Besides touring the Sun Moon Lake, an activity that you should also try in Nantou would be papermaking. In fact, this is my second time making paper in the Puli Township of Nantou, also known as the “hometown of handmade paper”.
There is a handmade paper village in Puli Township called the Heng Ji Xuan Paper Village (恒吉宣纸村). [Note: Xuan Paper was commonly used in ancient China for calligraphy and painting.] This paper village used to be populated with more than 60 handmade paper mills. As time passes and with the advancement of technology, these mills were gradually phased out. Currently, there are only about 5 to 6 of them at the Heng Ji Xuan Paper Village.
This time round, I had an opportunity to experience papermaking at the Paper Artisan Store (纸匠工房) in Puli. This is one of the few handmade paper mills left in the Heng Ji Xuan Paper Village. The owner is a charismatic third-generation paper artisan, Lin Zhengli (林政立). His grandfather started papermaking about 80 years ago. In order to carry on the tradition of papermaking, he decided to incorporate an educational element by conducting workshops on papermaking for tourists. This is how the Paper Artisan Store looks like. I love the vintage vibes and the strong, contrasting colors at this place. Here are the different steps in traditional papermaking. Firstly, obtain the necessary materials. Secondly, trim into pieces. Lastly, sun dry or dry it manually by heat.
This wall showcases the progress of papermaking, from paper in its simplest form to the more complex and fanciful art paper. This lamp shade is made of paper too. Pretty!
After we were shown around the place, the owner started demonstrating the papermaking process. Through his explanations and skillful demonstration, it is not hard to see his dedication toward conserving the tradition of handmade paper. After his demonstration, it is our turn to work some magic.
Step 1: Beat the fibre into pulp by hammering.
Step 2: Soften the pulp. Step 3: Level the pulp by using a wooden frame.
Step 4: Ensure that the pulp is evenly levelled. Step 5: Use a sponge to press out excess water then dry your paper using this Japanese teppan-like board.
Step 6: Once it has been fully dried, just peel it off from the steamer and you are done! As you can see, we are all focused on creating our master pieces. ❤ And, you will be surprised that your kids will love this DIY activity as much as you do. It is also good to take this opportunity to educate them on how paper used to be made in the ancient days. So, here comes my master piece! Wondering if I’ve got what it takes to be a paper artisan like Mr Lin Zhengli? Before you go, if you would like to get some interesting paper-made products, check out the little gift corner at the back of the shop. They sell pouches and bags made out of paper – and they are supposedly highly durable! There is a pretty hat made out of paper and it is only NTD250 (SGD11). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Taiwan’s famous travel blogger and writer, Charles (查理王) for helping me with photo taking when I am busy with my handmade paper! 🙂 And of course, I feel so honored to meet the third-generation owner of the Paper Artisan Store, Mr Lin. (He looks really Japanese right? By the way, the beret he is wearing is made out of paper too!) The inking of the words “纸匠工房” on my master piece marks the conclusion of my papermaking experience in Puli, Nantou. It is certainly an activity that shouldn’t be missed.
Estimated duration of stay: 1 – 2 hours
Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm (Daily)
Prices for the DIY papermaking activities range from NTD180 (SGD8) to NTD250 (SGD11) per pax. It includes a 20-min introduction to the art of traditional papermaking and a 40-min hands-on session. The prices are really affordable for such a great experience.
Address: 226-1, Da Cheng Road, Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
Contact Number: 0937 197217
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau for extending the invitation to my blog, Follow My Wanders. Proud to be the official Singapore blogger for the International Spotlight Nationwide Project.