Explore & Learn > The Digital Museum > Recipe book of handmade paper

It Got Started at Tomasböle Paper Mill

In 1667 Finland’s first paper mill was founded by the river of Tomasböle, approximately eight kilometers southwest of Fiskars. The founder, bishop Johannes Gezelius was in need of domestic paper for his book press in Turku. The paper masters Bertil and Marten Obenher came to rescue and acquired necessary know how and materials from a paper mill in Uppsala.

The paper mills were using used fabrics for paper making. In addition to a small quantity of fabric from Uppsala bishop Gezelius organized efforts to collect raw material in Finland. Unfortunately, fabric was scarce and it was of poor quality. Initially, the factory manufactured ”writing paper of highest quality” that bishop Gezelius himself used in his own correspondence. Later, the main product was paper for printing and cardboard that were used for printing religious literature and text books in Turku Press. The most significant publishing that was made with Tomasböle paper was the 1572-page Bible; the edition by Gezelius (1683-1685) that had 2200 copies. Tomasböle paper mill closed in 1713 after operating only for 46 years.

From Fabric into Paper

First, the fabric is made into paper pulp. The fabric is finely cut and ground. The paper will get its color from the fabrics. Prior to the invention of ”hollanteri”, the paper pulp grinder, the fabric was dissolved via rotting. After that, the pulp is poured into a large tu and are lifted using a mold (frame). On the top of the screen is a ”dekleri”, a frame to create a sheet which is removed after water has drained through the screen. After that, the sheet of paper is dropped unto a piece of wet felt. Several sheets of felt and paper are pressed vigorously to remove water. The next phase is letting the paper sheets to dry between cardboard sheets for two days. In the end, surface glue might be called for depending on the future use of the paper.

The Best Paper!

Handmade paper is acid free and of museum quality. It may be used for drawing, writing, intaglio printing, crafting, gift wrapping, card making and home decoration. Hand made paper fits a wide variety of uses that call for esthetics and durability.

This Book of Mine

All pages in this book are hand made with used fabric. They follow basically the same recipe that was used in Finland’s first paper mill or in China 2000 years ago when paper making was first invented. I have made paper using this technique in Fiskars for 21 years and have studied Washi paper making in Japan. I am also a book binder, hence the pages, binding and the cover are made by me!

Säynätsalo, April 2022, Erja Huovila