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Straw for a long time has been used to make papers. Straw fiber is parallel to wood fiber and the pulp from straw is used to make handmade paper which is eco-friendly. Paper made from straw is produced in cottage industries of Myanmar and other countries like china and other Asian countries. Straws are nothing but stalks of cereal plants like wheat and rice. According to one estimate, it is said that there are nearly 1.5 billion left over straws every year all over the world.
Handmade Straw Paper
There are three types of straw paper available, ‘bamboo straw paper’ that is made from bamboo shoots, ‘rice straw paper’ that is made from the left over straw after the grain is taken and ‘wheat straw paper’. Most of these papers are usually translucent, smooth in nature and they are also great absorbents. Moreover since they are organic, they are safe to use.
However, there are a few disadvantages as well. These straw fibers are rich in silica and cannot recover through chemical processes like scaling. They also retain water and thus make it very hard to separate the water from the pulp while making paper. Another disadvantage is that the raw straw consumes lot of space and transporting the bales becomes an expensive proposition.
Making straw paper is a very easy process if you have the raw materials like straw and lime. The straw is soaked in lime in a clay pot for a few days and after a few days; this mixture is cooked for about 30 hours. The cooked material is then rinsed in cold water and the fiber is beaten with a wooden stomper or a wooden mallet. During this process, the fibers are twirled and dispersed, thus forming slurry. This is poured into a screen that is immersed in water and is distributed evenly. The screen is then lifted and allowed to dry in the sun. After drying, the formed straw paper is removed.
Many countries import these kinds of paper as they are eco friendly and colored paper are used for art and craft work like origami, paper screens, calligraphy, etc. and white sheets are used for water color drawings.