Paper Casting with Springerle Molds
The art of embossed paper using springerle molds dates back hundreds of years, with the oldest surviving example in a German museum from the year 1510! Paper casts can be used to decorate cards, gift tags, and wrapped presents; as ornaments; and as framed pieces of art.
You will need: Acid Free 100% Cotton Linter; springerle molds of your choice; clean sponge; blender; tea strainer, and depending on the types of molds you choose, cutting board oil and a brush.
1. Start with a piece of cotton linter the same size as the mold image.
2. Tear the paper into 1” pieces.
3. Soak in 3 c water for 5 minutes. Make sure the pieces are completely softened. It's important not to make the pieces too big, and to soak them until they are soft, so as not to damage your blender.
4. Using a blender, process a maximum of 6” x 6” (36 square inches) of linter at a time. Blend 1 minute on high speed to make a fine pulp.
5. For all wood molds; and for large or deep cavity resin molds, brush a very light layer of oil on the mold (we like Howard Cutting Board Oil). Small, shallow resin molds do not require oiling.
6. Strain the required amount of linter through a fine sieve. A tea strainer is a great tool for this purpose.
7. Place the pulp on the mold and press it into the mold with your fingers, making sure to get pulp into all of the small crevices. We like to work over a rimmed cookie sheet, to catch the water and make cleanup easier.
8. Make sure to leave a “border” edge that extends beyond the design.
9. Use a clean sponge to suck as much water out of the pulp as possible. Then use paper towels to continue removing water. Removing the water is important to get a nice impression and also to shorten drying time.
10. Carefully lift the cast out of the mold. A round toothpick comes in handy to start lifting the edges.
11. Lay flat on a cookie sheet, carefully pressing the edges flat if necessary. Allow to dry 1-3 days, depending on the size/depth of the mold and the humidity.
12. Now the fun part! You can use your dried paper castings for endless art and craft project options. Trim, add paint and/or a bit of glitter accents. Glue gun onto greeting cards. Add ribbon to make ornaments or gift tags. For art pieces, frame as desired.
For the Lily of the Valley piece, we used green card stock as a background and a little antique gold frame found at a yard sale.