Paper making is a centuries old craft that is both practical and great fun – and used as a way to recycle your waste paper it is also extremely eco friendly!
Why Make Paper at Home?
Paper making is a fantastic way to reuse old scraps of paper that you would otherwise throw away, and an interesting and creative way to produce individual, one off sheets for arts and craft projects.
The unique texture and finish of home-made paper makes it attractive and distinctive – and particularly useful for greeting cards and gift tag making, plus your kids will enjoy the whole process – from pulp to finished sheet!
Making Your Own Paper
Making your own paper is fairly straightforward, and something the whole family can enjoy doing.
- A range of old, used paper, for example, newspaper, craft (or sugar) paper, tissue paper, serviettes, paper bags etc. (Encourage youngsters to experiment with lots of different types and textures of paper for some interesting finished results!)
- A washing up bowl
- A blender to pulp the paper, or a pestle and mortar to do it by hand
- Lint free cloths
- A Deckle and Mould (What is a deckle and mould?! A deckle and mould is the frame that your mixture is pressed into to make your finished piece of paper. You can buy a deckle and mould at a craft shop, or you could make your own.)
Start off by tearing your paper in to very small pieces. You could use all the same type of paper, or do a miss match of types to get a really individual finish.
Add your torn pieces to a blender and top up with warm water, or use a pestle and mortar with a little water to reduce the paper to a pulp.
Fill your washing up bowl with water and mix in your pulp mixture. The thickness of your finished paper will depend on how much pulp and water you have at this stage.
With the mesh side of your mould upwards with the deckle on top of it, lower into the pulp mixture, pushing the mixture away from you as you submerge. Once the deckle and mould is lying flat on the bottom of the bowl, the mesh should be covered with pulp – you can agitate it a little to ensure it is covered adequately.
Once it is covered, carefully remove from your bowl, allowing the water to drain off. Given it a gentle shake will help the fibres bond strongly, giving your finished paper a stronger constancy.
Leave the deckle and mould on top of the bowl until the water has drained off, then transfer to a flat, dry surface.
Take off the top frame (the deckle) and you will be left with the pulp covered mesh mould.
Smooth out a damp lint free cloth on to your work-surface and roll the mould down and press the pulp down on to the cloth.
Use your sponge to push the pulp through the mesh and onto the cloth.
Get really crafty and personalise your paper by adding glitter, dried flowers, threads, leaves or even tiny beads to the pulp. As your paper dries, the decorations will be dried into the finished product.
Express any remaining water from the pulp by pressing down on it with your lint free cloth. Wring the cloth out, then place back on the paper and top with some heavy books to keep flat.
After thirty minutes or so you can remove the books and transfer your paper to a warm setting to fully dry (an airing cupboard or a shelf above a radiator).
When fully dried out, carefully remove from the cloth and there you have it – your very own, home made, recycled paper!