They love to draw, write, shred, paint, color… you name it. I love that they are so creative! But, I also run out of printer paper faster than I can blink. I had an idea one day to make some handmade paper so they could see how they used to make paper before machines. They could see experience how much effort had to be put into making paper. We then tied this craft into watching some Youtube videos on how paper is made now. My kids were amazed at the process and the machinery!
Making handmade paper is a wonderful craft to do with kids of any age. Heck, it’s a great craft for just adults to do! It is also a great way to recycle waste paper into exciting new items. Here are the instructions for making handmade paper.
To make your handmade paper, you will need some scrap paper. 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.
You will also need:
* A sponge
* Window screening
* Wood frame
* Plastic basin large enough to immerse frame into
* Blender or food processor
* Staples or tacks
* Liquid starch if you want to be able to write on your paper
* Fabric or felt squares
* Two cookie sheets
1. To make your homemade paper, first choose the paper you want to recycle. If you can’t decide, you can even mix the types of paper you use.
2. Rip up the paper and put it in the blender until it is about half full. 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.
3. 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 three blender loads of pulp and stir the mixture.
If you’re going to be writing on your paper, stir in 2 teaspoons of liquid starch.
4. Put the mold into the pulp. Level it out until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.
5. Very slowly, lift the mold until it is above the water. Let the water drain from the pulp on top of the screen.
6. When it stops dripping, ease the mold onto a piece of felt or fabric, with the paper directly on the fabric. Use your sponge to gently press out as much water as possible.
7. Hold the fabric flat and carefully lift the edge of the mold. The new sheet of paper should stay on the fabric. It may take some practice to get this part right.
8. 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.
9. After all the water is squeezed out, separate the sheets. Dry them by letting them lie out on sheets in the newspaper. When they’re dry, peel off the fabric, and you have your new, handmade paper.
Remember to have fun! Experiment with different kinds of paper, and try adding 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!