How to make paper for gifts and crafts
Papermaking is a fun and easy craft, suitable for gift-giving, that uses simple materials that can be found around the house.
Whether you want to recycle, create your own unique stationery or make a gift with a personal touch, papermaking is a fun and easy craft. In order to make your own paper, you will need water, a tub or sink, paper scraps, starch or glue, a blender or food processor, a screen and pieces of cloth.
Any of the following can be ripped into small pieces and used to make paper pulp:
- Computer paper
- Paper towels
- Paper bags
- Typing paper
- Construction paper
- Light cardboard
The texture and color of your final product will depend on the make-up of the paper scraps used in the pulp.
You can also include decorative materials in your paper like:
- Colored thread
- Small bits of foil
- Dried flowers, leaves and herbs
This is your chance to really experiment to make a unique craft or gift.
The most common screen used in papermaking is a wooden frame with a piece of wire mesh screen stapled to it. It is possible to use any material for the frame, as long as you can securely attach the screen to it. A simpler alternative is to bend a clothes hanger into a rectangle or square and slip a pantyhose leg over it.
1. Tear the scrap paper into small pieces and fill the blender or food processor about half full. Add warm water. Blend until the mixture looks smooth and there are no individual pieces of paper left.
2. Fill the tub or sink with warm water and then add the paper mixture. Mix it together thoroughly. Add a little bit of glue or starch - this will help make it so that inks don't bleed, making the paper better for writing.
3. Put your screen into the paper pulp, letting the mixture settle on top of it. Shake it back and forth a little for more even coverage.
4. Lift the screen out of the tub, keeping it level. If the texture of the paper doesn't look right, you may want to add more water or blended paper to your tub and try again. A little experimenting will help you learn how thick the mixture should be for the type of paper you want. Press as much water as possible out of the paper pulp.
5. Lay a piece of fabric or felt on a flat surface. Flip the screen over onto the fabric, and transfer the paper to the fabric. Place another piece of fabric over the paper and squeeze out any excess water by hand or with a rolling pin.
6. Repeat this process for as many sheets of paper as you wish to make.
7. Leave your paper out to dry. When it is completely dry, peel the paper off the fabric. You may want to iron the pieces of paper to remove any final dampness and to flatten them out a little more.
8. If you are making the paper for yourself, it's ready to use. You can cut it to size or trim off any rough edges, although it's often the roughness of homemade paper that makes it so unique. If you want to give your paper as a gift, bundle it together and tie it attractively, perhaps with a nice pen attached.