Lokta paper dates back as far as 800 years. Lokta paper is made from the bark of daphne shrubs in Nepal. The shrubs grow at high altitudes, from 6500 to 9500 feet high. Both Daphne Papyracea and Daphne Cannabina can both be used for this purpose. This plant can regrow in 4-6 years, and this makes lokta paper very environmentally sustainable. It is considered an area of important and profitable employment to work with lokta paper in Nepal.
The quality of lokta paper is exceptional and can survive for long periods of time if properly cared for. Lokta paper is popular with those who want to use sustainable products for writing, gift-wrapping, etc. Lokta paper is also great for dyeing. It is often used on wedding invitations and for special notecards.
Lokta paper producers travel from their villages to the mountains to find evergreen Daphne shrubs. Daphne Papyracea shrubs are found in the Himalayas from Pakistan to Nepal. They will reach 10-15 feet tall and have very sweet-smelling flowers. The trunk of the shrub measures 2-3 inches in diameter.
The methods used to make lokta paper are similar of traditional methods of hand paper crafting. Daphne is ready to harvest in October. The bark is cut at the base of the plant. This process is similar to the process used to harvest sugarcane. After harvest, the bark of the plant is pounded and boiled and rinsed and beaten again. Then it is cut into small pieces and boiled again. It is then made into a fine paste, and dispersed evenly on a frame to ensure a smooth page. The frame is then laid in the sun to dry. After the drying is complete the paper is run through a press to make sure that the thickness is equal on the entire sheet of paper. No electricity is needed to make lokta paper and this is another way in which is it a sustainable material.
Lokta paper is popular with those who seek quality handmade products that are not harmful to our environment. The Daphne shrub is actually strengthened by harvesting the crops. If left to grow on its own, the plant would eventually dry up. The business of making lokta paper is an important part of Nepal's economy. When you purchase lokta paper, you can feel confident that you are helping to support Nepalese artisans, and protect the environment as well.
Many of our paper items are made using lokta paper, including this Buddha eyes lokta paper lantern and this Hemp Lotus Flower Lokta Paper Journal.