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Waste Not

Updated: Jun 12

How I used test prints to lessen the paper waste


As a beginner and experimental printmaker, I do a lot of test prints. Meaning I produce a lot of paper rubbish. I wanted somehow to reuse these.

Many Moths test prints printed with blues and turquoise

After a bit of thinking, I thought of basket weaving. I had learned a basic basket weaving using grass. I knew paper would never be as strong as grass, but surely there must be a way to use paper for weaving? And I found one way of making baskets with paper tubes.

Thinly rolled paper tubes made from test prints of Moths II

First you need to make tubes by rolling strips of paper using thin knitting needles. You can find quite a few instructive videos on YouTube.


Basket with lid made of paper tubes




Close up of basket with lid made with paper tubes

Here are the first ones I have made, coated with varnish to harden and make them stronger.


I had some more paper which were printed on thicker quality papers but did not make the editions. They were too thick to be rolled as paper tubes, so I looked for another way to make baskets out of paper.


Pink and purple paper strip basket in process

I found beautiful baskets made with NZ flax (harakeke) using raranga technique, which I thought could be made with paper. At first I tried square-bottomed, round basket called Kono, but paper was not strong enough and it was tricky for me to weave. So I have glued two strips together and tried more straight forward weaving as shown on left.






Then I dived in to make Konos using 1cm strips of paper.

I think they turned out very pretty, and these paper were about to go into the bin! I am very glad to have re-used these test prints and edition rejects. Now I even look forward to collecting some test prints :)


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