Homemade Paper Activity

3.7 based on 57 ratings
Updated on Jan 22, 2014

Sure it's fun to experiment with bubbles or see which objects sink and which float. But why not try a science experiment that creates something cool? This project lets kids explore what happens when water and toilet paper interact, and it produces homemade paper perfect for interesting gift tags or stationery.

What You Need:

  • Toilet paper (use an inexpensive brand: the coarser the better)
  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Kitchen strainer
  • Large dry sponge
  • Old newspapers
  • Rolling pin
  • Waxed paper
  • Food coloring (optional)

What You Do:

  1. First of all, make sure you have plenty of working space for this activity. Cover a table with newspaper to limit the mess.
  2. Place 10 squares of toilet paper in the water bottle. Fill the bottle half full with water and close securely. If desired, you can add a few drops of food coloring to the bottle to create colored paper.
  3. Have your child count to 100 as he shakes the bottle. This shaking will allow the toilet paper and water to make pulp.
  4. Once the mixture looks like “slush”, your pulp is ready.  Pour the pulp into the strainer in a thin, flat layer. Squeeze as much excess water out of the pulp as you can.
  5. Prepare a working space with layers of newspaper to absorb the water.  Without moving the layer of pulp with your hands, flip the strainer and let the pulp fall onto the layer of newspaper. Cover the pulp with a piece of waxed paper and use the rolling pin to squeeze out any excess water. Remove the waxed paper and place the sponge on the paper to absorb the excess water. You may have to repeat this process several times.
  6. Once you’ve removed all of the excess water, allow the paper to dry overnight. Voila! Your child has his own piece of handmade paper. He can decorate the paper the next day, use it to write a note, or make a craft project, like a gift tag or pin. Be creative!

You can use this project as is, or add a green element, by using bits of recycled paper from junk mail. Keep in mind that when using paper with a coarse texture your child will have to either use an electric blender, or shake the bottle a little more in order to break down the paper into pulp.

Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.