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How To Make Japanese Washi Paper

Washi is a Japanese word for traditional handmade paper. Use this method to produce it using traditional Japanese materials and Western paper making equipment.


  • Step 1: Place the mold upside down on a sheet of interfacing material and couching felt. Apply pressure to force water through the back of the screen and remove the mold from the paper.
  • Step 2: Cover the paper with a second sheet of interfacing material, fix the sheet of paper to a flat drying surface, and peel it away when it is completely dry.
  • FACT: Washi is traditionally made in Japan in the winter. The cold temperatures preserve the plant fibers and result in a stronger sheet of paper.
  • Step 3: Form a second layer by dipping the mold in the vat again, and allow the fibers to drain. Shake the fibers from front to back, then side to side, and continue dipping until the desired paper thickness is achieved.
  • Step 4: Shake the kozo fibers from front to back, being careful not to spill any. Allow the pulp to drain until the surface loses its gloss.
  • Step 5: Place the deckle on top of the paper mold. Dip them together into the pulp at a 45-degree angle, and draw them toward you without dipping the mold entirely.
  • TIP: If you cannot find a mold and deckle at a crafts store, construct your own from two flat picture frames with a screen attached to one of them.
  • Step 6: Beat 1 pound of cooked, bleached kozo fibers with a wooden mallet for 25 minutes. Half-fill a 26 by 17 by 9-inch vat with water and add the beaten fiber. Then add 1 to 2 cups formation aid to the vat, stirring vigorously.

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