Isolation baking: how to make your own paper

We are ditching food today to prepare something equally exciting (and equally tasty if you are a very poor cook): your own PAPER! The National Archives of Estonia hold the recipe to prepare paper:

https://www.archivesportaleurope.net/ead-display/-/ead/pl/aicode/EE-RA/type/fa/id/EAA.5269/unitid/EAA.5269.1.92/search/0/Rezept

Below is our version – please try it out, and let us know how do you intend to archive it!

  1. Prepare what you need.
    Make a frame fixing a very well stretched mosquito net on a wooden frame; you will also need a bucket bigger than the frame.
    Find some recyclable paper: newspapers, old printed documents, notebooks, as long as it’s not oily paper. Remember that the color of the final paper (that will likely be a shade of grey) will depend on the color of the paper and the amount of ink on it.
  2. Mash the paper.
    Clean the paper (taking plastic and metal out) and roughly break it down in pieces. Soak it in water for 30-45 minutes. If you want to make your paper whiter, add half a glass of white vinegar to this mix; if you want to create colored paper, use original paper with not too much black ink on it and add some food coloring to the mix.
    Now you can make your paper into a sludge (at this stage it’s thick, sticky and slightly watered down). You can do it by putting it in a food mixer with some warm water, or by using mortar and pestle. It needs to have the consistency of liquid oat.
  3. Prepare the paper.
    Fill half of the bucket with water. Add the mash to it and mix, removing the lumps. Now immerse the frame in the mix, flattening what surfaces with easy movements of the frame until the mash above the sift is even. Rise the sift above water and let it drip dry. Then put a piece of fabric on the frame, right on top of the paper. Press to eliminate the last remaining water.
  4. Finish the paper.
    Take the paper off the sift once dry. If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s not completely dry yet.

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