The Power of Paper: A Papermilldirect Guide0
Posted on 22nd February 2018 by Emily
Filed under Papermill Direct News
Wood you ever believe that we get our much-loved paper and card from trees? Does it baffle you to think that something so strong and tall creates what we draw, write, paint on and craft with? Of all the questions we may have in this world, the process of getting paper from trees must be on the top of your list. Without this process we wouldn’t have many items- not just paper. Did you know that items such as chewing gum and even paint comes from the same wood pulp which makes paper?
Pulp to Paper Process
The process all starts with raw wood. This wood is made up of many little fibres called ‘cellulose’, which are all stuck together with a glue-like substance called ‘lignin’. When this substance is removed, and the fibres are divided and reorganised, paper can be created.
To make the craft paper we love here at Papermilldirect, the raw wood must be first transformed into pulp. Wood pulp is a watery liquid made up of cellulose, wood fibres, lignin, water, and chemicals. This is the mixture used within the process.
While wood can be turned into pulp in a couple of ways, mechanical pulping usually involves a machine to grind wood chips into pulp. Whole trees cannot be used straight away, and bark cannot be used; they must be ground down into smaller chips suitable for next steps.
Chemicals are used to separate the lignin from the cellulose fibres which leaves a pulp - which makes for a strong mixture. Once the pulp ‘soup’ is ready, it then goes on to the second part of the process. Because the pulp mixture is watery (sometimes even 99% water), the cellulose fibres need to be separated from the water.
Pulp is essentially a thicker, less refined version of paper. So why can’t we just use pulp for our craft paper? Well, it takes much more than that.
Machinery will spray the mixture onto a moving mesh called a wire to make a layered mat which them goes through many processes to remove the water and dry it out. The mat is then run through heated rollers which squeeze out any water and compress it onto a reel or sheet of paper. The sheets are heated at above 100 degrees Celsius!
Dependant on what type of paper is required, the pulp mixture may need to be altered in ways such as being bleached if the paper needs to be white. This only happens when the paper has reached its desired thickness. It can be coloured or coated with chemicals which will give the ‘ordinary’ paper extra strength or even water resistance. All these processes have been improved over the past decade so that waste products from these processes are not toxic.
The paper rolls are then cut to size and are packaged for further processing. If the paper needs to be turned into specialist products such as pearlized card or metallic, then there is much more to this! And we can’t forget about the cutting process- after all, the paper made from pulp comes out of the process on huge reels that would be to say the least, difficult, to begin crafting with.
Pulp is one of the most abundant raw materials worldwide, therefore it is no wonder we use it to make many of our essential products. There are even seven ways of pulping and separating the wood fibres!
The Importance of Paper
It’s fair to say that while we live in a digital era, we would be lost without the paper making process. We don’t just get our craft paper at Papermilldirect from the paper making process, but newspapers, tissue and other products also rely on it; with a lot involving recycled paper! New techniques are being developed to produce packaging from pulp to help reduce the need for plastic.
Amongst a world flooded with emails, texts, and online sources, it can be hard to see the importance of the humble pen and paper. However, have you ever stopped to think of the power that paper truly holds? What would you prefer as a wedding invite; an email or a hand-crafted paper invite? What about the difference between reading the paper on a Sunday morning and scrolling through article after article? We know which one we think holds more power, and well… life.
Especially within business, the power in which paper holds is momentous. Writing letters, postcards, creating wonderful crafts and even sending a simple thankyou note holds perhaps more power than it used to. It definitely cuts through all the digital noise we seem to be surrounded by.
Love, time, and dedication goes into the process of making paper, just as it does for any crafter to get creative with their inventions or a business to put the influence of paper to the test.
Papermilldirect provides to businesses and crafters, or anyone looking for top quality and powerful craft paper and products. Whatever your requirements, simply get in touch with our team, who will be more than happy to find the perfect craft paper for you.