Sunday, February 22, 2015

Making a Japanese Scroll

Now this was an extraordinary experience.  I had an inkling that making a scroll would be far more complex than one would think because I saw some bonsai friends working on making scrolls during a bonsai show a few years ago.  But it's one of those things - until one tries for oneself, one has no idea how many steps it takes to construct this kind thing.  Below is an example of one; the dark brown with the rods at top and bottom is an example of what we worked on today.  The light colored paper with a wonderful illustration was not a part of today's work.

Don't worry; I don't plan to try to explain it all.  Since I was involved in the project, I don't even have a thorough set of photographs to share, but I'll try to write down enough to give you a glimmer of what it was like.

All the pieces (the silk and all the layers of paper of which there were many)  had been cut for us, all the different glues had been prepared, the rods were cut and others were stained, the cords purchased, and odd or usual tools were ready for us.  Our teachers are good friends who had been through this themselves.

After marking and gluing the seam allowances on the sides, making the holes for the elastic cord that holds the piece of art, inserting the cord, more gluing, adding pieces to the seams, tops, and bottoms, another layer of paper on the back, we were ready to move on to the most unusual steps of all.

We took our glue-soaked scrolls to stick on a board and allow to dry face down!  Then to hasten the drying time, we used four hair dryers.

That wound up creating a possibly terminal problem.  The board was too rough and the glued scroll was almost permanently attached to it.  A razor blade and some steady hands managed to unstick the scrolls.  You can see the paper still adhered to the board below.

Eventually, after adding the rods, the eyelets on the top rod, the decorative cording to hide the eyelets, and the cording with which to hang the scroll, all was finished.  Below is one of the scrolls made today with a lovely piece of art.

And here is the group, each one with his or her scroll with or without art work included. Our talented and very patient teachers at at the head of the table; it wouldn't have been possible without them!


  1. I'll just bet yours doesn't stay naked for long! Actually, kind of sounds like fun!! And they look great!!

  2. Is it impolite to say I love the fabric? Until I saw everyone holding the scroll each had made, I had not realized how small the scrolls were. Now that you know the technique, it will be interesting to see where you go from here. (We all know that a second act is coming!)