Introduction: Paper Creation From Recyclable Material

Making paper from recyclable materials is a fun, environmentally friendly way of creating new memories! This paper can be any different color, shape, or size, and can be used for anything from a science project, to scrap-booking, or writing letters and postcards. 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

You will need:

Old newspaper or other paper products
1/4" wire mesh
Window screen
Duct tape
Large basin
Paper towels
Hair dryer (optional)

Step 2: Creating Frame

Using thicker wire mesh for stability (I used a ¼” wire mesh the far right picture) cut out pieces the size you want your paper to be, being sure that it is smaller than the basin, with about an inch or more excess on all sides (this excess will be covered in duct tape to create a holding area). 

Cut an identical sheet of window screen, as seen in the bottom left picture. Place it on top of the thicker mesh, and tape the edges together using duct tape (any other tape works, just be sure it will stay stuck together in water). The top left picture should look similar to yours.

Step 3: Recycle Your Material

Next you will need to rip your recycled paper into shreds of large pieces; a few tears per sheet of paper should be good.

You can use anything from newspaper, envelopes, old school notes, letters, or even construction paper. You will want to stay away from plastic, wax paper or glossy pages of magazines. The colors you choose will determine the color of the ending paper, mine will turn out a grey color because I am using only newspaper. You could even use old fabrics such as felt if you want to add strength and more color.

Step 4: Soak Your Material

Once you have torn up your paper, you will want to soak them in a bowl or basin of water for 30-40 minutes to loosen up the fibers.

About one thin newspaper will yield 5-10 pieces of recycled paper depending on the size and thickness.

Step 5: Blend Your Material

Once they are done soaking, fill your blender with about a third of water, and add your strips of paper as seen in the far left picture.

The more newspaper or material, the thicker your paper will be. If you are intending to write on the paper, add about 2 teaspoons of liquid starch, so the ink does not bleed through the fibers of the finished product.

Blend on a pulse until the newspaper has blended into a smooth pulp as is shown in the bottom right picture. 

Step 6: Soak Your Frame

Place your frame into the bottom of an empty basin and fill with water, about 2 inches above the screen.

Slowly begin to add your pulp, remember, the more pulp, the thicker the ending paper. I used about 3 handfuls of pulp.

Step 7: Settle the Material

Allow the fibers of the paper to settle onto your frame, gently moving the basin side to side to allow for an equal settlement.

Remove large chunks or unblended paper.

Step 8: Remove Your Frame

Gently remove your frame and allow the water to sift out of the bottom before placing it on a towel or sheet of paper towels.

If there is any section of the screen that is not covered, feel free to add a bit more pulp to blend in the sections, notice how thick my layer of pulp is, this will thin, do not worry.

Step 9: Dry Your Paper

Once the frame is laying on an absorbent surface, gently remove excess water with a sponge, pushing the pulp flat and releasing more water.

Be sure to wring out the sponge frequently, or switch to paper towels.

Step 10: Remove Your Paper

After this 30 min of soaking up excess water, you should be able to gently remove the paper from the frame.

If the paper does not hold together as you remove it, there is still too much water in the fibers, and you may want to leave it sit for another 30 min.

Once it has been removed, set it on a flat absorbent surface and allow the paper to dry. You can speed up the process by using a heat gun or hair dryer on a low setting. My paper sat over night and was almost completely dry by morning.

Step 11: New Recycled Paper

Once the paper is completely dry, feel free to cut it to shape and size, and enjoy!