Making Papyrus: Traditions: Sunday Stills


© irene waters 2018

Making papyrus for writing dates back to years Before Christ and as a result of the number of papyrus writings in existence the history and life of Egypt is better recorded than my own English history years after the birth of Christ. The papyrus above was seen in the Cairo  Egyptian Museum but the tradition is kept alive today.


© irene waters 2018

At the Merit Papyrus Institute (also in Cairo) papyrus is made in the traditional way and proudly demonstrated to us. Firstly take a papyrus stalk.


© irene waters 2018

Chop it in pieces and soak them in water.


© irene waters 2018

When soaked slice them thinly


© irene waters 2018

and roll them out to get most of the moisture out. Traditionally I imagine they used rocks or tree branches to do this step but who knows – perhaps they invented the rolling pin.


© irene waters 2018

These strips are then placed in a woven fashion until a full sheet is made. (Another tradition can be seen in the background – the welcome to my place hibiscus tea.)


© irene waters 2018

It is then put in the press for around a week.


© irene waters 2018

And on completion a piece of papyrus that is both thin


© irene waters 2018

and strong.

We were then invited to peruse the painted papyrus and buy with a certificate of authenticity that our purchase had been made from papyrus in the traditional manner. Often in the market place apparently the papyrus sold is in reality made from a banana leaf.

Thank you to Terri who hosts Sunday Stills.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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8 Responses to Making Papyrus: Traditions: Sunday Stills

  1. wow!😊thanks for sharing Irene

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    Wow! I had no idea that’s what the process was like. Makes you wonder how it was ever thought up in the first place. Papyrus looks a lot like celery!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed this post showing papyrus being made. i tool a paper making course years ago. Though I didn’t make papyrus, I did make paper of several other plants including one piece trying to replicate bark paper. I spent hours pounding fibers with a mallet and then layering strips to create a small sheet.

    Liked by 1 person

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