Making Traditional Chinese Hanging Scrolls

History: Dates back 4,000 years.

Required for this process are: Rice paper, One Short, firm, soft bristle brush, 1 cup cooked white rice, heavy flat object for smoothening parafin, parafin, artwork to hang, 2 Hake Brushes (one dry one wet), ribbon or string, wooden dowels, white glue, decorative "border" paper, tear bar, exacto knife, Ruler, wide piece of smooth wood board larger than artwork.
  1. Make Glue
    1. Take 1 cup cooked rice, add 2.5 cups water, simmer for 30 minutes. Drain off water into bowl and save for glue. Glue should not be very heavy or sticky or too watery. You need experience to know exactly how thick this glue should be, but more like water than glue.
  2. Flatten Artwork
    1. Put artwork face down on flat and smooth table or board.
    2. Dip Hake brush in water and cover back of artwork with water completely. Be careful not to saturate completely.
    3. Now dip hake brush in glue and run around perimeter of artwork about 1 cm wide.
    4. Carefully transfer wet artwork to smooth board.
    5. Create a small gap and blow a little air behind paper.
    6. Once dry, cut out artwork to the approximate size you want and remove from board.
  3. Apply Backing to Artwork
    1. Thicken glue by squeezing more rice into water so that it is slightly thicker. Drain off water into bowl. Discard rice.
    2. Measure and cut backing paper slightly bigger than artwork.
    3. Roll this backing with rough side out. Rough side will go toward artwork. Hold rolled paper aside under something light so as not to crush paper.
    4. Put flattened artwork face down on board.
    5. Dip short brush into glue and run with aggressive back and forth motion down the artwork to push the air and wrinkles out.
    6. Now put rolled backing on edge of glued up artwork and gently push along edge with thumb to begin to adhere backing to artwork.
    7. Using short brush and glue slowly unroll backing while smoothening bubbles and wrinkles with back and forth motion of brush. This is the hard part. Good technique comes with practice.
    8. Leave on flat board until dry, then cut off extra paper to edge of artwork.
  4. Add Decorative Borders
    1. Prepare top, bottom and side borders. Top is generally 1/3 longer than bottom.
    2. Create even glue line on back of artwork
      1. Put artwork with backing face down
      2. Put piece of scrap paper with straight edge running along back of artwork revealing about 1/2 cm of the back.
      3. Dip finger in white glue and run thin coating along the very edge of artwork on all sides.
    3. Place borders evenly along each edge. Top is longer than bottom.
    4. Trim excess paper from edge so that it's even.
  5. Apply Final Backing
    1. Prepare piece of rice paper larger than the artwork with decorative borders.
    2. Put artwork with decorative borders face down on board.
    3. Apply thick rice glue as in Steps IIIE and IIIF. Let dry and trim edges.
    4. Rub parafin wax evenly on back, then burnish with heavy flat smooth glass or marble.
  6. Prepare and Attach Top and Bottom Dowels
    1. Measure diameter of the dowel. Measure the same distance as the diameter of the dowel, (but slightly more) from the bottom of artwork, put piece of scrap paper at this place.
    2. Dip finger in white glue and run thin coating along the very inner edge of the scrap paper.
    3. The glue line should be the same distance from the edge as the diameter of the dowel (but slightly more). Cut a piece of rice paper slightly wider than the diameter of the dowel and glue down to artwork.
    4. Place dowel in the pocket, fold paper down around the dowel, then fold up the bottom piece, and glue in place with white glue.
    5. Cut out circles from the decorative border paper the circumference of the dowel and glue on the ends.