Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Simple Living :: Paper Making with Children

Recently, I held a Junior Master Gardening class and taught the children how to make paper. I'll be completely honest with you all and go on record to say, "I had no idea how to make paper before we started this endeavor!"
All that aside, making paper (at least this kind) was extremely easy, not to mention fulfilling and fun.


  • Half a gallon to whole gallon plastic baggie filled with one square inch pieces of newspaper. Fill baggie with water and allow to sit overnight.
  • A blender - not your best for sure! I got mine at Wal-Mart for about $15. You might can find one at a thrift store.
  • Screens - Using window screen replacement material cut rectangles or squares in adequate size for your needs. Tape edges with duct tape to prevent tears, frays, or cuts to your fingers. The frames I used were about 6.5 x 7.5 inches.
  • Paper towels - you will need an entire roll!
  • Styrofoam plates
  • Various cookie cutters (If you're wanting sheets, try the large rectangular cookie cutters used to make ginger bread houses)
  • Embellishments: flower seeds, colored raffia paper, etc.
Let's begin!
1. Fill your blender approximately 1/2  full with shredded paper and the rest of the way with water.

 2. Pulse blender until shredded paper turns into paper pulp. The blender may clog, if so, unplug and stir pulp with a chop stick or wooden spoon.

 3. Place a paper towel down on your work surface. Then, place the screen on top of the paper towel. Next, place your desired cookie cutter on top of the screen. Using a spoon, add a small amount of pulp in the center of the cookie cutter and spread evenly with your fingers.
{Warning: You will get messy! I advise removing rings!}

4. When spreading out the pulp, you want it to be as thin as possible, but not have any visible holes. Once I get the pulp spread out in my cookie cutter, I remove some and spread it out again to fill the vacant hole. Do this step until you can no longer spread it thinly without holes forming.
5. After the pulp is spread to the desired consistency, push down on your cutter and gently lift it off as if you were pressing out a cookie from dough.
6. Take another paper towel and press hard onto the paper shape. You want to remove as much water as possible. Gently remove the towel so as not to tear the paper.
7. Place a paper towel on a Styrofoam plate. Turn the plate and towel upside down over the paper cut-out and screen. Carefully, lift everything and flip it over so the plate in now on the bottom. Peel the screen back slowly from your paper.
Viola! You've made paper! Now, let it dry for about 24 hours.
If you want to add wildflower seeds to make your paper plantable, do that in step 3 after you've got the desired consistency of pulp. You can also add colored raffia at this stage too.
Once dry, you can write or paint on your paper; turn it into an ornament or name tag; and even use it for crafts. Experiment with different types of recycled paper for texture and color variety.

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