This manual has been prepared by Clay Club for the project ‘ Handpaper Making for Distinctly Enabled Individuals‘. The illustrated manual briefly explains the process of making Handmade Paper with utmost simplicity. The manual also briefly touches upon the making of large sheets. As this manual is specially prepared for ‘Distinctly Enabled Individuals’ we decided on having simple yet powerful imagery. These black and white pen drawings were prepared after some discussion with special educators who have had experience in working with special children.

contact sheet 1

contact sheet 2

contact sheet 3

contact sheet 4

Kindly feel free to comment and share your thoughts.



Here in this report it is of utmost importance to note, that we would refer to the students as ‘Distinctly Enabled Individuals’ and the project as ‘Hand Paper Making for Distinctly Enabled Individuals’.
. Cotton fibers, for example, may be one or more inches in length, with diameters of 0.02 in (0.05 cm).

The principal factors that determine whether a plant shall or shall not be used in manufacture of paper are suitability of fibre, dependability of supply, cost of collection, transportation and preparation and tendency to deteriorate in storage. Paper manufacture is one of the most energy intensive industrial processes. In India, total indigenous produ
Handmade Paper Making is one such village industry that originated before independence when all village industries took part in swadeshi movement under the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi. Handmade paper units can be as small as of 50 kg per day. It would be within the reach to set up such unit at many places. This would not only help in increasing the production of paper but also bring uplift of the weaker section of the society. The raw material for making hand made paper could be cotton linter, tailor cuttings, hosiery waste, bast fiberes (jute/ hemp etc), wheat straw, rice straw, bagasse, cotton stalk, grasses, waste paper etc. These raw materials are easily available in villages. The technology for making handmade paper includes simplicity of operation, low cost of installation and the same eq¬uipment can produce any and many varieties of hand made paper. This industry has the privilege or exemption from excise duty and has no restriction on the use of electric power.

1.1 Characteristics of Paper

Paper is generally defined as a single ply, flat material, varying in density and material content according to end use. Paper is a cellulose material amended with different additives, which form a cohesive sheet with desirable paper qualities. Paper can be made from many different plants, which contain adequate amounts of cellulose fibres. The cellulose, in the strong and durable form of elongated tubular fibres is the basic substance of paper. Paper can be made from many different plants, which contain adequate amount of cellulose fibres. The length of wood fibers from conifers is about 0.13-0.25 in (0.33-0.64 cm), and from hardwoods, about 0.04 in (0.10 cm). Other vegetable fibers are much longer ction of paper and paper products are 4.1 million tons in 1999-2000 by 380 paper mills. The current per capita consumption of paper in India is 3.8 kg and is expected to more than double at 7.9 kg paper and paper products will increase at a rate of 5% at every phase of human development. The usual paper making process in a mill is highly polluting. The black liquor generated by pulping, bleach and boiler emission are great problem for the paper industry, while hand made paper (HMP) making is based on a clean process with negligible or very litter pollution. Thus HMP industry is a sunrise industry with a remarkable increase of about 150% in annual production.


The main focus of the project should be Motivation, Training, Information dissemination, technical assistance and providing a livelihood vocation to our distinctly enabled individuals to be able to make an honest living.
It has been innate to the working of Clay Club that such a system be realized. Now as, such a venture is about to start, we would like to lay down not only its material parameters for governance but also moral and ethical parameters, which would guide us throughout.

We at Clay Club find it highly demeaning to gain leverage from someone’s disabilities even for the benefit of the disabled. Which is why we would make the most sincere recommendation that the products made at this workshop should not be marketed as products made by disabled individuals. It is contradictory to conventional norms of marketing and commerce. Often, their disability is looked at as the products unique selling point. We are convinced that this is an act of moral degradation. We have observed these individuals perform the art of Hand Paper Making and from our experience, know-how and belief we firmly recommend that the quality of paper made by them is way superior to the paper made by ‘normal’ individuals. This uniqueness/ distinctness comes from what is referred to as their ‘disability’. Their limitation gives them the patience and placidity required for a meditative activity like hand paper making. Therefore let us work in a way, which would instill confidence and dignity in them. For it is our task is to suggest them a way on which they would tread with pride.

There are therapeutic advantages associated to the activity as well. As this not our area of expertise we cannot mention the specifics. However due to our interest in the subject in general we would like to work with a team of teachers who would be interested in evaluating the therapeutic implications.

3. Methodology and process of manufacturing Hand Made Paper

Cellulosic materials like waste cotton; waste banana stem, mat grass, Palmarosa grass and other agriculture residues are to be collected. These materials have to be collected from different villages. Mixed fibers raw materials are sorted out to remove any non-fibrous and metallic portion.
Sorted fibrous raw material is cut into small pieces (1-3 cm). A handmade chaff cutter can be used for this purpose.
Dusting/ washing
The cut pieces are dusted and washed to remove dust and dirt particles. The dusting can be done by mechanical duster or by beating the material by hand.
The fibrous raw materials are cooked with caustic soda for 2-3 hours in mild steel vessel (Digester). The pulp is then washed thoroughly with water to get rid of traces of alkali and dissolved matter
The strips are then put into a treatment vessel and processed with microbes. The bio treated strips are then fed into a beater along with water and sized additives to form a pulp type mixture. This unbleached pulp may need to be treated with non-polluting bleaching agents. The chemicals (rosin and alum) and color may be added to improve the pulp quality as per requirement.
VAT processing
The pulp mixture is spread on a net, which enables the water present to settle down and form a paper sheet. These paper sheets are blotted on a woolen/ gada cloth. Similarly other paper sheets are also mounted and eventually all the sheets are collected in a heap.
Cylinder Mould Processing
Cards and boards are processed through cylinder mould machine for pulp formation on to the wire-mesh and then in cylinder mould drum.
Sun light drying
Water is drawn out from these sheets with the help of a hydraulic press and then these sheets are detached for the cloth and left to dry in sunlight.
After drying these sheets are passed through two heavy rollers or and calendaring in between two metal sheets for polishing the papers or boards.

Task Analysis

Lastly the sheet is cut to the required size and shape as required for marketing. The paper thus made can be further converted into bags, box, files and pads etc. depending on the order to be received to the unit. Three production units can supply 25% of paper and cards to the conversion unit. Depending on the market order the unit can operate on converting paper into various products.

Paper Ganesha

November 19, 2010

For the festive occasion of Ganesh chaturthi students decided to make a Ganesha idol of paper. For this task which required awful amount of co-ordination and man-power teams were made for distinct tasks as making pulp, acquiring the mould, setting up the place , assembling the idol and so on and so forth.

These pictures are of the stage when the idol was being assembled. The idol was put together with the effort of 20 odd students for 1 week.


Is to attain a state of perpetual self–sustenance.

Why this idea?

The ‘theory of doing’ tries to encompass all aspects of present-day as well as future-week crisis. It identifies the crisis to be a moral one rather than economic or climatic.  These are nothing but the outcomes. They are not the cause of the deplorable state we find ourselves in. The cause is rooted in man and only if we deal with this single entity one at a time do we see a cure.

A misunderstanding, which is commonly found, is the belief that we need to improve the situation of the people in the villages. We advocate that the situation of the people in the towns/cities/metro-cities is far more deplorable increasing in the order mentioned. The idea of ‘doing’ probes into the core. We need to provide a ‘custom ‘solution that stems from a standard structure (the theory), which is applicable to any given situation

Who can implement?

Employees, Owners, Students

How to implement?

The implementation of this idea has to be done by the people to whom it will yield results. It is not a revenue generating activity for a group of people. It is an activity which makes one self sufficient and generates a cycle which keeps the activity going. The activity generates revenues and monetary incentives but monetary gain is not the ends to be met. It is merely a means to meet a moral end.

This is a profit making activity (could be papermaking, matt weaving, vermin-composting etc)  but it is mentioned again that these activities are performed to give men firm moral grounding. As mentioned above in the case of CEPT paper studio these activities have given students ownership of their place, and dignity.  This dignity comes from small acts as receiving degrees made by one-self.

Several such examples can be cited and worked out to implementation.


The intent of the idea is to involve people to take charge. The intention of the exercise is to initiate in institutes of various scales from kindergartens to specialized research institutes to intuitively reuse the waste created by them.

By waste I mean various kinds and categories of wastes. Broadly speaking tangible as well as intangible wastes. To elaborate at this point, am assured we all understand what is meant by tangible waste.  Intangible waste means the waste without a physical presence. This includes wastage of time, data, human effort and et cetera.

All of the above including wastage of paper, stationery, vegetable waste, water have to be evaluated on a case to case basis and a quintessential solution should be put into action.  This method/ mode of operation is ideal and to a certain extent un-corruptible as it does not end with a monetary gain as its end; rather it is only a means to meet the end, which is, moral gain.

One such system has been realized and put into action at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. CEPT University is an institute, which offers various courses at under graduate and postgraduate level in Architecture, Planning, Engineering and Design. The amount of waste generated on campus is substantial. To name a few of the wastes generated are:

  • Used paper, cartridge sheets.
  • Mowed lawn
  • Used model making boards
  • Used paper teacups
  • Ice cream wrappers
  • Dried bamboo leaves

All of the above mentioned raw-materials/ wastes contain cellulose to a certain extent. Which makes them ideal raw material for making hand-made paper. At CEPT students initiated this idea as a student activity. Throughout the course of the semester student collect various raw materials. Upon the request of the CEPT paper studio (a students operated studio/workshop) students give the raw materials required example: paper, tracing sheets, corrugated boards.

Students at the paper studio use these in-house raw materials to make hand-made paper.  An important aspect of the CEPT paper studio is that; paper is looked at as a medium of expression rather than a product to be mass-produced.

Aided by the various facilities available on campus, which includes a printing studio has facilitated students to make prints on their own paper. Due to this favourable environment students have learnt several techniques as paper casting, etching, stenciling, watermarking.

This makes an accurate example where an ideal solution is worked out for a given situation. As CEPT University has substantial number of design students it makes more sense to engage them in more creatively inclined activity rather then mass-producing a ‘product’.

To a certain extent the paper studio operates as a research/ improvisation laboratory, which probes into various aspects of hand-made papermaking. Apart from making paper for printing and casting students have made boards, which act as sound absorbents/ acoustic panels and paper pulp building blocks (bricks).

Graduation degrees for the university are printed on paper made by the students at the studio; this act symbolizes the campus’s self-sustenance.

A word of caution that is also the unique characteristic of the ‘theory’ is that you consume all the waste that you generate. The institute does not buy/ import/ trade waste from other sources. Instead if such a source is identified then it studies the situation in detail and sets up a unique solution for that institute/ situation / place.

Partners (who can also be involved to implement the idea?)

Institutes of various scales,from kindergartens to specialized research institutes.

How long will take to implement?

Few months to see perceivable outcomes.

Raku Firing

July 3, 2010