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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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