We use paper countless times in our daily lives. So often that we do not really even stop to think about where it comes from or how it is made. Making your own paper is a fun project that will teach you something new while also creating something useful that you can use later. There are two main methods of making paper. The frame method uses a screen stretched over a wooden frame while the pan method uses a screen with an aluminum pan or casserole dish. This article will teach you the frame method of making paper.
You will need:
• A wooden frame (an old picture frame works perfectly. The size of the frame will be the maximum size of the paper you will make.
• Window screening – you can also use a sieve with holes of about 1mm
• Clean recyclable paper – can be newspaper, old print-outs, notes, phone books, etc. Make sure it is not waxed, glossy, or shiny. Remove all plastic, staples, or other contaminants
• A blender
• Easy access to water
• A large basin (larger enough for your frame to fit in)
• Two pieces of fabric (felt or flannel) – make sure they are large enough to accommodate your paper
• A sponge
• Liquid starch (optional)
• Hair dryer (optional)
Begin by stretching the screen over your wooden frame and staple or tack it to the edges – it should be pulled as tightly as possible. The frame and screen are known as a mold in paper making.
1. Rip the paper into very small pieces and add it to the blender.
2. For every ½ cup of shredded paper, add 2 cups of warm water. Run the blended slowly at first, and then increase the speed until the pulp is well-blended and smooth.
3. Fill the basin about half way with water. Add 3 blended loads of pulp – the more pulp you add, the thicker the finished paper will be. Stir well.
4. If you are going to use the paper for stationary or to write on, add 2 teaspoons of liquid starch into the pulp. This helps to prevent inks from soaking into the paper fibers.
5. Remove any large clumps of paper from the pulp.
6. Place the mold into the pulp and level it out while it is submerged. Gently moved the frame until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.
7. Lift the mold up until it is above the level of the water. Hold it here until most of the water has drained out.
8. Use a sponge to remove extra water from the pulp by pressing it down on the screened side.
9. Lay a piece of fabric onto the mold. Gently but firmly press the fabric into the mold and pulp.
10. Lay another piece of fabric on top of the paper and press down to squeeze out more excess water. You can lay books on top of the fabric to act as a press.
11. After a few hours, remove the books and leave the paper sheets to dry – this can take up to a day.
12. Once dry, peel the paper from the fabric.
13. If you want to straighten the paper, put it inside of a thick book or phone book and press it down with more weight.
14. Repeat the above steps to make additional sheets of paper.
15. You can also use a hair dryer to dry the sheets quicker. This process may cause the paper to curl, but that can be easily fixed.
Tips and Tricks to Make Good Looking Paper
You can use another frame (with no screen or mesh added) to hold the pulp in place. This piece is called a deckle and determines the size of the paper. You can use small rollers to remove excess water from the pulp when it is still in the mold.
With this simple process, you can make your own paper with readily available materials. You will not only have customized paper, but you are also reducing your ecological footprint by lowering the amount of waste. It’s fun, easy and helpful to the environment by recycling your own paper!
Edward Stuart is an interior design aficionado, and follows all things design and fashion. He enjoys blogging about framed art, interior design, home decor, and fashion tips.