Make Recycled Paper

What You Need:

  • Uncoated used paper 
  • Water
  • A blender or a food processor (or a fork if unavailable)
  • A rectangular bin to hold water (a 13” x 9” pan would also work)
  • Mesh or screen, such as a window screen
  • An absorbent cloth or piece of fabric
  • Decorations like dried flowers or seeds (optional)
  • Gloves for handling the paper (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Rip up your used paper into small pieces (one inch long works well). Note: Use any uncoated paper available in your home, but not shiny or glossy paper (like magazine covers and pages).
  2. Separate the paper by color. This will allow you to make recycled paper in different shades and hues, if desired.
  3. Soak the paper scraps in water for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Place the paper scraps and enough water to cover the scraps in the blender or food processor, and blend until it becomes a uniform mixture, roughly equivalent to runny oatmeal. Note: If a blender is unavailable, you could cut the paper into smaller pieces, make sure to let it soak overnight, and use a fork and your hands to mash up the pulp. 
  5. Put the mesh or screen on top of the bin. Dump the paper pulp onto the screen and squeeze as much of the water out by pushing the pulp down onto the screen, letting the water drip into the bin. Form the pulp into a rectangle or whatever shape you would like your paper to be. The thickness of the paper can vary.        
  6. If you choose to add dried flowers or seeds to your paper, this is the time to incorporate them. Gently press them into the pulp.
  7. Put the cloth on top of the pulp and press down to further remove water from the pulp. The more water you squeeze out now, the faster your paper will dry.
  8. Carefully turn the  paper pulp over onto the absorbent cloth and place it in the sun or in a warm, dry place in your house to dry overnight.

Enjoy using your very own homemade recycled paper! You could use these sheets to make birthday cards, write on them with permanent markers, create a watercolor painting, or to give away as gifts to friends and family. If you placed seeds in them, remember to tell your friends that they can plant the paper!

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