Papyrus is a plant that grows along the Nile River in the delta region of northern Egypt. The natural juices in the tall stalks (also known as reeds) of the papyrus plant form a durable glue when dried. The ancient Egyptians discovered this and created the world’s first paper from papyrus thousands of years ago.
The plant is harvested from the marshy banks of the Nile, and the stalks are cut down to size according to the final paper size needed. The stalks are then peeled and cut into thin strips using filament as a knife. The strips are soaked, and then laid our into a cross-hatch pattern to form a sheet of paper. The sheets are placed in between cloth and cardboard to help soak out the water, and then they are pressed. The final drying process takes place in the hot Egyptian sunlight.
Once dried, designs are silk-screened onto the paper, and then artists hand-paint the colorful designs. Today, artists in Egypt continue this ancient production process to create papyrus paper in many different sizes.