Want to try your hand at living the rustic life? Well, there’s no better time than the present. Minimalism, eco-living, and the vintage aesthetic are all extremely popular these days, and making homemade paper fits into all three of those categories.
Learning to make paper from natural plant materials will not only help you connect with the land, it will allow you to use up material that you otherwise would have let go to waste.
Once you learn how to make homemade paper, you won’t be able to stop. You can make your own envelopes and personalized stationary, notebooks, planners, scrapbooks, and so much more. Plus, with fun additional materials, paper making can be an endlessly unique and exciting experience.
Paper Making Tools
Paper making is a unique art form that requires specific tools. Most importantly, you’ll need a paper maker’s mold and deckle. This is basically just a picture frame with a screen in it. You can make your own mold and deckle at home, however, a good-quality, inexpensive one can be found online.
If you’re a beginner at paper making, this wooden handmold is perfect for you. It comes with a paper making guide and dried flower petals that you can use when crafting.
How to Make Homemade Paper with Plant Materials
The most important part of making homemade paper is the pulp. To make paper from plants, you’ll need to make pulp out of natural plant materials. The kind of materials you use can be just about anything you find from dead leaves to pieces of grass.
- A paper maker’s mold and deckle
- Plant materials
- A blender
- A tub or bin larger and deeper than your deckle
- Wooden or plastic board
- A rolling pin
- Dish rag or ShamWow-type towel
Step 1 – Collect your plant material. The color of the materials will affect the color of the paper. So, dead brown plants make darker paper than fresh plants. Make sure to wash the plant material before going on to the next step.
Step 2 – Soak the plant material. In a pot of boiling water, let the plant material decompose and become mushy. This can take several hours.
Step 3 – Blend the plant materials and water in a blender or food processor until it has a consistent watery texture.
Step 4 – Transfer the plant 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 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.
The plant materials you choose to make won’t only affect the color of your paper, but will also affect the texture and thickness of your paper. Experiment with different materials until you find the one that suits you the best.
Homemade Paper Customizations
To give your homemade paper some more personality, try adding in extra ingredients.
- 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 3.
- 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.
Getting creative doesn’t have to make you stressed. Making your own paper out of plant materials is the perfect way to relax, rewind, and turn something most people consider to be useless into something beautiful.