How to Make Paper!

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How To Make Homemade Paper in 10 Simple Steps!

Ancient Egyptians made the first substance similar to the paper we recognize now, known as Papyrus. Egyptian papyrus were formed from slices in the inner portion of the papyrus stem, which is then beat and flattened out into a tough, slim piece sheet. The word “paper” arrived from the word “papyrus”. The paper that we use nowadays was invented by Ts’ai Lun in A.D. 105, the paper that he invented was believed to be made from mulberry tree bark, cannabis, and rags soaked with water, mashed into a pulp, pressed out and then hung to dry out in the sun. Paper was born and then this simple material changed mankind’s world forever.

Today there is a popular interest in do-it-yourself papermaking. Not solely is it a fun experience for you and the kids, but it is also a great method to reuse waste into fantastic possibilities.

Below, you will learn an easy paper making formula for you to get started. This is probably the first time you are making paper but don’t be scared to experiment with your own different materials. And you also don’t have to stick with paper related materials.  You can throw in whole flower heads, scraps of yarn, tin foil, even seeds into the mixture. It totally comes down to what you like. Try out different textures and colors just like Ts’ai Lun did! Some of your ideas will come out awesome while others may turn out pretty silly. Enjoy it and express your creativity.

The Recipe:

The many types of paper that can be used include:

* Computer Paper (unprinted)
* Newspaper (for a grey colored paper)
* Magazines
* Egg Cartons
* Old Cards (for heavy paper)
* Toilet Paper
* Paper Bags
* Non Waxed Boxes (must soak in warm water first)
* Office Paper
* Tissue Paper (to make fine paper)
* Typing Paper
* Napkins
* Construction Paper

Supplies you’ll need:

* Sponge
* Window Screening (mold)
* Wood Frame (picture frame can be used too)
* Plastic Basin/Tub (large enough to totally immerse frame)
* Blender/Food Processor
* White Felt or Flannel Fabric
* Staples or Tacks (to keep screen on frame)
* Liquid starch (optional)

Instructions:

making-paper.jpg

1. Choose the pieces of paper to be recycled. You can even combine different types to create your own unique paper.

2. Tear the paper into small pieces, and throw into the blender about half full. Fill the blender with warm water. Run the blender slowly at first, then increase the speed until the pulp looks smooth and well blended (around 40 seconds). Now check that everything thing is smooth with no flakes left out. If there are, keep on blending.

3. The next step is making a mold. The mold, in this case, is made simply by stretching fiberglass screen (plain old door and window screen) over a wooden frame and stapling it. It should be very tight.

4. Fill the basin about half way with water. Add 3 blender loads of pulp. (The more pulp you add the thicker the finished paper will be) Stir the mixture.

5. Now is the time to add the liquid starch for sizing. This is not necessary but if the paper is going to be used for writing on, you should add some, the starch helps to prevent inks from soaking into the paper fibers. Stir 2 teaspoons of liquid starch into the pulp.

Place the mold into the pulp and then level it out while it is submerged. Gently wiggle it side-to-side until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.

6. Slowly lift the mold up until it is above the level of the water. Wait until most of the water has drained from the new paper sheet. If the paper is very thick, remove some pulp from the tub. If it is too thin, add more pulp and stir the mixture again.

7. When the mold stops dripping, gently place one edge on the side of a fabric square (felt or flannel square). Gently ease the mold down flat, with the paper directly on the fabric. Use a sponge to press out as much water as possible. Wring the excess water from the sponge back into the large plastic tub.

8. Now comes the tricky part. Hold the fabric square flat and then slowly lift the edge of the mold. The wet sheet of paper should remain on the fabric. If it sticks to the mold, you may have pulled to fast or not pressed out enough water. It takes a little practice. You can gently press out any bubbles and loose edges at this point.

9. Repeat the steps above, and stack the fabric squares on a cookie sheet. Save one fabric square to place on the top of the stack to cover the last piece of paper. Use another cookie sheet to press the remaining water out of the stack. Do this outside or in the bathtub as it can make quite a mess.

10. After you press the stack, gently separate the sheets. They can be dried by hanging on a clothesline or laying them out on sheets of newspaper. When they have dried peel them off the fabric and bam! Congratulations, you have just made your own homemade paper!

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