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    Home / Science projects / Make Your Own Paper
    • Make Your Own Paper

      Make Your Own Paper

      Recycle used paper to make beautiful handmade paper!   This project is a lot of fun, but also very messy.   Make sure that it is safe to get the area you are working in splattered by water.   A kitchen is a good place, or if it is a clear day, try paper-making outside.  

      What You Need:

      • Newspaper, wrapping/tissue paper, unwanted mail, etc.
      • Screen or sturdy netting
      • Wooden frame (about 8" x 12")
      • Blender
      • Plastic bin (larger than the wooden frame)
      • Sponge
      • Kitchen towel
      • Glitter, crayon shavings, used postage stamps, pressed flowers, or confetti (optional)
      • Laundry lint, dry grass, or thread (optional)

      What You Do:

      1. Use thumbtacks or staples to secure the screen or netting over one side of a wooden frame to use as a "deckle" for straining the paper pulp. You could also try using a piece of nylon stocking stretched over an embroidery hoop as your deckle.  

      2. Shred or tear enough paper to half-fill a blender. Add warm water to fill the blender and blend until you have a pulp mixture with no chunks of paper. Pour the pulp into a plastic bin and add a blender-full of warm water, mixing the two together.

      3. If you want to add extra decorations to your paper, such as glitter or thread, now is the time to do it.   Sprinkle small items on top of the water before you make each sheet of paper.   If you would like to add an interesting texture to your paper, use a small handful of laundry lint, dry grass, or thread, and stir it into the pulp mixture.   If you would like to make colored paper, try adding food coloring to the mixture in the bin (remember, by mixing red, yellow, and blue you can create any color of the rainbow).

      4. Set your deckle in the plastic bin, screen-side down, holding it just under the surface so that pulp collects evenly on top of the screen. Pull the deckle out and shake it gently so most of the water drains out. Press a sponge over the top of the paper to soak up excess water.

      5. Press a clean kitchen towel or piece of felt against the paper and carefully pull it away from the screen. Let your paper dry, and then peel it off the towel. The pulp remaining in the plastic bin should be enough to make several more sheets.   If the paper you made seems too thin or has holes in it, add more blended pulp.   If it is too thick, add more water.   If your first sheet didn't quite work out, don't worry. As an art, paper-making takes time, and you may have to try something several times, but the end result will be worth it!

      What Happened:

      The pulp mixture that you filled the deckle with is made up of cellulose, or fibers from the cell wall of plants.   All plants contain cellulose, and a variety of papers can be produced by making a pulp from their broken down fibers.   Wood fibers make most of the paper we use today.   Long fibers from the cotton plant are used to make clothing and other textiles, but the short fibers are used in making paper.   Different kinds can make heavy paper or lighter paper that is less durable.   The method of recycling paper breaks down the fibers of used paper, and then the warm water binds them together again so a sheet of new paper is produced.          

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