Introduction: Making Paper (Protecting Yourself From Blackmail)

My office paper shredder was full, so I bagged it up for recycling. This was when a vision popped into my mind. There he stood, Danny DeVito. Not just Danny DeVito, The Penguin version. There was black ooze dripping from his mouth, and he was threatening to blackmail Maximilian Shrek. The bundle of previously shredded documents he was holding were all taped together. He says "A lot of tape and a little bit of patience make all the difference."

I don't have incriminating documents in my shredder, but I thought, what better way to truly destroy them? Make them into new paper. Thus began the journey into the art of making paper.


Scrap paper

A bucket

A blender

Two screens

A vat that the screen will fit in.

A bit if scrap wood to border one of the screens

Duct tape to hold the screen border in place

An old sheet cut into pieces 6" larger than the screen

An old towel

A sponge

A wooden dowel a bit wider than the screen

Drying rack I used dehydrator trays

Tea and coffee were my choices to add color

Step 1: The Raw Material

The main driving force here was my paper shredder.

Add the paper to the bucket and add water.

Step 2: Test for Softness

I left the mix for 24 hrs then got my hands into the mix. I squished and ripped the strands up into little bits.

Step 3: My Vat and Screens

My vat is an old molded plastic suitcase I had kicking around. The screens have been in my basement forever. They don't fit any windows I have, so they're perfect for this project. I cut a few strips of wood and duct taped them to one of the screens. They close to create a framed enclosure to hold the wet pulp. They open to access the pulp during removal.

Step 4: Blend the Pulp

I fiddled with the water to pulp ratio until I got a feel for the blending process. Once I got it working well, I continued until all the paper was pureed.

Step 5: Set Up the Vat

After opening the case, I added three gallons of water and three scoops of pulp. I made three sheets of paper with this mix. They were a bit rough but it was my first try at this hobby. I continued making three more each morning, developing my technique. When I was getting good results, my wife asked me for a less bright white version. I will now continue from that conversation on, and show the process. Now that I've worked out the kinks.

Step 6: Add Tea

Five tea bags and 24 hrs gave some color to the mix.

Step 7: Swish Close and Dip

Set up a towel beside the vat to place the wet screen on after dipping.

Swish the mix to lift the pulp, hold the frame closed and dip.

Step 8: Lift and Drain

Slowly raise the screen as evenly as possible. Let it drain for a bit, then open the frame and tip it to drain the excess water. It collects in the groove that holds the screen into the aluminum frame. Once drained, place the screen on the towel.

Step 9: The Dip

Step 10: Cover Carefully

Carefully lay the sheet onto the wet pulp. Try to keep it nice and even, no wrinkles, no slipping, and nothing left uncovered. There are no second chances here once you lay the cloth, its there to stay. The second screen is now placed on top. The face of the screen that is flush with the aluminum, face down. Here you now have the pulp and cloth squished between the two screens.

Step 11: Sponge

Sponge out the excess water. Its easy to do but takes a bit of time. Just press down lightly then squeeze the sponged liquid back into the vat. The top screen holds the pulp and fabric in place pretty well but don't knock the pile around or you'll mess up the pulp within.

Step 12: The Big Reveal

Take the dowel and roll it onto the end of the cloth. As the screen is lifted, the cloth is lifted as well. The dowel keeps the cloth nice and even as it pulls the pulp clear of the bottom screen.

Step 13: Lay Out to Dry

Gently lay the cloth onto the drying rack and set aside for 24 hrs. Then once dry, just peel the paper from the cloth. It may take less than 24 hrs. I just made this my morning ritual for a week or so. I would make 8 sheets every morning.

Step 14: I Love a Good Peel

Step 15: Add Coffee

Still not dark enough for my only customer, so coffee grounds were added. That gave the result required.

Step 16: My Paper Stash

As you can see the color continued to darken as I progressed through this project. Something for everyone I guess.

Step 17: Art Time

Markers and paint will do just fine.

Step 18: Create

The paint gets absorbed pretty quick so you have to be careful not to go to heavy. Letting the piece dry out periodically is a good idea.

Step 19: A Trip to Egypt

Well its not papyrus but it'll do.

Step 20: For the Grand Kids

Our grandson likes trains and the blob fish was something the grand daughter texted us a picture of.

Step 21: Another Blustery Day

The weather has been downright nasty this week. The creative juices kept the misses sane while cooped up indoors.

Well that's it making and using paper. Happy Creating!

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