Tuesday, 22 March 2011

3 Ways to Make Silk Paper

Silk Paper made from Silk Carrier Rods
1) Sericin 'Glue'

The simplest method is to use fibres which still contain the sticky sericin left over from the cocoon (see our previous post).

These fibres are placed in a thin layer on baking parchment and sprayed with water, dye or silk paint and a second sheet of baking parchment placed on top.  The sandwich is then ironed with a medium heat until the fibre is dry, then allowed to cool. This process re-activates the sericin so that it glues the fibres into a flat surface.

The example top right, shows a paper made from flattened silk carrier rods which have been brushed with Jacquard Pearl-ex Powder to create a glistening effect.

Silk Papers with Inclusions
2) Silk Paper Medium or CMC

These silk papers, right, have been made using hand-dyed silk fibres.  Skeleton leaves have been added to enhance the surface.  The purple and blue paper is made from strips of paper using the same technique.

The fibres are placed in perpendicular layers to each other on a piece of nylon mesh netting (the netting should be slightly larger than the finished piece) and a second piece of netting is placed on top to create a sandwich.

Using either Silk Paper Medium (an acrylic based binder) or CMC paste (a solution of water and methyl cellulose), the solution is poured onto the netting and then worked in with a sponge until it has penetrated the fibres. The top netting is removed and the fibres are left to dry.

The acrylic based Silk Paper Medium will produce a tougher paper with a water resistant surface and can be used to shape 3d objects, while CMC will produce a soft paper, ideal for stitch.

Find out more about this technique >

Image from 'Silk Paper for Textile Artists'
by Sarah Lawrence, copyright 2008 by
Breslich & Foss Ltd
3) Solvy Vanishing Film

The silk fibres are sandwiched between two sheets of dissolvable film (see Solvy Vanishing Film), and freeform stitched through all the layers on a sewing machine. The stitching is looped and crossed over until the fibres are captured in the threads. The completed fabric is then placed in a bowl of warm water to dissolve the film. 

This vessel, made by author and textile artist Sarah Lawrence (see her blog), is made from fabric created using method 3.

Further ideas

Include items such as skeleton leaves, petals, threads, plant fibres or strips of paper and use silk paints or dyes to add colour.

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