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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 07-21-2008, 12:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default home made banana paper

with some help from a post made by the lorax awhile ago, and some improvisation, my banana paper turned out all right! for the first batch at least... its a bit uneven in spots, but i hope to get better with successive batches.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Was an innocent Siam Ruby killed in the process of this experiment????
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

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Was an innocent Siam Ruby killed in the process of this experiment????
haha, no, i wouldn't do that. it was a left over pseudostem from my TC experiments.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

interesting

so how do you make the banana paper???
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

i cut up the pseudostem into about 1cm long sections and pressure cooked them for about 30min (easier than boiling but seemed to be effective). i put them into the blender and they all quickly turned into a fine pulp, i poured the pulp on a screen and tried to get it as even as possible, then i placed a piece of foil over it and a board with some bricks on top to flatten it as it dried. it was a light brown, but since i was in experimental mode, i bleached it which made it a lot lighter, and it stayed strong enough to run thru water and get out most of the bleach after it lightened up. i then put it in the toaster oven with a tray over it to quickly dry it out again. this is just a little piece, about 5in across, but its all i had since i was just using a little pseudostem. im actually surprised at how strong it is, it feels like a decent heavy piece of craft paper. next time i want to try to make a big sheet.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

does it have to be psuedostem or could you use the leaves as well. if you could use most of the plant to make paper you could create a paper industry in south america and other nations that have banana crops growing. think of the benefits for poor families that could sell their paper or at least have their own paper for use in education or for letters!
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

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does it have to be psuedostem or could you use the leaves as well.
Im not sure how well the leaves work, my guess would be they work fine, especially mixed in with pseudostem fiber. Im hoping to try out lots of different things as I get better at it.

And I am getting better at it! On my third run of this I seem to have created something that could pass as a real piece of paper.


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Old 07-22-2008, 06:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Wow, Gabe. That sure does look like a real sheet of paper. Great job!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Nice progress!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Now this is really cool!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Gabe That is really neat, about how long from start to finnish does it take, I'ld like to give it a try with my childrens help but they have an attension span smaller than a ( well thats another story for a another time )
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Looks good! What changes did you make to improve the quality of the paper?
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: home made banana paper

This would be the ABSOLUTE BEST thing you could do with a pseudostem of a plant after you have harvested the fruit. Or else you end up 'wasting' a lot of stem in terms of paper production.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

gabe that is great!!!! market it to the nana org and ill buy some!
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: home made banana paper

That is so cool and looks good fun - thanks for sharing the process!!

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Old 07-23-2008, 09:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by harveyc View Post
Looks good! What changes did you make to improve the quality of the paper?
Mainly in the drying process. I went out and got a screen and built a frame to use, as opposed to a mesh metal trash bin I used for the first one. Also, I come up with some different ways to get the pulp much more thin and even before it dried. I'm not sure on the best or easiest way to do any of this, seeing as I've only done it 3 times so far I'll keep on improving it until I can get something consistently high quality and easy (or just easy to replicate) to produce. So far, I have just improvised and messed around with different ideas and tools until I found the results I was looking for, but I'm sure I'll find some efficient ways to keep it even thickness and thin (which seem to be the 2 hardest things to do, but with the right technique become easy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzwinder View Post
Gabe That is really neat, about how long from start to finnish does it take, I'ld like to give it a try with my childrens help but they have an attension span smaller than a ( well thats another story for a another time )
It took me about 45min from harvesting raw material to pouring the pulp on the rack, but the drying process can take all day or more. Making the pulp from the plant is the easiest thing to do, but making it into paper takes a bit more concentration.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:23 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

I also want to look into how acidic this paper is, and if needed (and easily possible), correct it.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

I think it'd be fun to try doing this sometime!!!
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:14 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

This product has been around a long time (various paper companies already make use of the agricultural waste from banana plantations), and it was really the lorax that wrote down the basic instructions and gave me the idea to try it myself, so thank her too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorax View Post

Here's how I make banana paper.

It's fairly easy if you have a mulcher, and a bit more labour intensive if you don't.

Either way, you need to chop the fibre of the stalks and leaves up fairly fine - think pieces of 1" length or less. Then put this along with enough water to more than float the fibre into a cauldron (or at least a honking big pot) and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. I like to do this outdoors, since the smell is not the world's most appetizing.

Once it's boiled for about half an hour, take it off the fire and go in there with eggbeaters and whip it good until all of the little fibres have separated. As it cools, you'll be able to go in with your hands and help this process along. At the end you should have a pulpy slurry.

Now comes the part where you actually form up the sheets. You need screens to do this; I used to use old silkscreens, but you can just buy fine mesh and encase it in wooden frames. I make fairly large sheets all at once; if you make your own screens you can control the size of the finished paper.

Now for the really messy part - be sure to do this outdoors. Take a ladle and gently ladle the pulpy mixture onto the screens, spreading lightly and trying to make sure that you get a consistent thickness of pulp, no more than 1 milimeter (1/16th of an inch) across the entire screen. Allow this to drip off flat. I have a special table that I've made, which is just edges that I can rest the screens on, and no flat surface. My paper drips out onto the ground below it. Once it's half dry, I take fitted blocks of super-smooth wood, slot them into the screens one to each side, and press the paper under large heavy rocks. This creates a smooth and a toothed surface to the paper. It's not a necessary step, but since I use the paper for painting and sketching I like the finish.

In South Ecuador, it's so dry and windy that paper dries in one day, in the North it takes two if it doesn't rain. Once it's most of the way dry, gently peel it off of the screens and hang it by clothespins on a line to finish the drying process.

If you press, one side of your finished paper will be very smooth, and the other will have a mild tooth. If you don't press, both sides will have tooth (roughness.)

Banana Paper!
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:17 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: home made banana paper

Cool, Gabe! And just so you know, that's Ms. Lorax! I made the same mistake a few weeks back and she kindly corrected me. I was a bit embarassed!
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