How to Make Paper Out of Lint




Have you ever wondered what you can do with all that dryer lint that accumulates after you do your laundry?

In this Instructable I am going to show you how you can use lint to make paper.

Materials you will need:
Warm water
Wood frames (you can use two wood picture frames) or cardboard
Window screening
Scissors to cut the screening
Staple gun or hammer and nails

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Step 1: First Soak the Lint

The first step is to soak the lint in warm water for at least 30 minutes. This helps the lint to break down so that it's easier to blend during the next step. You should soak the lint in warm water until it becomes saturated and soft, the longer the better. If you have the time then soak the lint over night. You can also add other ingredients to be soaked in the water like shredded paper or leaves. Both paper and leaves will give the lint paper more body in the end.

Step 2: Make the Deckle and the Mold

While the lint is soaking you can make the deckle and the mold, integral parts of paper making. The mold is a frame with screening (like window screening) in the center that is used to catch the lint. The deckle is a frame without any screening. It is placed on top of the mold and gives the paper smooth edges.

Both should be the same size.

The deckle and the mold are used together: the mold on the bottom (screen facing up) and the deckle on top.

You can choose to make the frames with old wood pictures frames, or even cardboard covered in duct tape (so that it is water proof.)

Make sure the screening is pulled tightly across the frame.

To add the screening to the mold, use a staple gun or nails.

Step 3: Blending the Lint

The next step is to liquefy the lint in a blender.

Scoop one cup of lint and put it in the blender, then add water to fill the rest of the blender until it is close to the top.

There should be more water than lint in the blender. Blend until it is smooth and mushy.

Step 4: Pour the Mush in a Tub

After the lint is blended to a fine mush, pour it into a tub. I used my kitchen sink. You can also use baby bathtubs, large pans or buckets. Just keep in mind that the mold and the deckle will need to be able to fit in whatever you choose to use as your tub.

Keep blending and pouring mush into the tub until there are a few inches of mush.

Then it is time to use the deckle and the mold. Place them into the water with the mold on the bottom (screen side up) and the deckle on top.

Step 5: Sifting

Sift the mold and the deckle in the water until enough lint has been evenly collected onto the screening.

Remove the mold and the deckle from the water and let it drip for a few seconds. Then remove the deckle.

Step 6: Off the Mold and Onto the Fabric

Now place the mold face down onto a piece of fabric so that the lint is on the fabric.

Use a sponge to press the lint onto the fabric and to soak up excess water.

Then slowly lift the mold off of the fabric so that the lint is left.

Step 7: Last Step

If you are making multiple pieces of paper, then place another piece of fabric on top of the lint and repeat the process. Once you are finished you can add books on top of the stack of fabric to flatten out the paper and press out the water.

After several hours (mine took about 6 hours indoors) remove the books and allow the lint to completely dry.

Once the lint is dry, you have your very own Lint Paper!



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    32 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    If you lay a sheet of netting or other textured surface under the paper and then iron the top surface of the paper, you will get an embossed paper with a glossy side. That's basically how they do it in the paper mills when they make envelope paper.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 months ago

    I'm not sure I'm reading this correctly. This is my first time so I wanna understand everyone idea's and get the best results for my task. The lint is the first layer (in the molding on the screen. So the screen is actually first) then you place a piece of paper over it. Than iron the paper? I guess my next question is. What temp for the iron do you use and am i just touching it lightly and very quick? or do you press like you press ironing a shirt? Sorry if this does make any sense... :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is pretty cool. How sturdy is the finished product? Could you write on it with a pen? Or would you have to add quite a bit of shredded paper to manage that?

    6 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, thanks for the comment. My paper actually ended up being a lot sturdier than I expected it would be. I can definitely write on it. I did add some shredded paper, but only about two sheets- I used mostly lint. One thing that might have helped to make it sturdier was the fact that I have pets, so my lint had a lot of dog hair in it. :) Another thing I meant to mention in my Instructable that you might find valuable is that if you would like the end product to be cleaner or prettier, you can add some bleach in the blender so that your paper is white.


    I know that hemp paper can be bleached with ozone (as opposed to conventional dead-tree paper that they dye with chlorine, the source of the nasty rotten egg smell near papermills), maybe that could work here as well.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes. It is an unstable molecule, and it will break down everything that reacts to an Oxygen ion. Basically everything organic. Or metal.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Ozone is pure oxygen, which, like all things, is poisonous in amounts more than the body can handle, which in this case isn't very much :)


    And...adding smog to your paper will turn it white? How odd. You could try pumping O3 in from a standard spa ozonator if you really want, but I think the "art paper" look might be a little cheaper...


    7 years ago on Step 7

    Instead of squishing the water out with books, I just rolled it out with a rolling pin between a few towels. That worked well and fairly quickly and then I set the sheets of paper in the sun on a paper bag to dry. They stayed pretty flat that way. How were you able to get yours such a light colour? I bleached the crap out of my lint and still it is that nasty red/grey. If you have any tips on that please let me know!!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    If you want lighter paper, try sorting your laundry before it goes to the dryer and only dry white or single color items per load.. then store and mix the different lint colors separately to get different colored paper.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    cool instructable, this is a great way of making rag paper, which tends to be really strong and durable compared to paper made with just wood pulp.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    First time I've tried this, but I knew a guy who used to make REALLY cool paper. I didn't have any bleach to lighten it, so I used a bit of RIT fabric dye to the soak. Hopefully come out with some pretty purple paper! I'll let everyone know how it goes :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, I knew there was a reason to save dryer lint!


    8 years ago on Step 7

    I'd bet you could make the paper stronger and crisper by adding a bit of gelatinized cornstarch to it. Take 1 cup of water, mix in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, and microwave it until it turns clear; add to slurry as necessary (as determined by experimentation) and you've got yourself some nicely starched paper.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    They did this in the old days except they used cotton pulp. The resulting "stuff" was called Slurry ;)