Making your own paper has so many possibilities and is a wonderful way to use up paper bits or recycle papers. It is so easy to do that even kids can do it!
There are a few basic things that you need. First off a blender, lots of water, and some large buckets (ice cream buckets work great!) You will also need some screen – the kind that covers your windows, it can be purchased at most hardware stores. If you have the option, choose the vinyl screen rather than the metal stuff as the little metal pieces will poke you as you work and have to be taped with duct tape in order to work with it. Once you have your vinyl screen cut a piece to fit in an embroidery hoop or wooden frame (or both). You will also need a nice absorbent sponge, a sunny day, a 4-6″ deep flat tub and a folding table. Last but not least, of course, you need all your paper scraps!
In addition to the basics, there are fun things you can use to jazz up your paper. They include glitter, finely shredded paper, colored bits of tissue paper, fabric dyes, confetti of any kind, dried flowers or leaves, pieces of yarn and anything else you would like to experiment with.
Now how to do it:
- Soak your paper bits in warm water.
- Put a small amount of soaked paper (it depends on how thick the paper is) into your blender and and 3-4 cups of water. Blend until you have the consistency you desire. If you are using colored papers and want the colors to show up as flecks throughout the paper, do not blend your mix as finely. Not blending it enough will create chunks of paper that take a long time to dry, BUT even larger chunks can make some neat paper.
- Once you have blended up all your paper and put it into your flat bin you are ready to start the actual making of it.
- Now comes the tricky part to explain. If you have blended a lot of paper and your consistency is quite thick you will need to add more water, but it is hard to tell how thick it is until you take a cut of paper (unless you have done this before). The simplest way to take a cut of paper is to take your embroidery hoop which has vinyl screen in it (you may wish to trim the excess screen off so all you have is a nice circle/oval shape to keep things neater). Turn your hoop vertically and slide it down the side of your bin and let it sit on the bottom. The screen should be on the top of the hoop. Now lift the hoop straight up through the water to the surface. Allow it to drip a bit. The paper pulp should not be thicker than 1/8-1/4″ on top of your screen and it can be thinner. If it is simply lift the hoop all the way out of the water and turn it over letting just the screen touch the surface of the water and all the paper bits will go back into the mix. If you paper is too thick add more water.
- To actually turn this pulpy mass into paper you need a folding table that can be leaned against a deck railing or fence preferably outside on a sunny day so you don’t have to worry about making a mess. Now take a cut of paper let it drip a bit and then place the hoop upside down on the slanted table. Using your sponge begin pressing on the screen inside your hoop. This draws out the water (and sends lots running down the table). Keep pressing until the screen will come away from the paper bits. If it is too wet it will take some time to dry so if you want to draw more water out of your paper simply place a piece of screen over the paper and continue sponging until you can’t get out any more water.
- To add the fun stuff: Once you know you have the right consistency you will want to add the fun things to your mix. Simply dump in the pieces and stir them into the pulp mix. If you wish to add dried leaves or petals you can sandwich them between two cuts of paper on your table as follows. Take the first cut of paper and absorb away the excess moisture. Add plant materials where desired. Take a second thin cut of paper (it will need to be transparent) and then place it over top of the first cut with the plant material sandwiched between the two. Dab away all excess water and allow it to dry.
- Allow your paper to dry on the table. When it is dry it will come off easily without tearing (unless perhaps it is really thin). Now you are ready to create wonderful creations with it.
Decorate your handmade paper crafts with clear hobby rubber stamps for card making, scrapbooking and all your paper crafting ideas.
If you love making paper you will probably be interested in how to use clear rubber stamps to cast detailed images into your paper creations. To learn how visit our Paper Casting with Rubber Stamps information page.