Introduction: Tin Can Papermaking

Try papermaking with materials you already have at home! With this simple technique you can make your own paper to create beautiful envelopes, coasters, ornaments, and more.

Step 1: Supplies

  1. Two tin cans with a diameter of about 6 inches.
  2. Half inch wire mesh (slightly larger than the mouth of the cans).
  3. About a square foot of window screen.
  4. A can opener.
  5. A pair of wire cutters.
  6. An old blender.
  7. Two cups.
  8. A sponge.
  9. A clean rag (I used an old cotton T-shirt).
  10. A cup and a half of water.
  11. Two pieces of different colored recycled paper (roughly 8 1/2" x 11" each).
  12. A window, or piece of glass.
  13. Spatula (optional, but helpful).

Step 2: Cutting the Can

Using the can opener, cut the bottom off one of the cans.

Step 3: Fitting the Wire Mesh

Cut the half inch wire mesh into a circle, so that it fits snugly on the rim of the can with the bottom. You could also not cut the mesh and leave it sitting on top of the can, however this is a little unstable.

Step 4: Preparing the Paper

Rip about half of each sheet of paper into postage stamp sized pieces. Keep them in two separate piles, so as not to mix the colors.

Step 5: Blending the Paper

Pour 3/4 cup of water into the blender. Then submerge one pile of paper (blue) in the water and blend for about 15 to 20 seconds. After blending, pour the blended paper (pulp) into one of the cups. Repeat with the other pile (white).

Step 6: Stacking the Cans

Place the half inch wire mesh on the can with the bottom, then place the window screen on top of that, and finally place the can without the bottom on top of the screen.

Step 7: Pouring the Pulp

Simultaneously, pour both cups of pulp into the top can. This could make a mess if you are not careful. Wait until it stops dripping (about a minute) and then carefully lift off the top can, leaving the pulp on the window screen.

Step 8: Drying

Place the rag on top of the pulp. With the pulp sandwiched between the window screen and the rag, carefully flip it upside down on a hard surface so that the rag is on the bottom. Take the sponge and firmly, but carefully press down on the pulp, then ring out the sponge and press again to draw out more water. After you have sponged it a few times, remove the window screen and press the pulp (with the rag) onto a window, or piece of glass. Then carefully peel off the rag. Once the paper is dry (about a day), peel the paper off of the window. This is easier with the spatula, but can be done without it.

Step 9: Experiment!

Experiment! Try adding things to your paper pulp after blending it, such as colorful paper hole punches, bits of string, dried flower petals, fresh flower petals, and even frozen flower petals. You could also try to use different types of paper, such as newspaper or tissue paper (old wrapping paper works great). You can also experiment with how long you blend the paper. There are endless possibilities of what can be done.

Paper Contest

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Paper Contest