Handmade Paper From Recycled Materials
The process of making paper is 2000 years old, wood pulp was introduced as a source of papermaking in the 1830s and this is when the major deforestation era started. This is one of the impacts humans have on the world’s deforestation as these resources end up being used in producing millions of pounds of paper per year. With all the awareness about reducing, reusing, and recycling paper there is a great trend of recycling paper waste into new paper on a big scale. A lot of offices and schools and even households send their paper waste to different organizations to be recycled into usable paper. Well instead of sending all your waste into recycling there is an easy, fun, and creative solution to turn it into useful and beautiful handmade paper!
Handmade paper is a good way to up-cycle materials in a fun and creative way. It is a great activity that not only engages kids but also educates them about paper conservation and recycling. You can make a personalized collection of beautiful handmade papers which can be used as a collection of small decorative papers. These lovely papers make great additions to a wide variety of card making, scrapbooking, gift wrapping, gift tags, and other papercraft projects.
You can make beautiful handmade paper for yourself of just about any paper that you can find. There are endless possibilities of adding decorative items to it and making a personalized piece for yourself. This is a fun, creative, and inexpensive craft project that results in a beautiful, unique, useful, handmade paper.
Handmade paper can be easily customizable with additives, such as glitter, seeds, leaves, dried flower, yarns, fibers, or a wide variety of other items. you can mix in with the pulp. Handmade paper can also be colored with dyes, food colorants, or pieces of colored tissue paper.
Paper for Recycling
You may use pretty much any type of paper product for making handmade paper at home. These include:
- Construction paper
- Printer paper
- Junk mail
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper bags
- Card stock
- Newspapers (will produce a grayish paper)
There is plenty of instructions and tutorials available online for how to make handmade paper from scratch. To give you a general idea of the process, we’ll summarize the materials and tools required and the basic steps involved in making handmade paper.
Helpful Tools and Materials Required to Make Handmade Paper:
Equipment / Tools
- Blender / Hand blender
- Mixing bowl / bin / bucket
- Mould (a screen attached to a frame)
- Blotting tools ( helps in removing water from your paper after shaping it. A sponge works great or a piece of towel or cloth)
- Old Papers
- Piece of plastic sheet or parchment paper
- Additives (optional)
- Colorants (optional)
- Card stock (optional)
Basic Steps For Making Handmade Paper:
Prepare the Paper
First, you need to cut the paper into strips with the help of scissors or a paper shredder. Put them into a bowl or bin and cover the paper with water and leave it to soak. The paper should be fully soaked for a couple of hours or overnight, This helps to break down the paper.
Prepare the Pulp
A basic pulp is prepared by adding soaked paper and about 2 cups of water to the blender. Blend until the pulp is mixed up well and has a pureed texture. If the mixture is thick and pasty, add more water and blend for another 10 to 15 seconds. You may use a hand blender. The color of the basic pulp is usually grayish, beige, or pinkish, depending on the type and color of paper you start with. You may customize your pulp with many things depending on your personal choice or requirement such as:
- To add texture, blend plant parts into the basic pulp to add an interesting fibrous texture to homemade paper.
- To give your paper a nice scent, add a few drops of your favorite fragrance, such as perfume, essential oils, or fragrant spices like cinnamon, before blending the soaked paper and water.
- As well as, To add the color you may add a few drops of food coloring or use tea, coffee, or a colorful fruit juice.
Set Up Your Workspace
You should expect a mess. Papermaking is a bit messy and wet process. It is advisable to set up your workstation outside or work on a well-protected/waterproof work surface. You may place a shallow dish or tray to hold water from the screen and a piece of cloth to clean splashes.
Press the Paper Pulp Into the Mold
Lined it with a piece of plastic or parchment paper. This makes turning the paper out easier. Set your mold into a shallow dish or tray filled with water and start pressing the paper pulp into the mold. Keep pressing the paper pulp firmly into the mold so it is evenly distributed. You can use a spoon or small container to scoop the pulp and press it down evenly. Add more pulp as needed to fill in any unfilled small spots. At this point, You may add glitter, threads, petal, leaves, and many other decorative items of your choice. You may use cookie cutters inside the molds for different shapes of paper. Once the screen is covered lift the mold and tilt it a bit to let the excess water drain off.
Press the Water Out and Remove the Screen
Lift the mold out of the water and lightly blot the pulp shape with a sponge or cloth. Now move it to your drying surface. In one motion invert it on a towel (pulp side down) and blot the pulp again with the screen still on (drier pulp means easier removal from the screen). Slowly remove the screen starting from one corner.
Let Paper Dry
Wait until the paper dries, this may take a few days. Once dry, gently peel the piece of paper from the towel and it’s good to use. You may speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer. Another way is to pick up the towel holding the damp piece of finished paper and set it in an airy spot. After a few hours, gently peel the sheet of paper from the towel, then set it on a drying rack or hang it on a clothesline to finish drying. Your paper might curl up once dried, place some heavy books to flatten it.
Conclusion About Handmade Paper:
Handmade paper making allows great experimentation and is forgiving when it comes to mistakes. It is a fairly simple process with a variety of endless options