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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Blend the Pulp

To prepare a basic pulp, place a handful or two of soaked paper and about 2 cups of water in a blender. Put on the lid and blend the ingredients for 15 to 30 seconds, until the pulp has a texture something like runny oatmeal (image 1). If the mixture is thick and pasty, add more water and blend for another 10 to 15 seconds.

Basic pulp is usually grayish, beige or pinkish, depending on the paper you start with and what kind of ink was on it. Add some color with shredded construction paper, a few drops of food coloring or a handful of berries to the soaked paper and water before blending. Or, instead of using water as the liquid, use tea, coffee or a colorful fruit juice (image 2).

Customize the Pulp

To add texture, blend plant parts into the basic pulp to add an interesting fibrous texture to homemade paper. Leaves with long fibers, such as those of yuccas, hostas or ornamental grasses, work very well. Onion skins, fruit peels and fresh or dried corn husks also produce interesting results. Cut the pieces into 1/2- to 1-inch-long sections, then use 1 or 2 handfuls of chopped plant parts for each 1 or 2 handfuls of soaked paper when blending the pulp.

To give your paper a nice scent, add a few drops of your favorite fragrance, such as perfume, cologne or an essential oil made from herbs, before blending the soaked paper and water. You can also sprinkle a little fragrant spice, such as cinnamon or curry powder into the pulp.

Set Up Your Workspace

Paper-making can get a bit messy, so set up your workspace outside if you can or on a table with a waterproof surface. Place a shallow dish or tray (such as a baking dish, foil pan or cookie sheet with sides) directly in front of you that's large enough to hold the sheet mold. Spread a dry dish towel next to the dish or tray.

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