BackHow it is Made


Paper-Go-Round – using techniques of the past to ensure the planet has a future.


Traditional Blends with Modern

Whilst we still use many traditional techniques of the ancient craft of making paper by hand, we have revitalised them to provide unique papers for the modern world. Our years of experience and expertise have enabled us to hone the techniques and introduce new ways of doing things. This has given us a finely tuned process of production and drying with controls and innovations at every step, ensuring paper is produced with seeds that are carefully nurtured right up until the paper is despatched from our warehouse.

Our experience is formidable and our production capacity substantial – all geared to produce the seeded paper that you want and in the timescale that you need it.

We also make paper without seeds but with other interesting inclusions to give a special decorative look to the paper.

Because all our paper is made by hand, it all has a deckle edge when first made. It has normally been trimmed off by the time the paper is delivered to you (eg as postcards or A4)… but it can also be left on. So we can make you paper that has a deckle edge in any size from a business card up to A2+.



What is a deckle edge?

Traditional equipment for making paper by hand is called a mould and deckle. The mould is a frame with a fine mesh stretched over it and the deckle is just a frame which is held on top of the mould. (Deckle comes from the German word for ‘lid’ and should not be confused with a ‘decal’ which an image for transfer to another surface.)

The mould and deckle are held together and dipped into the watery paper pulp. When brought to the surface, the water drains through the holes in the mesh and the paper fibres stay on the mesh. The deckle acts as an edge for the pulp, covering up areas of the mesh and effectively delineating the sheet of paper that is being made. Normally deckles are rectangular and designed to make paper the same size as the mould (eg A4). However, it is also possible to use a deckle to create a different size or special shape (such as an envelope shape).

Although most of the paper pulp stays over the uncovered mesh, some feathers under the edges of the deckle and creates a wavy edge on the final sheet of paper (or the special shape). This wavy edge is the deckle edge, characteristic of handmade paper.


History of Paper Making

Paper was first made in China in A.D. 105. Paper making spread to Egypt in the 9th century (where it gradually displaced papyrus, which had been the common writing material for 3000 years) and then, via Morocco, to Europe in the 12th century.

The raw material for this paper was cotton rags and as the demand for paper increased in the 19th century, so the pressure on the source of the raw material increased. Papermakers started to experiment with different materials such as straw, jute, bamboo, etc (all of which can be used to produce interesting papers). In 1844 a mechanism for pulping wood for use in paper manufacture was developed. This then gave the paper industry access to a readily available source of cellulose fibre (the basic constituent of paper), although it was towards the end of the 19th century before other inventions made the use of wood pulp suitable for a range of paper types.


Paper made by Machine

All the early paper was made by hand - it wasn't until 1806 that the first paper machine was constructed, in England by the Fourdrinier brothers. This also gave the ability to make paper as a continuous web rather than discrete sheets. Most of the paper machines used today are called Fourdrinier machines and operate on the same basic principles as this first machine.

Paper made by hand involves dipping a frame, with a fine screen stretched over it, into the pulp and a sheet of wet paper is formed on the screen, one sheet at a time. However, the Fourdrinier machine uses a moving conveyor screen and the pulp  flows onto the moving mesh.

As the pulp flows onto the moving mesh, the small cellulose fibres of the pulp tend to line up with the direction of movement. This gives the paper a ‘grain’ direction. If you tear some strips of newspaper, for example, the strips will be much easier and straighter when the tear is in one direction than in the other. The easy, straight tear is in the direction that the mesh was moving when the paper was made. Whereas the harder tear which also gives a more jagged result, is tearing across the moving direction of the mesh. Imagine lots of tiny straws all lined up in the direction of mesh movement… much easier to tear along the length of the straws than it is across them.

In Australia, the paper industry of the colonies was initially based on rags and waste paper. In 1900 the first wood pulp was imported and 30 years later Australian eucalypts were used for the domestic production of wood pulp. Using hardwoods for the production of paper was a world first (northern hemisphere softwoods having previously been used) and has since resulted in eucalypt plantations being established in a number of countries (often with the associated depletion of groundwater and soil nutrients).

Most of the paper that the world uses is made on enormous, multi-million dollar machines, running at high speeds to precise specifications and producing maybe a thousand tonnes of paper every day of the year.

Huge reels are the typical end result of the modern mass production of paper.

At Paper-Go-Round, not even the skilled ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ paper makers can hope to compete with this volume! So we do not try but instead, we create wonderful handmade papers using techniques that have survived the industrial revolution and modern technology. Techniques that have survived for hundreds of years and enable us to produce wonderful papers embedded with seeds or other inclusions.


Paper-Go-Round – using techniques of the past to ensure the planet has a future.