I’d often wondered how Mulberry bark paper was made and we recently had the opportunity to watch how it is made:
The bark which has been peeled off the tree is first left to dry. It’s then soaked in water until it’s soft. Once it’s soft it’s pounded with a hammer for 20 minutes until the fibres start to break up.
A handful or two is put into the pot, water is added and then vigorously stirred with a wooden implement that looks like a stick with a number of branches sticking out (a bit like a giant hairbrush).
When the fibres are completely broken up and the water just looks cloudy, it’s poured into the frame which sits in a bath of water. Handfuls of fresh cherry blossom (or other natual elements) are dropped onto the surface.
It is then swished around by hand until the fibres and blossom are evenly distributed. The frame is carefully lifted out of the water and drained.
It’s then propped up and left to dry in the sun for a couple of hours.
Voilà your mulberry bark paper is ready to be used in lampshades, writing paper, wrapping paper, purses, etc.