How To Make Paper

We read the other day that shredded paper is not so easy to recycle. Unfortunately, it's the only solution for keeping our private information private. It is, however, a great base for making your own paper. In fact, we were surprised to discover that you can pretty much use any kind of paper, from newspapers to tissue paper to cardboard. You can even include dried flowers or spices and bits of aluminum foil, beads, seeds and glitter.

Materials

  • Paper (any paper from egg cartons to cards to napkins to tissue paper can be used)
  • Hot water
  • Blender
  • Liquid Starch (if you plan to use the paper for writing on)
  • A mesh screen in a frame
  • A basin large enough to accommodate the screen
  • Fabric squares the same size as the screen. Felt or flannel is best.

Instructions

  1. Shred the paper. The cross-cut shredder that many of us are now using for our bills is perfect for this.
  2. Fill the blender about 2/3 full with warm water.
  3. Add paper until your blender's motor sounds tired.
  4. Blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick milkshake.
  5. Fill the basin about halfway with water. Add three to four blenders worth of the water/paper mixture to the tub (the more pulp, the thicker the paper).
  6. If you're using it, now's the time to add the liquid starch to the water (about 2 teaspoons).
  7. Submerge your screen and let it fill with pulp. Level it out by shaking it.
  8. Lift the screen and let the water drain. Remove some of the pulp if the paper is too thick; add some if it looks too thin.
  9. Place the felt or fabric directly on the paper. Use a sponge to press out more water.
  10. Carefully lift the screen off of the paper, leaving the paper on the fabric.
  11. Repeat steps above. Stack the paper/fabric combos on top of each other on a tray. Place a fabric square on the last piece of paper, cover with another tray and squeeze any water out of the stack.
  12. Separate the sheets and let the paper dry either by hanging it up or spreading it out on pieces of newspaper.

For the full, detailed tutorial, click here.

(Images: Flickr member BZedan licensed under Creative Commons)