A Step by Step Guide in Making Paper

Today, learning how to make paper has become a popular craft in homes and art classes across the world. And for good reason: it is simple, fun, and affordable to make paper. Commercially papermaking depletes forrests. A simpler way, and one that is less traumatic on the environment, is to recycle household items, such as paper bags, napkins, tissue paper, giving you the freedom to create marvelous paper products for a variety of uses. Lets get started!

rafia shredded paper
rafia shredded paper

Paper Making Tools

The first step is to turn your workspace into a mini paper making factory. To do that, you will need to gear up with a few readily available household items, a few bought ones, and a few that you will need to assemble yourself.

You will need:

  • Deckle & Mold
  • Blender
  • Plastic Basin
  • Sponge
  • Nylon screen
  • Hairdryer (optional)

Creating your deckle

Start by sourcing:

  • Two identical wooden frames
  • Fine mesh or netting
  • Stapler
  • Duct tape

Now you are ready to begin. As it is, one frame will be the deckle. The other will be the mould. To prepare the mould:

  • Stretch the fine mesh across the frame
  • Carefully staple the fine mesh or netting to the sides of the frame
  • Cover the sides in duct tape (be careful not to cover the inside of the frame)

Paper Making Ingredients

The next step is selecting your paper making ingredients. A variety of items can be used, but as each ingredient may lend towards a different end product, depending on the color and thickness of ingredients, take a moment to consider the sort of paper you want to make.

  • Newspaper (gray color)
  • Egg Cartons (thicker paper)
  • Boxes or Card (thicker paper)
  • Computer Paper
  • Napkins (finer paper)
  • Tissue Paper (finer paper)
  • Colored Paper (colored paper)

Once you have collected your ingredients, tear the paper up into small pieces, squares of about 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) are optimal. If you are using thicker ingredients, soak these in warm water for 5 minutes before getting started.

Paper Making – Step by Step Guide

Step 1 – Blending the pulp:

  • Add your paper to the blender, filling just a third of the container
  • Top the blender up with warm water, giving you a ratio of about 1:2
  • Set your blender to a slow setting and begin blending until mixture is a smooth consistency (this should take between 30-60 seconds)

Step 2: – Turning pulp into paper:

  • Place your mould, mesh side up, in your plastic basin
  • Place the deckle on top of the mold
  • Fill the basic with water, so that the water level is about 2cm short of the top of the deckle
  • Hold the deckle down firmly, and pour your pulp into the deckle
  • Move the deckle / mould unit from side to side, distributing the pulp evenly
  • Then lift the unit up above water level to drain excess water from the pulp
  • Sponge the underside of the mould to remove excess water
  • Tilt the unit slightly to remove any trapped water

Step 3: – Drying your paper:

  • Place the unit on a flat surface and remove the deckle, exposing the pulp
  • Carefully, flip the mould so that the pulp is now sandwiched between the mould and the flat surface
  • Sponge the back of the mould to remove any excess water
  • Gently remove the mould from the flat surface, leaving the pulp intact
  • Leave the paper for about 3 to 4 hours to dry

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