Garlic Paper

by Daisy on 11/09/2009

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This image requires some explanation. It’s what’s left of the garlic braids now that we’ve eaten all the garlic.

I can’t resist making paper out of these stems. They are so clean and dried and . . . papery. And it doesn’t smell like garlic anymore. True garlic devotees may see this as a con, but, generally speaking, garlic-scented stationery is out of favor.

For more photos of papermaking step by step, see the posts Hand Papermaking with Daylily and The Daylily Paper is Made.

Here I soaked the cut-up pieces in water for a day.

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More than any other plant material I have used to make paper (daylily, yucca, and especially okra), garlic felt softer after a simple water soak.

I drained and cooked the soaked garlic stems in enough water to cover and 1 T. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda per quart of water. Again, the garlic became softer faster than usual. After only about 45 minutes, it was softened enough to stop the cooking, rinse in several changes of water, and begin the beating.

I beat the pulp for several minutes until a pinch of pulp put in a jar with water and shaken up was able to remain suspended in the water.

I formed and couched the sheets, pressed and dried them, and finished off with a little smoothing with a warm iron.

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The leaves from one braid (13 heads of garlic) was enough to make 2 1/2 sheets of paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″.

The book I consult most for papermaking is The Art and Craft of Papermaking, by Sophie Dawson. It’s from 1992, and I’m sure there are lots of newer books on papermaking, but this has been a reliable resource for me. It has such beautiful photography and illustrations of both historical and modern examples of paper craft, plus some pretty detailed instructions on beginning basic and creative, artistic techniques. I read this book for pleasure. Coffee table gorgeousness meets practical how-to.

If you can’t find washing soda in the laundry aisle of the supermarket, you can order it online here.



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather November 9, 2009 at 7:41 pm

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen made. Well done.

Emily November 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Very lovely!

Kat November 9, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I took a paper-making class in college–never fell out of love with the whole process.
I’ve never used a single sheet I made, though. I especially love the pretty blue paper made from old jeans.

Michelle November 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Garlic paper is beautiful!

Bethany James November 10, 2009 at 7:16 am

Very cool! I can’t wait to try some homemade paper, I love seeing yours so much.

Eileen Button November 10, 2009 at 7:54 am

The paper IS lovely, but I must confess something. When I saw the first picture, I thought it was a home decoration constructed with tampons. I thought, “Oh…well, THAT’S something I’ve never seen before!”

I learn something new every day.

Tomato Lady November 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

Eileen Button–Well, I was trying to make a basket, but it just didn’t want to cooperate. Must not be my thing. *sigh*

2 Green Acres November 10, 2009 at 9:40 am

Beautiful! I just planted my own garlic, and I will have to bookmark this for after I harvest it.

http://2greenacres.blogspot.com/2009/10/growing-garlic.html

Simple Mama November 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

This is just about the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

vashti braha November 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

I love this idea! I’ve always liked the papery feeling of garlic skins. I found your blog because of your cool crochet patterns but now I’m off to see your post on okra paper 🙂

Tanya Walton November 11, 2009 at 11:55 am

Wow…the paper looked great and was very interesting to find out how to make it. I am a huge letter writer and I am growing garlic on my allotment so this is just perfect for me…Thanks 🙂

Amy Rae January 2, 2014 at 11:54 am

I just found this blog and this post – I tried this paper but used the skins from the bulbs and cloves rather than the leaves. It turned out wonderfully, nice and thin especially for my first time making paper. Thanks for the tutorial!

Daisy January 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I’m very glad it turned out so well!

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