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.
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.
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.