The Moli Museum: paper manufacturing in Capellades

Do you think that paper is only of practical interest for printing? The Moli Museum in Catalonia has found many other uses for it! For aesthetic or even recreational purposes, paper is still produced there as it was when it was first made, almost 200 years ago! PCG takes you to the heart of this world-unique museum.

The Molí Museum of paper - PCG Barcelona

Molí Museum

The Museum is located on the banks of the natural lake of Bassa, in Capellades, Catalonia, 1 hour by car from Barcelona. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Moli Museum was a paper mill that produced high quality cigarette paper and handmade paper.

Catalonia is one of the most important regions of the world for paper. Inspired by Arabic paper made in Andalusia, it then stood out thanks to the use of watermarks.

Thanks to the opening of borders by the State in the 17th century, the paper industry developed exponentially and Catalan paper was exported to America.

In response to strong demand from America, the Catalan paper industry turned to a completely different type of production: cigarette paper.

The latter will be the last type of handmade paper in Catalonia, since the production completely disappeared in 1919.

The Moli Museum opened its doors in 1961 to allow people to discover the traditional paper making of Capellades. Since this institution is both a museum and a workshop-factory, it manages to be 60 to 70% self-financed.

Pulping machine to manufacture paper - PCG Barcelona


Nowadays, this museum offers the opportunity to discover the ancestral manufacturing of paper by means of guided tours, art exhibitions and a library dedicated to this subject. The latter includes no less than 600 works on the theme of paper.

The museum has an exhibition room in which there are many tools and documents retracing the history of paper and its relation to printing. This same room offers an unbeatable view to appreciate the beauty of the belvedere.

The museum is home to one of the most complete collections of cigarette packs in the world.

The museum also offers a fun learning experience of the paper industry for children, through various thematic activities within its park. The older ones will be able to take part in courses held in the museum’s workshops, taught by professionals using methods from all over the world.

The museum is also very involved in environmental protection. In addition to conveying their ecological values to visitors through exhibitions on the subject, the museum also produces a type of recycled paper. It is thanks to the latter that the certificate of environmental excellence of the Department of the Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya was awarded to it.

Ancestral creation of paper in the Molí museum - PCG Barcelona

Paper manufacturing

In the form of a workshop located in the basement, the museum invites visitors to make paper by hand, as was done in the past. Paper at the Moli Museum is created from the collection of natural fibres (such as fabric, or extracted from plant leaves such as abaca). The fabric then soaked in water detaches and mixes with the water.

The creation of paper requires the use of water, which flows from the 16 paper mills called “Moulins de la Costa”. The energy used to start the machines is derived from the transformation of the water movement into mechanical energy, by the movement of the blades of the water wheel.

The museum also has a museum shop where it is possible to buy special and handmade papers. Those who want to create their own paper will find chemicals and fibres as well as paper-related books, such as a paper making guide.

 If you have a green thumb, the museum also offers paper with mustard seeds: water your paper and you can get your aromatic plants in the most original way!

(100% cellulose paper seeds)

If you don’t want to travel to Catalonia, you can discover other paper mills around the world. The Vallis Clausa mill-museum, for example, located in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in the south of France, offers the opportunity to discover how an old rag paper mill works and, if you wish, to take some home with you with you thanks to the museum’s shop.