I just took a class on shifu. We cut the paper, wetted it down with damp towels and spun it off of bobbin winders. It was fun and thinner than I thought it would be. We used old pattern paper and newspapers. The teacher sent us home with some washi (traditional mulberry paper used for shifu) to try also. Our project, to be completed in the next month, is to weave something with the paper yarn. Our teacher showed us examples of placemats and she has also made a vest.

Anyone have experience spinning or weaving this yarn? Did you make anything with it? How did it come out?


Kristina (not verified)

 Hi, I just today found your notice about shifu. Last year I read a german book  ( Papiertextilien  of Chrisina Leitner) about paper weaving and exspecially about shifu. I made some Paper Yarn made of Kozopaper and Loktha on my spinning wheel. it was a fascinating procedure and the yarns were soft but strong. I`m very interested in all paper weavings. I added a project with shifu yarn.  On the picture you can see my shifu (  left)



 What do your work with paperyarn?


dteaj (not verified)

Thanks for sharing. It's great to see your samples. I've been curious about the Loktha paper, but haven't ordered any yet.

I've spun a few different papers to try. The comics pages of the newspaper, a glossy folded magazine advertisement, pattern paper from sewing patterns, kozo paper in 2 different weights, all cut at 1/4 inch wide (about 0.5 cm). I used a high whorl spindle, supported on a surface to make the yarns. The newspaper and magazine paper were more fragile and needed to have no tension on them as they were being spun. The pattern paper was a little sturdier and the kozo was the strongest by far.

I've just started weaving with it. I put on a 16/1 linen warp sett at 10epi for coasters. I cut the first one, comics paper, off as a sample. It came out nicely, I think. I need to have all the samples done by Wednesday for the followup class, so I should be able to have pictures up soon.


felizitas (not verified)

Sorry, but I got into that theme. I have ordered some japanese paper to try to spin. Are there any tips for a beginner?

Is there a detailed description in "Papiertextilien  of Christina Leitner" how to make the paper?

What can be used? I have ordered 100% kozu which is very expensive. Is it possible with lower % ige as well?

A lot of questions, maybe some answers


Kristina (not verified)

 Hi Felizitas,

 are you the Felizitas I know from "Fadenwechsel" ??

The Book about paperyarn gives detailed descriptions with pictures how to cut, roll and spinn KozoPaper. I made this one paper yarn-session a year ago. For me, an absolutly fascinating material I have it then partially woven, but just as an additional weft (together with a handspun Tussah - silk thread- als Broschierschuss), because I couldn`t believe that the material stands washing.  I made a little jacked.

Now it is washed several times and the paper thread looks good. It´s true the paper is really expensive, but you get a looong thread from one papersheed. I used Kozo Awagami teng ( fine10g/qm). The thread had a little noppy structure - little bit  like bourette silk.

Next planned paper action was to weave with only paper in the weft. I had have some attemps, but I had chosen a wrong warp and it came out like Rep.  But I would like to have a balanced  structure.I´m not sure wich warp and  reed I need. I heard about shifu classes , where they use Silk warp for this.


dteaj (not verified)

Nepali daphne, nettle, or lokta paper (They are all the same, just different names), pattern paper, newspaper and some tissue paper have all been used. Lokta is supposed to be quite strong. In my limited experience, the strength and hence ease of use goes as follows: kozo, lokta, pattern paper, newspaper, magazine paper, tissue paper.

A few things to make sure of

Make sure you cut along the grain of the paper. Tear it and see which way it tears most easily.

Make the cuts in Japanese lantern fashion so you get one long strip from each paper.

1/4 inch (approximately 0.5cm) cuts were recommended to me, and they seem to make a reasonable thickness of thread.

Moisten the paper lightly before spinning.

If it is not very strong, you can use a spindle in a supported way, to take the weight off the paper as it is being twisted.


I just purchased a series of papers to try from New York Central Art Supply and just spun a small sample of lokta. This one seems very strong and nice. There are all kinds of qualities. I haven't tried part kozo, but it's a great idea to experiment with.

felizitas (not verified)

Thank you for your suggestions. I started to cur some newspaper today and mede my first steps. It was easier than I thought! The right humidity is a little bit difficult I guess it would be a good idea to put the paper after cutting in a plastic bag so it get a proper and even moisture. And I will go to the art shop tomorrow and increase the amount of paper. I have seen they have some cheaper paper as well. So I can work me through the different types. Kristina, yes I am Felizitas from "Fadenwechsel." I am inpressed by your fabric. The thread seems to be very thin and soft.  I guess after some time I can get a better thread as well, at least I hope so. The newspaper is quite stiff.

dteaj (not verified)

Perhaps this will help with the moisture issue:

The paper is typically laid in a basket as it is separated, first end separated at the bottom and working up. This keeps the loose paper from tangling. Then the paper is sprinkled and left covered for a while, to become evenly moist. I think they leave it for several hours. I am impatient and start much sooner. It works OK, but might work better with the longer wait.

felizitas (not verified)

I have increased my sheets of paper in an art shop yesterday. The evening was to short to try everything. I started with newspaper. The humididy is crutial. I only tried 1 m of the kozo. That was great! Soon there will be more.

Kristina (not verified)


 I found some nice pictures at Flickr,


And some mor about Hiroko Karuno