How is lokta paper made?

Lokta paper sheets

Lokta paper is a traditional, eco-friendly, handcrafted paper made in Nepal from the bark of the Daphne bush  (Daphne papyracea) which grows wild in the Himalayas.

The Daphne bush, used for making lokta paper
The Daphne bush, used for making lokta paper

Lokta paper was primarily used  for writing sacred texts.  Indeed, the oldest surviving lokta paper document is stored in Nepal’s National Archives in Kathmandu – a sacred Buddhist text called the Karanya Buha Sutra, which is estimated to be between 1,000 and 1,900 years old.  Lokta paper’s strength and durability means it is still used today for legal documents in China, and it has grown in popularity in the Western world as an unusual paper for writing on or wrapping.

The evergreen  Daphne bush grows at high altitudes of up to 3,100 metres.  Often classed as a shrub it grows to a height of about 5 ft and has pretty white-pink flowers.  These flowers are hermaphrodite (both male and female) and are pollinated by bees and flies.

How Lokta paper is made

The paper is made from the bark of the Daphne bush, which is harvested by hand.  The plant regenerates over the next few years and is ready for use again in 5 – 7 years, so it doesn’t have to die or be chopped down for us to have lovely paper!

Bark of the Daphne bush used in making lokta paper
Lokta paper bark (photo courtesy of www.angleseypapercompany.co.uk)

Once the bark has been chopped from the bush, it is chopped into small pieces and left to soak in water for 5 – 6 hours.  It is then boiled in hot water for a couple of hours and further washed in cold water.  After this process, it is then beaten to a pulp.  Once the bark is mushy it is poured on to paper tray moulds and left to dry in frames in the sun to become paper.

Soaking and boiling the bark of the Daphne bush to make lokta paper
Soaking and boiling the bark of the Daphne bush to make lokta paper (photo courtesy of www.angleseypapercompany.co.uk)

 

Making lokta paper
Making lokta paper (photo courtesy of www.angleseypapercompany.co.uk)

 

Lokta paper drying in the sun
Lokta paper drying in the sun (photo courtesy of www.angleseypaerpcompany.co.uk)

 

Making lokta paper
Making lokta paper, photo by Gozitano (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 This paper is very versatile and durable and is perfect for calligraphy and wedding invitations.  Buy lokta paper here, we also have it  available in stock in a variety of gorgeous colours!  The paper is also available with petals in and is absolutely beautiful.

lokta paper with pink petals  Lokta paper with marigold petalsLokta paper with cornflower petals

Written by Teresa Sinclair

Wildlower Papers

 

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