When artisans are choosing paper for their crafts or art, they often turn to what is called Khadi paper. Khadi paper is a very unique kind of paper and is somewhat unknown outside of the art world, but many people have found benefit in using this lush paper.
If you’d like to find out more about this special paper and how you can use it, read below.
Differences in Regular Paper and Khadi Paper
While Khadi paper is known for being some of the best paper you can find, not many people outside the art world know what makes this paper unique. Most people have no need to know the differences in paper. If it fits in the printer, it’s good, right?
But when it comes to artistic endeavors, there is a huge difference in papers. Most people are aware of how papers are weighted, but the materials that paper is made from makes a huge difference in the texture and quality.
Any paper that you run through a copy machine or printer is usually of fine quality for the job, but artists are not happy with this mass produced paper. These sheets are all uniform so they can be run through a machine. But art is not created by machines!
When an artist chooses their paper, Khadi is usually at the top of that list. Khadi paper is not a mass produced paper. It doesn’t even come from the same beginnings as most paper. Khadi is both handmade and made from unique materials.
Raw Materials of Khadi Paper
One of the things that makes this artist paper so special is the raw material it is made from. Khadi paper is sometimes called rag paper because it is actually made from old t shirts. Most people would think of this material as an “old rag,” but being reused as paper gives this material new life.
Most traditional papers are made from wood pulp. This pulp usually comes from trees, bamboo, kelp or sometimes even flax. These raw materials contain cellulose and lignin.
To produce paper, the cellulose needs to be rearranged. The lignin acts like a binder or a kind of glue, so it must first be washed away. Once the lignin is removed, the cellulose can be combined with chemicals and formed into large sheets. These are then cut down to whatever size is desired.
Almost any size or shape paper can be created. Often times, dye can be used to create paper of different color as well. Many paper manufacturers also add chemicals for stabilization of the paper.
Paper can be made in practically any shape or size or thickness. Paper manufacturers also add dyes for making colored paper or other chemicals to stabilize the paper. This is fine for xeroxed copies, but some people prefer to not have chemicals in their paper.
Creating Khadi Paper
Part of what makes Khadi paper so special is the process of creating it. While most paper comes from trees, bamboo or hemp, this artist paper comes from t-shirts. When these shirts come to their end of life, they are reborn as khadi paper.
The paper’s material gives its strength and durability. For example, longer fibers in the rags and t-shirt cuttings make the paper strong. Artists who are environmentally conscious also love this high quality artist paper for this reason. Trees are not being leveled down to create this paper, so it’s a naturally occurring fiber that would otherwise be destroyed or put into a landfill.
Khadi paper’s processing is eco-friendly. The water used is then recycled for farm irrigation.
Not to mention, there is no wood pulp used to create the papers. Therefore, this helps reduce the impact on India’s forest resources. What’s more, there are also no harmful chemicals such as chlorine to bleach the paper. The final product is pH neutral.
This is why so many artists choose Khadi paper. The final product contains no chemicals and is ph neutral. This results in a paper that will be very stable and not have an effect on your art.
Rag paper has found use in important documents and even currency. The paper’s strength and durability makes it the perfect choice for documents that are very important and need to last a long time.
Products Using Khadi Paper
Each sheet of khadi paper showcases the handmade nature of the paper. Each sheet has small crevices and valleys that make it uniquely special. In fact, many artists call this paper “thirsty” because it will take up a lot of water while working with it. This is why some artists choose to use a gesso over the paper before painting on it.
Sometimes, manufacturers dry the paper with a gelatin to create a water-resistant surface. This makes the paper ideal for water color paint, however there are many more amazing uses for Khadi papers:
- Oil Painting: Use as a medium to work with for any artistic project. The paper’s strong qualities can make a powerful statement with any art project.
- Drawing/ Sketching: The natural qualities are great for sketching or drawing with several different materials. From graphic pens to colored pencils, these high quality handmade paper sheets can hold up against ink bleeding.
- Scrapbooking: Make a scrapbook for your amazing memories with khadi. The paper is acid and dye free, and it will protect your photos from the elements. The texture of khadi paper will lend an even more authentic feel to the pages of your scrapbook.
- Envelopes: Never deal with plain paper envelopes again! Khadi is durable and looks beautiful. This makes it the perfect paper type to go through the rigors of the postal service! Send your mail in a khadi envelope that will be certain to start a conversation!
Khadi Paper Size and Weight
Manufacturers can create Khadi paper in almost any size, weight, or color. Normally this paper is a bit on the thicker side, but you can still get a nice thin paper that is very usable.
Normally, Khadi paper comes in 100lb, 140lb, or 300lb weight. The way weight is measured is by taking 500 sheets of the uncut paper and weighing them. So, obviously 300 lb paper would be thicker than 100lb paper. Khadi paper should only be measured against other khadi paper as well since they are handmade.
If charcoal drawing or pencil drawing is your aim, we’d recommend a lower weight khadi paper. For oils or watercolors, a higher weight paper will be best. You might even consider a gesso to help build a smoother work surface.
Your work will be as unique as you are. This is why we give these recommendations but also ask you to figure out what works best with you and your style!
As khadi is available in a variety of shapes and colors, the unique dyes that can be added provide tremendous variety. The multitude of colors help add to the backgrounds of your work.
Canvas ETC has Khadi for your Artistic Paper Needs!
If you’ve been thinking you need better paper for your artistic endeavors, consider Khadi paper. This special paper has been the choice of artists for hundreds of years. And knowing that each sheet is handmade adds value to your own work.
Your painstakingly handmade work will be showcased on artisan paper!
If you’d like to learn more about Canvas ETC’s supply of Khadi sheets and books, check out selection or contact us! Upgrading the quality of your paper is something you won’t regret.