How to Make Paper

Turn scrap paper into one-of-a-kind, handmade paper projects with flower petals, leaves and even seeds from your garden.

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Materials Needed:

  • 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" picture frame
  • plastic needlepoint canvas (available at craft stores)
  • plastic or wire window screening (optional)
  • scrap paper
  • document shredder or scissors (optional)
  • large bowl(s)
  • water
  • full-sized or personal blender
  • construction paper, food coloring, berries, coffee, tea or fruit juice (optional)
  • fresh or dried leaves, onion skins or corn husks (optional)
  • perfume or cologne, essential oil or spices (optional)
  • shallow dish or tray, 8" x 10" or larger
  • metal or plastic spoon
  • several dry dish towels
  • sponge

Prepare for Paper-Making

The key bit of equipment you need for making paper is the sheet mold. You can make a simple mold with a 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" picture frame and a piece of plastic needlepoint canvas cut to fit inside the frame. If you want to give the surface of your finished paper a finer texture, cut a similar-sized piece of plastic or wire window screening and lay it on top of the plastic canvas in the frame.

Shred Scrap Paper

Many kinds of scrap paper work well for making the basic paper pulp, including office paper, newspaper, junk mail, greeting cards, envelopes, wrapping paper and unused napkins or paper towels. For the whitest result, use white paper with no ink on it. Remove any staples or bits of plastic. Run the paper through a document shredder or cut or tear it into thin strips or small pieces. Place the pieces in a large bowl of warm water (2 handfuls of chopped-up paper scraps make a sheet of finished paper).

Soak Scrap Paper

Use separate bowls for soaking different paper colors. Let them soak for at least 15 minutes (for soft paper, such as newsprint or construction paper) to an hour or more (for hard paper, such as greeting cards) to soften the paper.

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