Paper made from herbs can make your magical spells and talismans more powerful. It is infused with the powers of the herbs, and created with intent. Fibrous herbs suitable for making herbal paper include flax, nettle, rush, cereals, sunflower, pampas grass, broom, bamboo, camomile, cow parsley, dandelion, dill, fennel, iris, and mullein.
Simply put, herb paper is made by soaking vegetable matter until the fibres separate, collecting it on a mesh, trawling away the excess pulp, and allowing it to dry. You will require a basic pulp (see below) and two frames of equal size, one covered in mesh. A pair of picture frames, the same size and some old net curtain will suffice.
Collect 2 gallons of herbs, crush, cut and tear them into small pieces, and put them into a large pan. Add 2 pints of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 1—2 hours until the plant fibres feel soft. Put the pulp into a liquidiser (2 tablespoons of pulp to one pint of water), and liquidise for 15 seconds. This can then be used on its own or added to some recycled paper pulp. If it is to make writing paper a little cold water laundry starch should be mixed into the pulp; this allows the paper to receive the ink.
Have the pulp in a large bowl. Stir it gently and do not allow the pulp to settle to the bottom. Hold the two frames together with the mesh covered one on the bottom, mesh uppermost. Slide them into the pulp, edge first, and then tilt until they are completely horizontal. Keeping them flat, lift them from the pulp. A layer of pulp should be retained on the mesh. Tilt very slightly so that some of the excess water can drain away, and then lay it on newspaper. Remove the empty top frame. At this stage petals can be pressed into the wet surface.
When partially, dry use a palette knife to loosen the paper from the frame. Tip the sheet onto absorbent cloth. Further sheets of paper can be made in the same way and piled up between cloths. When you have finished, weight down the pile of herbal paper to squeeze out any remaining excess water. When completely dry separate carefully.
Our thanks to Anna for her guest post! For more from Anna Franklin, read her article “The Hearth Witch in March.”