I have been pondering what to do with all of our shredded paper for a while now because it’s starting to build up. I am looking more and more like a hoarder! With limited recycling options in town, I wanted to get creative. So I decided to make my own homemade recycled paper! I made paper a long time ago for a girl scout project, so I thought it would be pretty easy to make again.
I first intended to make this as a project to do with my Little One. However, it ended up being too delicate of a project for a one year old. My first try ended up with lots of little finger prints that dented the paper. After this first attempt I realized it would be a perfect activity for older children.
Making paper is a pretty simple process and you can use simple tools you already have around your home. The toughest part is getting a screen. Your local hardware store would have some, or even take a look around your garage, maybe there is a spare screen you forgot about. I got mine from my father-in-law, who has a window and screen repair business. I did learn that using a metal screen is better then using a plastic-based screen.
Making a Deckle
The screen is needed to make the deckle. I’ll link a couple of videos on how to make one and where to purchase one. I made one by using a screen and an old photo frame from the dollar store. First I popped the glass out and the metal pieces that hold the backing on. I did this with a pair of pliers. Next I used a hot glue gun to glue the edge of the screen to the edge of the frame. Once it dried I used duct tape over the raw edge of the screen and over the sides of the picture frame. It’s not my prettiest work but it will do.
The supplies you will need are…
- Deckle – click here for a video on how to make one.
- towels – Bath and flour sack cloth
- shredded paper
- cutting board
There are many tutorials out there on how to make paper. I watched this video before I started. However, I wanted to try a couple different methods. The first is that I wanted to keep this as eco-friendly as possible, and that means not using paper towel. Instead I used old bath towels and flour sack cloth…lots and lots of them. I used a big bath towel on the counter top and flour sack cloth towel to lay the paper on.
Many of the tutorials out there make use of a second screen. I found an easy way around this that involves flipping it onto the towel.
Making the Paper
Making homemade recycled paper is really simple. Place a hand full of shredded paper into the blender. You can also add colored paper and newspaper to change the color of the paper. I just stuck to my shredded paper simply because I have a lot of it! Next, add water to the blender. You need quite a bit, but don’t over fill the blender. Blend until it gets to a consistency you like. It took 20-40 seconds for me. See my before and after pictures below.
Creating the Paper
This next part is really fun. I used my sink and filled it with a couple of inches of water and put the deckle in the water. Then I poured the paper mixture on to the deckle. Spread out the mixture on the deckle, using your fingers to spread the mixture over the deckle in an even layer. Next, raise the deckle out of the water and shake it to even out the layer and let the excess water drip off.
Drying the Paper
Flip the deckle over on top of a bath towel and flour sack towel. With the deckle still down, use a sponge to wick away some of the water and squeeze it back into the sink. Continue until you are no longer getting water out of the paper. Carefully take the deckle off the paper and place it to the side.
Next, fold the other half of the flour sack towel over the paper and press it with an iron. Keeping the towel folded, flip the towel over and press the other side of the paper. Flip again and gently fold back the flour sack towel. Use a cutting board or some other large flat service and place it on top of the paper. Flip it over and then gently pull back the flour sack towel. Finally transfer the paper onto a dry towel and leave it to dry. See the photos below for reference.
That’s it, your homemade paper is officially done! I plan on using the paper for cards/notes and as coloring paper for Little One. What do you think? Will you turn your own shredded paper into homemade recycled paper? Let me know of any tips or tricks you may have in the comments below!
Feel like more DIYing? Check out my homemade beeswax wraps.