how its made:

  • As every craftsperson will tell you, it all begins by using only the very finest materials. We take great care to collect super-fresh sheep poo from the beautiful (and rainy) mountains of rural Wales and take it back to the mill.
  • We don't just make Sheep Poo Paper™ and for our other papers we use waste paper, rag and textile off-cuts and just about anything else we can think of that has good length cellulose fibers in it. Of course, we don't use tree - we like trees.
The girlsWe like trees!
  • The sheep poo we have collected is completely sterilized by boiling it in a specially designed pressure cooker at over 120 degrees centigrade (using only the purest Welsh mountain water, of course) and then washed repeatedly over a period of days until it has lost approximately half its original weight (Sheep Fact: a sheep only digests 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats).
  • The washing process produces a big pile of usable fibers and, as a by-product it also produces a clean, sterile, rich, liquid fertilizer which we store in a tank at the mill and pass on to local growers. (Do you want some fertilizer? Why not contact us to ask?)
  • It takes many hours to beat the cellulose fiber and blend it with other recycled pulps until it reduces to a pulp suitable for making paper. This is a difficult process to get right and the exact method is a closely guarded secret.
Pulp ready for making paperSpecialist equipment
  • Using only traditional papermaking techniques we then form the pulp into sheets using special sieves (called a "mould and deckle") and lay them out in stacks using felt in between each sheet to keep them from sticking together.
  • The stacked and felted sheets are then pressed under huge pressure to remove most of the remaining water and encourage the cellulose fibers to bond at a molecular scale - this is what gives the paper its strength. Hanging the paper up in the roof rafters of the mill to season them finishes off the drying process.
Sieving - the fun part!
  • We also make some of our paper using a very old working example of a 'Fourdrinier' continuous papermaking machine which we periodically hire from a UK papermaking museum - this machine sprays the liquid pulp onto a continuous moving mesh and the water is squeezed out between heated rollers - this gives a stunningly smooth finish, although you can still see the flecks in the paper that come from the sheep poo.
  • You don't need to have all the expensive specialist equipment we use at the mill to make a little paper at home though. Why not have a go at making some paper yourself?
Drying in the rafters