Making Paper from Denim

We make most of our paper from recycled denim. Most old jeans end up in land fill, but if those jeans are 100% cotton and provided to a certain opshop in Canberra, chances are it will end up with us if no-one buys it second hand.

Making paper from denim is very closely related to the original papermaking methods used in Europe and America when old cotton rags were used for paper manufacturing.

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1. First we cut the denim into postage stamp sized pieces before soaking it overnight in water and rinsing it very well to remove all soap suds.

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2. Fill the beater with water, add some denim and let the roller do its work!

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3. Process the denim pieces in a beater until the desired texture is obtained. The pieces below have been beaten for only about five minutes and there is already evidence that the threads are being separated.

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4. A bit more refining and the denim have taken on the appearance of coarse wool.

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5. At last, some pulp.

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6. Someone will be pulling a sheet from a vat.

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7. And someone will couch the sheet onto a post.

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8. Someone will press the freshly formed sheets to remove excess water.

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9. And someone else will hang the new sheets to dry…

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10. …before someone will iron the newly dried paper.

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11. All in all, we can’t tell you who made which sheet of paper, but we can tell you, it was team work and we loved every minute of it!