Tibetan Handmade Paper Industry
Tibetan Handmade Paper Industry

Contact Us
Tibetan Handicraft & Paper P. Ltd.
(Manufacturer & Exporter)
Kapan VDC-2, Kathmandu, Nepal
P.O. Box No.: 10527
Tel No.: 977.01.4820728
Fax No.: 977.01.4820727
E-mail: thi@wlink.com.np

Our Sister Concern
Samten Memorial Education Academy
G.P.O Box.: 10527, Kapan - 2 Kathmandu, Nepal

News & Events

We are just finishing a new extension of our workshop giving us more space for production and storage.
We will soon release a short video about making lokta paper!

We are currently trying to gain approval for Samten School to have grade 9

 
Our Products

Nepali Kagaj: The Plant, the Paper and the Process

Two species of lokta—Daphne papyracea and Daphne cannabina—are found in 52 of Nepal’s 75 districts (though only 32 produce paper). Lokta flourishes in both deciduous and evergreen forests at elevations of 1600-4000 m. The managed harvesting of lokta is highly sustainable because when cut, a bush regenerates with multiple new branches every six to eight years.

Lokta paper is known for its durability and its resistance to insects. Another attractive quality is its unique texture formed by the distribution of fibres of different lengths. Lokta also stands out as it does not break down in liquid like most natural papers. Its sturdiness allows for dip-dying opening up many possibilities for creative processing.

Lokta-based paper has been in use since the 12th century, when it was used to print images of deities and mantra (prayers) to put in prayer wheels , to write the religious texts chanted by Buddhist monks and lama (priests), and to write epic tales. Until 1959 it was used for all official government correspondence, and still today land ownership papers (lal purja) and legal applications at courts must be written on Nepali kagaj (lokta paper).

In areas with community forest users’ groups, elected committees democratically and ecologically determine who should harvest the lokta bark and which area of their forest is ready to cut. This must happen before lokta’s two harvest seasons—January to May and September/October— The disadvantaged, including the poorest of the poor, are given priority. For harvesters of government forests, the District Forest Office issues permissions to cut lokta in selected areas; it also fines those who cut branches less than one inch in diameter. After cutting and stripping the plant of its outer bark, harvesters then deliver the dried inner fibres to processing centres where it is weighed and payment is made according to local rates.

At the processing centres, employees treat raw bark in batches of five dharni or approximately 12.5 kg. The fibres are soaked overnight, rinsed to remove the plant’s characteristic black spots and other impurities, and boiled for three hours in a drum with caustic soda to soften it into pulp. After being rinsed again to remove the soda, it is pounded with wooden mallets. The pulp (in a quantity judged to meet one of the four weight categories—40, 20, 10 and 5 gram per 20x30 inch sheet) is then placed in framed screens, agitated to spread it evenly and allowed to dry.

The dried paper is bundled in kori (bundles of 200 sheets weighing approximately four kg, one-third the weight of the original bark) and sent to the main office in Kathmandu, where it is re-sorted according to weight and further processed, with or without colors.

Facilities and Products

The floor to ceiling shelves of the Kathmandu factory, where paper is classed by color, weight, and design, provide a veritable feast for the eyes.

Natural dyes provide a spectrum of lovely shades: safflower makes a tawny yellow, pomegranate skins create a lovely gold, indigo reveals its classic deep blue, and green walnut husks make a rich brown. Artificial dyes, from crimson red to royal blue, vermilion green to lavender, offer a rich spectrum of colors. Every color can be patterned with wrinkles, silk-screened waves and flowers, or innovations like solar prints of leaves, embedded dried flowers, or Tibetan and Nepali script. Designs include traditional Tibetan motifs, gold or silver imprints of the Bodhi leaf or bamboo, flower and wave patterns, and more. While the standard sheet is 20 inch by 30 inch, A3, A4 and A5 sheets are also available, as are gargantuan ones three meters long. Every product is available in any color and combination.

Products include boxes, bags, beads, twine, and tiny book-motif earrings. For writers, there’s a vast array of journals; for gift-givers, wrapping paper; and for photographers, photo frames and albums. Tibetan Handicraft & Paper even manufactures miniature lokta paper prayer flags, bamboo fans, and paper necklaces.

At Tibetan Handicraft & Paper we specialise in custom orders. Whatever you wish—paper with a silkscreen print of your favorite flower, a set of custom greeting cards, or a particular design of journal —we will deliver.

While handmade paper is, by definition, going to have some flaws (that’s part of its beauty), the Tibetan Handicraft & Paper takes great care to market only the best products. Each department at the Kathmandu factory—sorting, production, and packaging—has its own quality control expert who works alongside our other employees to ensure that only top-quality work is put to market. To steward the environment and reduce our impact, all excess material is recycled and reincarnated into another fine product.

Presently we produce and export the following items:

  • Natural handmade sheet paper
  • Naturally dyed lokta paper
  • Artificially dyed lokta paper
  • Lokta papers with inlaid flower and leaf combinations
  • Tie dye lokta paper
  • Seeds and straw inlaid lokta paper
  • Natural splotch paper
  • Woodblock and silkscreen printed lokta paper with a wide variety of patterns
  • Patterned paper with gold and silver ink or even UV printed lokta paper
  • Miniature lokta paper prayer flags
  • Natural and dyed deckle sheet paper
  • Greeting cards, envelopes, and boxes made with handmade paper
  • Wide variety of notebooks and journals
  • Natural and dyed recycled commercial sheet paper, laid and bamboo texture
  • Kashmir shawls, Tibetan incense, incense candle and much more

All our products are available both in All our products are handmade, and we are proud to provide employment opportunities to people not machines; nearly 100 employees are at our workshop in Kathmandu, and over 1000 people around Nepal work to produce the paper that we buy and process.

Please ask us any questions, let us know your requirements, and place your sample order.