Nepalese Lokta Paper

Nepalese Lokta Paper

Natural & Sustainable

Lokta paper is made from a little known and underused natural resource. It comes from the inner bark of the Daphne Papyrus bush, which grows at high altitude in the Himalayas.

Once stripped away, the bark naturally regrows, making it completely sustainable with no intervention. So how is it made?

The factory in Thimi (aka Madhyapur) is 10Km east of Kathmandu, Nepal. It provides steady work for several long-term artisans who maintain traditional skills and use their income to support families and future retirements.

The Artisan Process

  • Lokta bark is boiled for eight hours to break down the fibres.
  • Following hand sifting, the residue is pulped to a smooth paste.
  • A cupful of lokta pulp is added to a mesh wooden frame and distributed by hand.
  • The frame is carefully raised for even distribution.
  • Natural materials can be added to the mixture. Leaves, petals and seeds all make stunning papers.
  • The frame is sun-dried and the lokta paper is made.
  • Finished designs are created using various techniques, including screen printing.
  • Individual sheets are hand printed with patterns using water-based paints and sun-dried once again.

Organic Colour

  • Dyes created from organic materials are used to colour sheets of lokta paper to a base colour.
  • Batik paper is created with wax application dried in the sun. Once dry it can be naturally dyed or applied wax shapes can be painted into a bespoke design.

This really is exceptionally skilled work through all stages. Amazing accuracy is achieved in producing a variety of thicknesses from just 5gsm!

Lokta paper production is common to this area but our supplier is one of the few to carry out the process from start to finish, including making finished paper products.

So, the workforce is made up of very experienced people with unique skill sets.

Welcome Freedoms

Ganga has been hand crafting paper for 12 years. Her two grown up sons are able to study at college; thanks to the extra wages their Mother provides.

Bhojkumari has also worked at the factory for 15 years. She says not only does she really enjoy the work, but the money she earns gives her more freedom, in turn giving her confidence.

Many of the women are of the same opinion and like the social aspect as well.

Through the Generations

We met Sajjad and Babul who work to support their growing families. Sajjad supports his elderly parents too and is happy to do so. Babul has come to work from India and sends money back home to his family.

The two carry out the screen-printing process together and enjoy a good camaraderie.

All these people are highly skilled artisans, taking pride in producing goods to the highest possible standards. In doing so, they’re sharing their heritage and keeping it alive, for the benefit of future generations.


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