Homemade Paper: DIY Recycling

tumblr_n1tdxzheNG1r4mnhwo1_1280-diypaperHomemade Paper: DIY Recycling

I know, I know. It’s September (sorry, November!). Time to buckle down, and abandon the joys of summer for chemistry, geometry, and Faulkner. But once you realize how awesome this handmade paper looks on practically anything, you will be forced to get blending. Plus, it’s much, much easier to make than you would imagine.

Basic Materials:

  • Blender
  • Pan or large dish, or sink
  • Fine mesh screen, such as window screen, or coarse cloth
  • Container, open on both ends.
    • This will be your mold, so whatever shape it is, your paper will be.
  • Paper scraps
    • These can be almost any kind of paper, so go crazy! Newspaper, magazines, receipts, cardboard, etc…
  • A sheet or small piece of hardware cloth
  • Paper towels

Basic Steps:

  1. Place your screen and mold into the pan
    1. It is best if you can keep the screen from touching the bottom of the pan. If your hardware cloth is large enough, setting it over the pan before you add mold and screen will work. The hardware cloth is not necessary if you can stretch your window screen tight across the pan and secure it there. You can also rest another larger open-ended container beneath the screen and hardware cloth.
  2. Tear up your paper scraps and add them to the blender.
    1. If you choose pieces that are all of one color, your paper will be close to that color (check both sides of the paper!).
  3. Add more water than paper to the blender, and blend into a thick slurry.
    1. You want it clearly liquid. The greater the paper-to-water ratio, the thicker the sheet of paper, and vice versa.
  4. Pour your slurry into the mold, enough to cover the screen inside it completely, and allow the water to drain away.
    1. You can pour more plain water into the mold now, on top of the slurry, to hold larger chunks down
  5. Lift your mold away from the slurry, then lift your screen and hardware cloth and place them flat against a countertop, or some other surface that can get wet.
  6. Place another sheet of window screen over it and press it with a dry sponge.
    1. This can also be done straight onto the countertop if you have no more window screen, simply flip the paper over.
  7. Peel off one layer of window screen, place the paper face down on a folded paper towel and continue pressing as in step 6, until the paper is relatively strong.
  8. You can do pretty much whatever you want now to dry the paper, but I recommend ironing the sheet, covered in a thin bed sheet, drying it in the oven on a low temperature, or simply air drying it. Congratulations! You did it!

Ideas to Try:

  • Add things to the blender after you are done blending, or straight into the mold
    • Paper scraps
    • Leaves, flowers and organic materials (Plenty in November!)
    • Yarn, felt or cloth scraps
    • Glitter or foil
  • Add dye or paint to the blender to color your paper brighter
    • Glittery paint looks great
    • Go for nontoxic
  • Make several different colors of pulp and swirl them in the mold.
  • Use cookie cutters as molds within your mold, by placing them in the mold and filling them with another color of slurry.
  • Place large, thin things like pieces of paper, colorful paper napkins, or leaves on top of the pulp in the mold and pour water over them to embed them in the paper
  • Press still wet paper with textured surfaces to emboss it
  • Block out part of your screen to create a hole in the paper

~   Go wild!

For more information, check out these cool library books on the subject!

Papermaking for the First Time

Trash to Treasure Papermaking (eBook)

Handmade Paper from Naturals

— DIY by Phoebe, Greenwood Branch


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