Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Papercrete Process.......

To begin making our signature papercrete containers we begin by running newsprint through a strip cut paper shredder. We stuff the cut strips into five gallon buckets until the buckets are well filled.
We then fill the buckets of strips with water and allow the strips to soak for at least a day. Many times these buckets will sit a few days before we get around to turning the soaked paper back into pulp. We have found that thoroughly soggy strips are easier to pulp.
We try to keep several buckets of strips soaking at all times. These have been soaking for over two weeks but they cannot be over soaked.
Well soaked strips are then turned to pulp with an electric drill and a small paint mixer. Five gallon of well soaked strips only take three or four minutes of mixing to get the results one needs for good pulp.
The resulting pulp will be to soggy to use as is. We have a few buckets that over time have developed leaks so I drill lots of quarter inch holes along the sides and bottom of those old buckets. These buckets when filled with the soggy pulp will in twenty four hours time allow the pulp to drain to almost the exact consistency of moisture for proper mixing of the final recipe.
 Five Gallon of finished pulp
We then have three gallon buckets we use to make individual recipes of papercrete mix. This bucket is ready for the addition of portland cement and perlite. We then use the same drill and mixer to mix this thoroughly. Once mixed it is ready to mold into whatever shape you have a mold for or can dream up!
Mold filled and drying.
Finished containers sitting in the greenhouse drying. Having just experienced record cold these containers might take as much as two weeks to completely dry. Once dry we will knock off the rough edges with sandpaper and place on pallets outside to weather until sales season begin early next year. We are expecting bumper sales in 2015!

7 comments:

  1. Hello, very nice pots.
    I'd wanted to learn how to do it.
    Unfortunately, I live in NJ and I can not participate in your classes.

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  2. Hi Lee, very interesting that you make flower pots of papercrete. I read somewhere else there would be a problem with mold especially when in contact with soil. Did you have any problems with that?
    Thanks
    Gunter

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  3. I have never had a problem with mold associated with ground contact. The pots when filled with potting soil and kept moist do develop a patina rather quickly. The patina is usually on the green side so it must be more like algae or a fine moss.

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  4. Lee,

    Thank you for sharing the instructions and photos of your process!. I would love to attend one of your classes, but alas, I live in the NW and don't see that you have any visits to our area scheduled. I had one question. Do you need to soak papercrete to leach excess lime from the cement? I am wondering if it hold up to this process, or if it is even necessary. If not do it need to be weathered before use?

    Thank you and Best Regards.

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  5. We never try to leach anything nor feel it necessary to weather our pots before use. We plant all sorts of plant material in them and have never had any problems. In the heat of the Summer we can make them on Tuesday and have them planted and ready for sale on Saturday!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your response. I look forward to giving it a try.

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