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Handmade Paper from Rice Straw, Cotton Plants, and Banana Stalk

By Pinoy Farmer | May 24, 2009
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Paper from Rice Straw

Paper can be made from any fibrous plant but the best material is rice straw. Abundant rice straw go to waste during harvesting time. With a very minimal capital, this agricultural waste could be a good source of livelihood. Making paper from rice straw can be done even by children in their homes or as a project in the community. The art of papermaking is being done since the ancient times in China and Japan where different types of paper such as glossy and silky ones are produced.

Materials to be used:

1. Wooden mold
2. Cooking pot
3. Weighing scale
4. Box with 100 inch screen for working the rice straw.
5. 50 inch screen metal strainer in a wooden frame for separating waste from the melted rice straw.
6. Plastic or metal basin or any big container where the mold with mixed rice straw and water can be soaked until melted.
7. Wood to grind the cooked straw.
8. Rolling pin to remove water from the melted straw.
9. Choose cloth to drain water from straw in the mold.
10.Wooden press – to drain water during molding of the cooked straw.
11. Wooden drier where the paper produced are laid to dry.
12. In the absence of a wooden drier, the produced paper can be pinned in cheese cloth and hang in clothline to dry.
13. Chemicals and other materials:

Sodium hydroxide – to soften the rice straw during cooking

Rosin size and alum – to prevent excessive absorption of water and blotting of the dye.

Sodium hypochlorite – for bleaching of paper (if desired)

Procedure:

A. Preparation of rice straw

1. Cut rice straw into 5 cm length, remove waste and stores. Then wash in running water.
2. Put 1 kilo dried straw in the cooking pot.
3. Make a solution of 210 gram sodium hydroxide (95% pure) in 19 liters of water. Pour the solution in the pot with rice straw and boil for two hours.
4. Wash the cooked straw and make these into balls by hand.
5. Pound the straw balls with wood in hard wood or flat stone to grind the fibers. It can also be ground or pound in a mortar and pestle.
6. Strain the grounded fiber in a 50 mesh screen placed on top of a 100 mesh screen box in running water (faucet or hose). Nylon mosquito net may also be used as screen.
7. Let the ground fiber pass through the screen and drop in the box. These are the mash which will be the paper material.
8. Squeeze the mash with both hands to remove the water and then place in a clean container.

B. Bleaching

1. Make a solution of 400 grams of sodium hypochlorite in one liter of water.
2. Let the mesh drip and from them into balls.
3. Pound the balls with wooden beater to make it finer.
4. Place the fine mesh in a basin and add water according to desired thickness of mesh. For a 10″ x 14″ x .045″ basin the thickness of the mesh in about 20 liters.
5. Add rosin size and alum. (10 grams of rosin size in 10 centiliters boiled water 10%). Make a solution of 20 grams alum in 10 centiliters boiled water (20%) and add to the mesh.
6. Hold the mold firmly with both hands and soak in the basin with rice straw mesh. Move the mold to spread the mesh and with even thickness. Drain the water and let the mesh form into paper.
7. Cover the formed paper with cheese cloth and turn it upside down on a wooden drier. Place two or more cheese cloth under the screen and press with rolling pin to remove water.
8. Separate carefully the screen from the formed paper, place it in between the cheesecloth and hang to dry. Or let it dry on top of the wooden drier.

Paper from Stem of Cotton Plants

The stem of the cotton plant is rich in cellulose, a good material for papermaking. This process came from the Cotton Technological Research Laboratory in Bombay, India which taught papermaking from cotton plant stems – such as writing paper, wrapping paper, and newsprint. They used soft green stems with 70% moisture.

Procedure:

1. Boil the chopped stem in 6% alkaline.
2. Wash the cooked material and place in a beater to separate the fibers.

The resulting product is a good quality yellow pulp.

(In general, paper is made from cellulose materials. The procedure is almost the same except maybe for the ingredients used.)

Paper from Banana Stalk

Researchers from Japan National Chemical Laboratory for Industries discovered how to make paper using sugarcane bagasse and banana stalk. No poisonous chemical is used unlike the commonly used sodium suphide, sodium hydroxide and chloride. Such method is expensive and pollutes the environment. In the newly discovered method, no bleaching is needed. The chemicals used can be reused. Because of very minimal capital, this could be a good small industry.

Source: elgu2.ncc.gov.ph

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