Visiting Frogmore Paper Mill – Sourcing paper.

Today I went to Apsley to visit the Frogmore Paper Mill. I had said in my statement of intent that I wanted to source some paper locally in order to improve the sustainability of the project so I went and took a tour of the mill, made my own paper and bought some samples.


I was able to get some different papers from the shop and I even found some banana and coffee paper – very appropriate. I was thinking however, that the bananas definitely couldn’t be local and so there would still be a large amount of energy used in shipping them to the UK so maybe it’s not as sustainable as i’d hoped. Even so, I still think that using paper from a local mill that’s made from recycled materials and natural dyes and textures is a huge step in the right direction for improving sustainability.


The paper that I bought included some sheets of coffee paper, banana paper, elephant poo paper, straw paper, seed paper, and more:

IMG_7778 IMG_7782

I intend to use these papers to test printing and then decide on the most suitable paper to use for the print applications such as the menu and the business cards etc.

One of the other papers that the mill produced was made from denim (which came out blue, unsurprisingly) and another was made from coffee bean husks which I would have liked to have taken a sample of but they didn’t have it for sale.

Some of the other unusual papers they make (the coffee husk one is the brown one 3rd on the right).

I was able to make my own piece of recycled paper using a small mesh frame. The lovely girl that took us on a tour explained about the process starting with waste paper, then that being pulped and having water added to make ‘half stuff’ and then more water added to make ‘stuff’. I had to then scoop my mesh into the stuff and then sponge out the excess water. Then the paper sheet I made was pressed and heated and then I had my own piece of rough paper!



The tour of the mill was very interesting and we saw both a working and a disused paper mill (closed in 2009).

Current paper machine (built in 1902)
Current paper machine (built in 1902)
Old large paper machine (built in 1895)
Old large paper machine (built in 1895)
Seed paper that was taken directly from the machine. The two smaller pieces were taken before pressing (about 80% water) and the larger piece was taken after pressing (50% water).

We also got to see the mill race which is believed to be very old. There is record of it in the doomsday book but it is estimated to be much older than that, perhaps dating back to Roman or Anglo-Saxon times.


Overall the trip was very useful and I hope that, if any of the papers are suitable for the project, I will return to the mill to get some more paper ready for the final printing.



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