Introduction: Recycled Paper in 5 Easy Steps!

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I did not learn these instructions from the Internet or a book!

Hello people.  Before we get started, here are the reasons you should make your own paper:
1 - Making your own paper is environmentally friendly.
2 - It will make your school projects look much more creative.
3 - It is something that creative people can do.
4 - You can make each piece of your paper unique.
Moving on...

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Naturally, we will need some materials. Here's the list:

1 - A mold and deckle. The mold is basically a screen stapled onto one side of a picture frame, it helps the paper dry. The deckle is similar to the mold because it is an identical picture frame, but it does not have a screen on it. The deckle is used to shape the paper. The size of the deckle determines how big your paper will turn out when finished.

2 - Food coloring. Food coloring gives your paper its color. Without it your paper may turn out to be grayish.

3 - Several pieces of letter-sized paper. These should be recycled, because this is a guide to making "Recycled Paper." I used a sheet of newspaper instead of several sheets of letter-sized paper. As long as you add extra food coloring to the newspaper, it should turn out fine.

4 - A small potato. The small potato gives the starch necessary to making paper. So, you could use some laundry starch instead.

5 - A flat square basin. The basin I am using is about 5 or 6 gallons in size. Make sure it is watertight too, as paper pulp will be put in it.

6 - 7 to 10 pieces of toilet paper. The toilet paper is used to help make the fibers necessary to hold the paper together. Without it, your paper will be harder to make.

7 - A blender. The blender blends all the paper pulp materials together to make the pulp. Make sure the blender is larger than 1 ¼ cups.

8 - Dryer lint. The dryer lint has the same purpose as the toilet paper, but it has more fibers to help hold the paper together. You only need a handful (when it is all fluffed out and not compacted) of this, but if you aren’t using toilet paper you can use a small bit more of lint.

9 - Newspaper. The newspaper is what you lay your paper on while it is drying.

10 - A sponge. The sponge helps dry and flatten your paper. It presses on the paper, soaking up water and flattening it.

11 - (OPTIONAL): Flowers. The flowers can be pressed into drying paper to make lovely flower prints.

12 – (OPTIONAL): Leaves. Leaves can also make lovely prints, but you can blend them up to make your paper look like it has speckles (and it does).

Step 2: Making the Paper Pulp

For making the paper pulp, you will need to use the following of your materials: potato, toilet paper, 1 ¼ cups warm water, blender, dryer lint, recycled paper, and if you want: leaves and/or food coloring.

Now tear it all up (not the blender, water can't really be torn either) into small pieces so the blender can blend it easily. Cut up the potato into pieces as well. Now hope this should be about 1 ¾ cups in the blender when pressed down (not too hard though). If it is more than 1 ¾ cups then take some out - if it is less then add a bit more of toilet paper and recycled paper.

Next you should add the warm water to the 1 ¼ cup mark on the blender (if you are using food coloring  put that in now, you may only need a few drops). Turn it on and blend it up for at least 30 seconds on the puree function. The longer you blend it, the more (in my opinion) professional the paper will look. I'm not saying that professional looks are always the best. Go your own way, have fun!

Step 3: Finishing the Paper Pulp

This is perhaps the easiest step because all you need to do is pour the paper pulp into the watertight basin, and then add several gallons of water. It doesn't matter if it is warm or cold water this time. The added water will help make your paper flatter and thinner. But be warned, because if you put too much water your paper may: be very thin, have holes, and/or hard to dry. Then give the mix a quick stir.

Step 4: Turning the Pulp Into Paper

To turn the paper pulp into just paper you will need to use your mold and deckle, the sponge, and the newspaper. You can also use leaves and flowers to press down in to the drying paper pulp.
First, take the deckle and place it on top of the side of the mold where the screen is stapled to. Look at the ASCII diagram (and the picture itself):

deckle ->   ___________
screen ->   ___________
mold ->      ___________

Hold them firmly, but steadily together. Now, slide it (the mold and deckle still held together) into the watertight basin and gently move it around to level out the paper pulp. Lift up the (now wet) paper with the mold and deckle still on it. And now you have made paper! Well, almost...

Step 5: Drying the Paper

To dry the paper, DO NOT USE A HAIR DRYER! Most of the paper I dried with a hair dryer got torn up. So, sadly that means you'll most likely have to let it sun dry for 1 or 2 days. You can also try a heat lamp or another type of heating element, but I don't recommend it because, I am not responsible for any fires or injuries or paper cuts whatsoever that you have caused!

Now, tilt the mold, deckle, and paper at an angle where most of the water drains out. Don't move onto the next step until most of the water drains out. The next part of this step is using a sponge on the paper. In order to do the sponging without a big chance of tearing up the paper in the process, you will need to drain as much water out as you can. Now firmly press the sponge against the paper. This is highly recommended. If you are doing a leaf or flower print, make sure to press extra on those for more detail. Almost done! Next, carefully remove the paper from the deckle and lay it on some newspaper to dry (if this isn't possible, let the paper dry directly on the deckle). Now let it sun dry!

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