How to Make Hemp Paper

While most people have a baseline understanding of how paper is made from wood pulp, hemp paper is a relatively new product for many. The process of making wood-based paper starts with trees. Unfortunately, tree harvest for paper production leaves a trail of natural devastation because trees are such an integral part of localized ecosystems and take years to grow. However, the process of making hemp paper looks completely different and is far less damaging to the environment. Take a look at what hemp paper is made of and how hemp paper is made below.

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First, what is hemp paper made of?

Hemp paper can contain hemp fibers, as well as other materials. For example, most paper companies use a blend of hemp fibers and wood fibers to create what is advertised as “hemp paper”. However, Mill26 produces some of the only paper made completely from hemp fibers in the country.

Hemp paper, derived from fibers and pulp sourced from only industrial hemp plants, presents a versatile, sustainable alternative to traditional wood pulp paper. From hemp paper rolls and bags to rolling paper and wrapping material, hemp paper products are available in many forms. Notably, its sustainable sourcing, robust strength, and unique composition set it apart, making it an eco-friendly and durable choice for various applications.

How to Make Hemp Paper

Making hemp paper is a meticulous process that requires special machinery and a good understanding of how to properly finish crude hemp paper. Take a look at some of the steps involved in creating hemp paper below.

1. Harvesting Hemp

The process of making hemp paper starts with harvesting hemp plants. These plants are cultivated specifically for their fibers, which will be used to create the paper. Once mature, which usually takes around four months, the hemp plants are harvested using appropriate machinery or tools. The remaining leaves and plant growth on the exterior of the stalk are stripped away before further processing.

2. Separating Hemp Fibers

After harvesting, the hemp plants undergo a process called decortication. This involves separating the outer bast fibers from the inner woody core (hurd or shiv) of the plant. This material can be exceptionally tough to work with due to its tensile strength. Therefore, specialized equipment, such as a decorticator, is used to efficiently extract these fibers.

3. Pulping the Fibers

The extracted hemp fibers are then pulped to break them down into a soft mass that is easier to work with to create a slurry. This pulping process can be achieved using a pulping machine, where the fibers are mechanically broken down and mixed with water to form a pulp slurry. This slurry serves as the raw material for making the hemp paper.

4. Forming Paper Sheets

Once pulped, the hemp fiber slurry is ready to be processed into paper sheets. The slurry is poured onto a screen or mesh, where excess water drains away, leaving behind a thin layer of pulp. This pulp layer is then pressed and dried to form sheets of hemp paper, and the paper may be rolled onto large cylinders for storage and later production use or processes.

5. Finishing Processes

After drying, the hemp paper sheets may undergo additional finishing processes to enhance their quality and appearance. This may include calendering to smooth the surface, sizing to improve ink absorption, and trimming to achieve uniform dimensions. Mill26 hemp paper undergoes a special process to make sure the paper is smooth and thin while maintaining its impressive strength. Once completed, the hemp paper is ready for commercial use in various applications, such as making hemp paper rolls, bags, or other hemp paper products.

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With exceptional quality and durability and obvious sustainability, hemp paper products could be one of the best replacements for wood-pulp paper on the planet. At Mill26, we’re proud to be blazing a new trail in paper product production by creating paper made only from 100% hemp. Our commitment to excellence and innovation in paper manufacturing naturally led us to hemp, and we’re proud to share our hemp paper with the world. Be sure to take a look at the Mill26 collection of hemp paper products.

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