Making homemade paper is a wonderful craft to do with kids of any age. It is also a great way to recycle waste paper into exciting new items.
To alleviate boredom one summer day, and to make some cards for grandmothers, we recycled paper into paper.
You can use any scrap paper for this project, and it can be fun to experiment with different materials. See what's lying around your house or in your recycling bin. You can try using unprinted computer paper, newspaper, magazines, egg cartons, old cards, napkins, construction paper, or anything else you can find. We used junk mail, and the ink bled leaving it a grey color in the end.
I couldn't find a picture frame I wanted to sacrifice for this, so I just stapled together some scraps of plant stakes I had lying around. Just make it fit the size of your plastic tub.
To make homemade paper you will need:
- scrap paper
- sponge (this grout sponge was perfect)
- window screening
- wood frame
- plastic basin large enough to immerse frame into
- blender or food processor
- staples or tacks
- fabric or felt squares
- two cookie sheets
Rip up the paper and put it in the blender until it is about half full. DO NOT PACK DOWN! (learn from my mistake).
Fill the blender the rest of the way with warm water. Start the blender. Start slowly at first, then gradually increase the speed. Blend until the paper pulp looks smooth and well blended. This will take about thirty to forty seconds. If any pieces or flakes of paper are still visible, blend it a while longer.
To make your paper mold, stretch the window screening across the wood frame and staple or tack it as tightly as possible.
Fill the basin halfway with water. Add several blender loads of pulp and stir the mixture.
Put the mold into the pulp. Level it out until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.
Very slowly, lift the mold until it is above the water. Let the water drain from the pulp on top of the screen.
Use your sponge to gently press out as much water as possible.
When it stops dripping, carefully flip the mold onto a piece of felt or fabric, with the paper directly on the fabric.
Lift the mold off of the fabric. The new sheet of paper should stay on the fabric. It may take some practice to get this part right.
Repeat the above steps and stack your fabric squares on a cookie sheet. When you have one square left, save it to put on top of your last piece of paper. Use the second cookie sheet to put on top of the pile and squeeze out the remaining water. (We skipped this step and used a rolling pin to squeeze out more water and make sure our paper didn't have holes in it)
After all the water is squeezed out, separate the sheets to dry. When they're dry, peel off the fabric, and you have your new, homemade paper.
When you're making paper, the important thing to remember is to have fun. Experiment with different kinds of paper. You can even add other items after your paper is blended, such as scraps of yarn, pieces of tin foil and seeds. If it doesn't turn out, just try again. See what you can create!
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