We all know that recycling paper is one way of reducing our ecological footprint by lowering the total amount of waste we produce. However, many people don't know how paper is actually recycled, or even how much of the items they put out in recycling bins actually gets recycled. In this article I will explain how easy it is to make paper using a very simple process that utilizes tools readily available in the market or even at home. It's fun, straight-forward and you help protect the environment by recycling your own paper!
- 2 *identical* picture frames. Get rid of the glass/acrylic sheet and only use the frame itself
- some sort of mesh, something like what is used on windows to keep the bugs out. You can get a fiberglass roll of this stuff for $7 at any hardware store (e.g. the Home Depot) and it works great
- duct tape
- nails and/or stapler
- large tub that can fit both frames (one on top of the other) horizontally
- pestle and mortar or blender to mash up the paper to form a pulp
- old wool/acrylic/polyester blanket that can be cut up
- spray bottle
- manual press or lots of books to press the paper down and squeeze water from the paper pulp
- paper (preferably used computer paper, as newspaper will give you bad quality recycled paper)
- something to cover your work space because this can get messy ;)
The picture below is just for the icon for this step. This picture is in context on step 5.
Step 1: Making the frame!
Alright, so the first thing we need to make is the frame with the mesh. This will be used to scoop up the pulp in the tub, ultimately forming the paper. This meshed frame is called "mold".
To do this, get one of the frames and put it on a table, with the smooth side facing up (the side without the grooves where you attach the back of the picture frame). Get your mesh/netting and put it on top of the picture frame. Cut up a piece that roughly matches the size of the picture frame.
Align the mesh so that it covers the whole picture frame, then nail it down. Make sure the net is *straight*, if it's wrinkly it won't work properly. I used a stapler because it's easier. If you use a normal stapler, slowly staple the mesh down to avoid bending the staples.
After the net is in place, hammer down the nails/staples to make sure they are "in" the wood, you don't want any spiky nails or staples sticking out.
Cut out any extra mesh you have (whatever is not on top of the frame) and duct tape the sides of the frames. Do not go over the "middle" of the frame, only tape the sides.
Your mold is now ready. The other frame remains unnetted, and is called the "deckle".
Now cut out the blanket in pieces that cover one of the frames entirely. After you've done that, it's time to shred paper.