Build a Mold and Deckle for Paper Making

Making paper is much easier than you may imagine.

There is some basic equiptment that you must either purchase or make. Everything is readily available.

  • A mold and deckle - instructions below.
  • a source of fiber
  • a device for beating your fiber into a pulp
  • a CLEAN water supply
  • a vat or container for holding diluted pulp

The Mold and Deckle Process

This mold and deckle is designed with a wire mesh screening as the overlay, a better design would use a nylon based screen as the pulp would not stick as tightly to the mesh. I used very inexpensive pine 1x2 boards and a simple tounge in grove style joint on the corners. The finished, sanded pieces were coated with Thompsons™ Water seal to protect them from the water exposure.

A simple mold and deckle

A basic mold and deckle for under $5.00

 

 

 

This mold and deckle is the one used by Ancient Pathway to make pages for our (small) books of shadows. 

The mold and deckle is the most important tool to the papermaker. Although its construction differs according to the method in use and the type of paper that is being made, the basic design is simple.

To make a mold and deckle you will need:

  1. 1/2" x 1/2 " wood, four 10" pieces and four 8" pieces
  2. Varnish
  3. Wood glue
  4. Fine-mesh nylon netting
  5. Stapler

To assemble the mold and deckle:

  • Arrange the pieces in a rectangle. You will be making 2 frames, but only one will have mesh netting. Glue them together, using an angle iron to get the corners square.
  • When the glue is dry, hammer in 2 small nails at each corner to hold the sides in place.
  • Paint the entire frame with varnish. Two coats is best and allow to dry overnight. This seals the wood so it will not discolor the paper.
  • Cut the netting 10" x 12". Wet the netting and staple it to the frame using a staple gun. Start by stapling the middle of one side, the the middle of the opposite side, pulling as tightly as you can. Then staple the other 2 sides.
  • Now staple all around the frame, making sure the netting is taut. As it dries, it will become tighter. Cut away the extra netting.
  • Brush around the edges and sides of the the frame--this will help keep the netting tight.

Note: You can also use picture frames that are the same size, but they do need to be flat so they don't slip when you are making the sheets of paper.