Making your own paper is a fun way to be creative and crafty, but it’s also an effective way to use up materials that you’d otherwise probably ignore or throw away. Homemade paper can be made with pulp made from old paper that has no use.
Once you’ve mastered the art of making your own paper at home, you won’t be able to stop. Handmade notebooks and stationary plus countless art projects can all be yours! And, added materials add unique designs to your paper, keeping the process endlessly exciting.
Paper made at home isn’t going to be like the kind you buy at the office supplies store. It’s going to be thicker and more textured. However, with the right kinds of pens, markers, and paints, you will be able to mark up your homemade paper in whatever way you want.
Paper Making Tools
To make paper, you need to create a pulp out of old paper materials, but there are a few more things you’ll need before you can get started.
Most importantly, you need a paper maker’s mold and deckle. A deckle is a frame with a screen. You put the paper pulp on the screen and press it down to flatten it and remove the excess liquid. This tool is crucial for making paper, and luckily, there are a few deckle options online that won’t break the bank.
This wooden handmold is perfect for beginner paper makers. It comes with an illustrated guide to paper making, as well as dried flowers that you can use to add some color to your homemade paper projects. Plus, it’s affordable.
You can also make a simple deckle at home using a picture frame and a screen.
How to Make Homemade Paper with Recycled Paper
You may be thinking something along the lines of “Wait a minute, you need paper to make paper?” Well in this case, the answer is yes. Old receipts, homework, newspapers, paper bags, parking tickets, etc. can be put to use by making your own paper.
Making paper in this way is perfect for minimizing your carbon footprint and cleaning out your storage bins.
- A paper maker’s mold and deckle
- Scrap paper
- A blender
- A tub or bin larger and deeper than your deckle
- A wooden or plastic board
- A rolling pin
- A dish rag or chamois-type towel
Step 1 – Cut or tear your scrap paper into small bits. They should be no bigger than ½-1” in size. You’ll need about 2 handfuls of scrap paper bits to make 1 sheet of homemade paper.
Step 2 – Soak the paper bits in water to begin creating your paper pulp. If you’d like to create colored paper, you can add in a few drops of food coloring. You can even soak the paper in fruit juice to color it naturally. The paper will have to soak for at least an hour, or until completely soaked through and soft.
Step 3 – Blend the paper in a blender or food processor until the paper has a consistent watery texture. This shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds.
Step 4 – Transfer the paper pulp to a large tub or bin along with another 5+ cups of water. You should be able to dip the deckle into the tub and completely submerge it in water.
Step 5 – You guessed it – submerge the deckle into the water and pulp mixture, and allow the paper pulp to get trapped onto the deckle’s screen. Once enough pulp has covered the screen, slowly pull out the deckle.
Step 6 – Using a towel, dry the pulp that is on the deckle screen. Do this slowly, or else the towel can pull off the pulp. Then, carefully pull the thin layer of pulp off of the screen and set it onto a flat board.
Step 7 – Flatten the paper. Cover the paper with a towel and, using a rolling pin, flatten it out until it’s the thickness you want.
Step 8 – Let your paper dry on a flat surface.
Homemade paper often comes out looking slightly grey in color. This is because the paper used for the pulp had black ink on it. When the paper soaks in water, the blank ink runs, turning the paper grey.
If you want your homemade paper to be white, wash the pulp with dish soap and/or bleach.
Homemade Paper Customizations
Want your paper to stand out? Well, there are more than a few ways to achieve this.
- Pressed flowers or petals – Placing these in your paper pulp in step 4 will give your finished paper a delicate, etsy-worthy look.
- Perfume – To give your paper a unique scent, try adding a few drops of perfume to the pulp in step 4.
- Essential oils – These can also help personalize your paper. Using an essential oil can even lead to your paper having minor health benefits.
- Colored paper – You can add some concentrated color to your homemade paper by mixing in some colored paper to your pulp in step 2.
- Gold foil – Who wouldn’t love paper covered in shiny gold bits? Add some gold foil to your pulp in step 4.
- Pine needles – These can help give your homemade paper an interesting texture. It may also lead to it being pine-scented. Add them to your pulp in step 4.
- Glitter – Glittery paper makes for great party invitations and notes to friends. Add some to the pulp in step 4.
- String and thread– Cut some colorful threat into small pieces to make your homemade paper look like it’s covered in confetti! Add the pieces to the pulp in step 4.
Making your own paper using old, useless paper from around the house is a great way to pass the time. It’s an easy project that anyone can do, and it leads to amazing results.