Magickal Goody of the Day
Homemade Paper for Your Grimoire
The basis of a handmade paper is pulp. You can make pulp from almost any kind of paper, but avoid using any paper with a glossy surface, such as pages out of magazines. These are treated with chemicals and unsuitable for the purpose of recycled papermaking. Remember, just because something is recycled, this in no way has any adverse affect on the quality.
– Paper, such as tissue, computer paper, writing or typing paper, paper bags
– A bucket
– Cold, clean water (add a few drops of Florida water or rose water)
– Two wooden frames; these can be picture frames, but the corners must be tight and secured
– A piece of mesh (net curtaining or window screen) to fit in frames; the finer the mesh, the smoother the paper
– Tablespoon or ladle
– Large plastic bowl (big enough to easily accommodate the frames)
– Liquid laundry starch
– Optional: dried or fresh flowers, leaves, or bits of lace; food coloring or dyes suitable for cotton fabrics; anything for added color that pleases you
– Palette knife or butter knife
– Absorbent cloths, such dish towels or Handi-Wipes (one for each page of paper you intend to make)
– Heavy book, chopping block, or brick
– Optional: A pentacle, an ankh, an eight-pointed star, or an amulet that you normally wear on your person, to be used as an embossing tool
1. Tear the paper into postage stamp-size pieces and soak the pieces overnight in a plastic bucket of cold, clean water. You can make this first step into a magical practice by adding a few drops of Florida water or rose water to the water in the bucket and by asking the Goddess to bless your work. As you tear the paper into bits, focus your energy into the paper and make your intentions known by reciting the following: “Goddess, bless this endeavor of art. By my hand, let the transformation begin so that your presence be known in the world for the benefit of all. So mote it be.”
2. Stretch the mesh over one of the frames and staple it so that it’s very taut. This covered frame will be used to pick up the pulp and keep it flat. If the mesh is loose, the paper will be saggy and difficult to remove from the frame. The empty frame will be held on top of the mesh frame and will give your paper a nice edge. Set the frames aside until step 6.
3. After your paper has soaked overnight, pour off the excess water and begin transferring the pulp into a blender, spoonful by spoonful.
4. Add water until the pitcher of the blender is no more than three-quarters full. Run the blender for about fifteen seconds, and then check the pulp to make sure it is broken down evenly. If necessary, stir the pulp and then run the blender for another five seconds.
5. Gently pour the pulp into the plastic bowl. At this point, you can add a spoonful of liquid laundry starch to the pulp. This will make your paper absorb the ink better, so there will be less of a tendency for the ink to bleed when you are writing.
6. Stir the pulp gently and wait for the movement of the water to cease. At the moment when the water is still— but the pulp has not yet settled— hold the frames securely in your hands with the empty frame on top and the mesh frame with the mesh facing up directly underneath it. Slide the frames under the water in a smooth motion, scooping up a layer of pulp. It may take some practice to get the pulp evenly distributed over the mesh frame.
7. Keeping the frames steady and flat, lift them out of the water and allow the water to drain away. A layer of pulp should cover the mesh screen. Remove the empty frame.
8. Consider pressing herbs and flowers into the wet surface. Thinking about using this paper for a protection spell? Why not use a sprig of rosemary along the edges? Perhaps you have a love spell in mind. Adorn some of your pages with red rose petals. You can set aside the pages decorated with flowers and herbs for specific use within your grimoire. Use whatever your mind is inspired to create. Do you feel a special connection to the goddess Ariadne? Include some silken threads. Enchanted by faerie glamour? Sprinkle some glitter across the paper. Make it your own.
9. Carefully remove the paper from the frame while it is still wet. A palette knife or butter knife will be a useful tool for loosening the edges, or if you wish you can use your athame, consecrating each page as you make it.
10. Once you have removed the paper, lay it carefully on one half of the absorbent cloth and, without folding your page, fold the other half of the cloth over the paper to absorb the excess water. Continue stacking individual pages in this fashion, making sure layers of cloth alternate with sheets of paper.
11. Put something waterproof (like plastic wrap) at the top of the stack of paper, then place a heavy book or chopping block on the top. This will weigh the paper down and keep it flat while drying.
12. You can add magical energy to your paper by embossing magical symbols in it. Embossed paper is made by pressing an object into the paper while the paper is still wet, then removing the object. If you want a well-defined motif, leave the embossing tool there as the paper is weighted and do not remove it until the paper is completely dry.
Feel free to experiment. The more energy you put into creating your book of shadows, the more you will enjoy using it.
—Judy Ann Olsen, A Witch’s Grimoire, Create Your Own Book of Shadows