Best Basic Papermaking Books

Best Basic Papermaking Books

This is a list of my favorite how-to books about making paper by hand. I will be compiling other themed ‘Best of Guides’ about various aspects of paper including the history of hand papermaking, papermaking techniques, papermaking with plants, paper engineering and more. Stay tuned!

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Some of these books were written awhile ago, but they still have great content! Others are out of print, but you can still find used copies. Let me know if you have a favorite basic papermaking book that I’ve left out, and I’ll consider adding it to this list.

Tin Can Papermaking: Recycle for Earth and Art

Arnold E. Grummer, 2002
This is a simple and novel approach to papermaking using a tin can and a piece of  window screen. Throw some recycled paper in a blender, mix in a few flower petals or confetti, and discover all sorts of creative applications for making unique sheets of handmade paper!
I wrote this blog post about how I use the technique to create test sheets. You’ll see a picture of my tin can papermaking set up there too!

Papermaking: From Recycling to Art

Jean Kropper, 1992
This is a basic papermaking book (mostly black and white, with a few color images), covering equipment, process, types of pulp and a brief overview of several creative techniques and a few projects.
Jean is doing creative paper designs and consulting in Austalia these days with her company, Paper & Pixel.

Teaching Hand Papermaking: A Classroom Guide

Gloria Zmolek, 1995
This book includes details about basic papermaking, lesson plans and tips for teachers, and advice on  integrating papermaking into a school’s curriculum. The book includes a short, concise yet entertaining history of hand papermaking to be read aloud in the classroom!
I had the pleasure of reviewing this book when it first came out.

The Art & Craft of Handmade Paper

Vance Studley, 1977
This book has a nice section on proto papers, followed by the progression of papermaking from East to West. Studley covers the basic tools and equipment, followed by fiber preparation, making paper, pressing and drying. A final section features projects, including casting, embedding, layering, paper for printmaking and drawing, and how to make a basic portfolio for storing and transporting papers.

The Papermaker’s Companion

Helen Hiebert, 2000
Yes, this is a shameless plug for my own book, but many colleagues tell me they use it as a text book in their classrooms. This book covers basic to professional equipment, a variety of methods for making paper and comprehensive details for exploring papermaking techniques.
I made a companion film called The Papermaker’s Studio Guide DVD which you might also like.

Helen Hiebert Studio participates in the Amazon affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. This means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link here, I get a small percentage of its price, which helps support Helen Hiebert Studio by offsetting the maintenance of this site and the free resources I provide. Thank you!


  1. […] Best Basic Papermaking Books […]

  2. Helen, GoodMorning from Prince Edward Island!
    Your PaperMaker’s Companion is still at the TOP of my list as most useful resource book.
    I now have all of your books and taken an online class that you offered. Fantastic! You are a TREASURE to the Papermaker’s community. Your endless enthusiasm is infectious. Wishing you a long go at it !! Linda

  3. […] you catch the Best Basic Papermaking Books that I posted last week? I’m building a virtual Paper Library, and this is just the […]

  4. Yes, your Papermaker’s Companion is still the best book for the beginner papermaker. I recommend it to all my classes. Having said “beginner”, as a paper making teacher I still go back to your book all the time to inform my teaching. I also show your videos in my classes so be sure to add those to your library. Thanks Helen!