, and ornaments, this book features dozens of creative projects for using the newly made paper.


 

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