Homemade Paper

Years ago, I made paper with my aunt. I can’t recall much of that day, but I do remember thinking how cool it was.

When we had set the paper out to dry, my aunt told me to leave it alone. Of course, I ignored her. I purposely stepped on one of the pages… and because I liked the squish under my feet, I stepped on all of them. When she asked if I had made the footprints, I denied it and blamed the dog. Skilled lying, I know. The evidence was there.

Years later, she gave me one of those footprint-ed pieces of paper. My aunt, the crafty pastor, was the one who officiated my wedding to Husband (formerly LoverMan). As a gift, we made our own paper to give to her. Pretty cute, huh?

Like I said, my memory is shit. I had to google and pinterest how to make paper. The instructions that I found were incredibly confusing and most didn’t have pictures. Nevertheless, I figured it out. And my gift to you is an inordinate number of photos.

I encourage you, dear reader, to try making some of your own. It’s a great bonding exercise for couples, families, or even friends. Or on your own, it doesn’t really matter–it’s fun!

So, here it is. The plain and simple “How To.”

Most of your necessary crap
Most of your necessary crap

What you need:

A bowl

A blender

Window screen

A small frame (to the size you want)

Tissue paper (for color… I used red)

A shit ton of white paper

A bucket

Water

Towels

Sponge (I used a dish one)

Okay. First thing’s first: take your screen and attach to the frame. You’ll also want another piece that’s about the same size. Check it out:

IMG_1217
Ta-daaaa!!!!

Next, Shred up your white paper. Honestly, a paper shredder would be easiest… but I don’t have one. So, I just used my hands. Naturally, my fingers ached. But I live life the hard way.

Shred up the tissue paper that you want. HINT: use the cheapest paper you can find. You don’t want that glossy crap… It won’t blend as well, if at all. Cheaper the better–music to my ears.

Then, throw all the paper into a bowl. Dump a bunch of water on it, enough to cover all the paper. Now, ignore it. You want to completely saturate the paper. I left mine overnight–totally overkill. (I just got lazy busy.)

This is how it should look
This is how it should look

Easy, peasy. Now, blend it up!! You may have to add extra water to the blender–it does NOT matter how much, just that you have enough to completely pulverize the paper. Pulp. We want pulp. (Think of orange juice! More pulp the better!! 😉 )

Remember that bucket that we gathered up? Yeah, now fill it with water. Don’t overfill!! It’s easiest if you only fill about 1/3rd of it.

Dump your paper pulp into the water bucket. (See, that extra water we added to the blender totally didn’t harm the process.)

Check it out.
Check it out.

This picture also shows our next step! We grab the frame-screen thingy. Use both hands… I had to take pictures, that’s why you can only see my right one. The next part isn’t tricky at all, it may just be a little difficult to describe. Bear with me.

Hold the frame-screen vertically. Dip it into the water. Slide it along the bottom of the bucket so that it’s now horizontal. SLOWLY lift the frame-screen up, again, horizontally.

Like so. Can ya see it?!
Like so. Can ya see it?!

Pull it completely out of the water…

So pretty. See that bright chunk? Yeah, that's glossy tissue paper. Just the WORST!
So pretty. See that bright chunk? Yeah, that’s glossy tissue paper. Just the WORST!

Also, you’ll probably want to clean up the edges. I just used my fingers to push the pulp off of the frame itself.

Then lay that extra screen sheet on top of our pulp-covered frame-screen.

IMG_1222
Do we really need this picture? Why not…

Carefully, you want to press on the paper-pulp sandwich to press out some of the water. Get as much out as you can now. But don’t worry, the next step continues to rid us of that pesky water. It’s just less messy while you’re still hanging out over the bucket.

Okay. You want to have a towel prepped: fold it up so that there are more layers to absorb water. Lay the frame and all on top of the towel.

Grab your sponge. You’re going to press the sponge to simultaneously soak up and push out water.

Squish, squish, squish
Squish, squish, squish

Done? Okay. Now, peel off the frame-screen. Next, carefully peel the paper off of the second screen. Lay the paper onto a toweled surface to dry!

IMG_1224As far as this second towel-act goes, it can be a paper towel or a bath towel. I don’t care. Just plop the towel down in the location that you want.

No picture. Do you really need a picture of paper drying??

Again, ignore it. Watch out for those pesky dogs–they may step on the paper! 😉

Depending on how well you pushed out the water, it may take from just a few hours to 12+ for the paper to dry.

Chances are, your paper will warp in the drying process. That’s OK!! It’s expected. Just put the sheets under a heavy surface. I used a stack of books. It flattens them out just fine.

Once dry… you’re done! That’s all! Sure, there are a lot of steps… but the whole process is stupid easy.

So purrrdy!
So purrrdy!

 

I figured that I’ll use these sheets for card making. One of these days I want to try and make a folded card… I’m not sure how yet.

I think what I will try is to press a line halfway down the paper to help fold it. You see, these pages are typically a little brittle.

Anyway, good luck! Let me know if you have any questions. And of course, share your results with me!! I want to see your beautiful paper too, my dear readers. 🙂

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