OK Go: How to turn a t-shirt into a piece of paper



Step 1: making the pulp

Thanks to everyone who sent in their old clothing!

The first step is to remove all buttons, zippers, fasteners, and tags. The tags are not cotton and the other items will damage the  beater.


Next, the clothing is cut into small pieces and soaked in water.

2 lb. Hollander Beater

The cut rag is placed into a machine called a hollander beater and filled with water.  This beater can process up to 2 lbs of cut rag at a time.


Ever wonder if you put enough soap in your laundry?


Let’s take a look under the hood:

The roll (left) has a series of metal fly bars.  Underneath the roll is a bed plate which has another set of metal bars. Turning the hand crank (right) lowers the roll and shortens the distance between the fly bars and the bed plate.  As the fiber passes through this area it is beaten into pulp.


In about 15 minutes or so the fiber no longer resembles cloth.  The final test is to put a bit of the pulp in a jar and add some water. Shaking the jar and holding it up to the light shows if there are any clumps or long fibers.



It takes about 30-45 minutes to process a load of clothing into pulp. It’s pretty loud so we need to wear these earphones to protect our ears.We’re getting approximately 25 sheets/lb and each t-shirt weighs about 3/4 lb. We need at least 3200 sheets for the edition.  That’s a lot of pulp!

It’s not too late to send in your clothing! If you’d like to have us add your whites to the mix please follow these instructions.



Posted by BANDmade Books on January 9th, 2012facebook

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