From Pulp, to Paper, to Sculpture

Today I got inspired to re-explore the medium of Pulp and what I can do with it. A couple years ago a dear friend introduced me to Pulp and showed me how to create something from essentially nothing. The Sculpture above I created the frame entirely from making paper through this process I’m going to be showing all of you today.

Things you need:

  • Paper or Pulp
  • Blender
  • Empty tub/ large container
  • 2 empty canvas frames
  • Mesh
  • Towels
  • Food coloring dye (optional)

First you need Pulp, which you can either buy ready or if your like me and looking for an economical option, use your paper scraps you have laying around. Anything from Newspaper, to construction paper will work!

*Something to keep in mind is that whatever colors of paper you use will effect the color of your pulp, and ultimately your finished project. *

Next you blend your paper into pulp with warm water. I have a blender that is only for paper pulp which I recommend getting. Blending paper is hard on the motor so I suggest getting a cheap blender second hand that isn’t worth much.Once the paper is all blended into pulp (which will look gross) this is where you have the option of adding food coloring. I usually skip this step and instead add colored paper to get the coloring I want. For this example I chose to make a vomit green. Next, fill your empty tub or container with warm water. Dump all of the blender contents into the warm water. Now your ready to make your first sheets of paper!

Empty Vomit Green Pulp into tub filled with warm water. YES it will look like gross but don’t let that dissuade you.

Using empty canvas frames and mesh as a way to sift, you can submerge the mesh until its covered by a nice even layer of pulp. You may need to do a rocking motion with your frames and mesh to have an even layer. Carefully lift out your home-made sifter and angle slightly to get as much water off of the paper as possible.

Sheet of Pulp after being sifted and drained.

Next you flip over your layer wet layer of paper onto a towel. (So the paper will be facing down and the mesh will be facing upwards) Then press down on the mesh so that the towel soaks up as much as the water as possible. Once as dry as possible, carefully lift your mesh and frame up from one corner. Make sure to go slowly because it’s very delicate and can tear. And then Viola! You have your first sheet of paper!

Sheet after pressing dry and carefully removing mesh.

Now you can make your sculpture out of the paper! Whatever that may be, this is a great medium because its flexible and will take any form you want it to. Personally I’m going to roll my sheets into a pre-planned shape for the base of my sculpture.

Rolling Sheets into desired forms

Remember that there is no wrong way of creating a sculpture with this medium! All you have to do is be patient and try out something new.

Rolling and making the forms that I want. Then wait 24 hours to fully dry.