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We are often asked how is crepe paper made or what is the differences between it and regular paper. So we thought we would try to answer those questions here. After over 40 years in the paper industry I am not going to bore you with all the details as that would take a book to explain.
Basically they take wood chips mostly from scraps left over from the saw mills and they are cooked with chemicals in what is called a digester. After they are cooked for a while the wood fibers separate and then they are run over screens that trap the fibers and let the rest of the liquid pass through. These fibers are then washed to remove the chemicals. At this stage the fibers are a light brown and called pulp.
The next stage bleaches the pulp to a white color. At this time they can also add recycled paper. The bleaching used to be done with dangerous chemicals like chlorine but now days most are all bleached using safer chemicals such as Oxygen. But what you get is a nice bright white pulp that then can be sent to the paper machine.
At the paper machine they then can add dyes to the pulp and make it into the color that they want. After it is colored they spray it on to a moving screen that has a vacuum applied to the underside that removes the water and leaves a layer of pulp on it which is now referred to as paper.
The thickness or weight of this paper can be varied by the flow rate of the spray and the speed of the screen wire. This weight is measured in grams per square meter (gsm) that is set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also by Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) and for tissue paper that is usually 35 gsm and since most crepe paper is made from tissue paper that is the one we are interested in. Heavier crepe paper would be made from a heavier gsm paper.
This tissue paper is then coated with sizing which is a glue like material that can be made from gelatin or starch. It is then run over what is called a Yankee Dryer which is a large metal drum that is heated with steam to dry the paper. As the paper reaches the other side of the dryer it is removed by a metal blade called a creping doctor.
The amount of crepe in the paper depends on the speed of the Yankee dryer the angle and the speed of the creping doctor blade. This completes on how you make crepe paper the only thing left is to send it to the machine that cuts it into streamers or sheets or rolls.
We hope this has answered your questions as to how crepe paper is made.