This was a quick round last night, but informative none the less. I wanted to test if I could use a piece of acrylic to press the paper flat but wound up learning a fair bit more than that. I cut a peice of acrylic to fit within the deckle and quickly learned that the answer to that first question is "Not really." With enough pressure the acrylic (or any other flat surface) will depress the pulp, but not enough to give it an even texture and consistency. This will, however, push most of the air out between the acrylic and the oh so wet pulp creating a pressure differential that tears the proto paper to itty bitty bits if you try pulling the acrylic away. So the press mold notion was pretty much a bust all the way around. A fiberous material like leather or wood might be able to work around the pressure differential, or at least lessen the initial pressure difference, but it's kind of pointless if the pulp resists flattening in the first place.
So that was the "Failure" of this round (always an option) but I did figure out a few things. For one, I made this batch using roughly 1/8th the amount of water I usually would by "massaging" the pulp over the mesh rather than trying to float it. I like this using of a few cups of water rather than a couple gallons so I'll probably try to continue it. I also found that just leaving the paper out in the open to dry overnight, no covers or books or any such seems like a perfectly valid way to let them dry. There's some warping but not as much as I would expect. It may be relevant that it dried without being left out in sunlight, though I'm not sure.
Feels like it's time to do some further research.
- Tags: Experiment