The Day Before:
The first step in making paper is to cut up your scrap paper into little pieces about the size of a nickel or smaller. Shredded paper is perfect for this! You will put the paper scraps into a bowl or container and fill it with water so that the paper is fully covered. You will soak this overnight (or all day if you soak it in the morning and want to make paper in the afternoon/evening).
When the paper is finished soaking, it’s time for the fun to begin! You will need a paper making screen, a container that fits the screen, a blender (I use a magic bullet), and some plastic wrap.
Here is how I made my screens:
I bought a few canvases from Michaels and took the canvas off the frames. I cut a piece of screen to fit the frame. Then I took a staple gun and stapled the screen tightly onto the frame. That’s it!
Now For the Paper Making!
First, you will fill the blender with about 1/3 paper scraps and 2/3 water (best to err on the side of having too much water rather than too much paper). If you use colored paper, you could use the water from soaking the paper to add more color.
Blend the paper scraps until it becomes a thin pulp, it should be watery.
Since I use the magic bullet, I like to pour that pulp into a separate container and blend a couple more batches, but you can just leave it in the blender if that works for you.
I added flower petals to mine, but this step is totally optional. It can be fun to think of other creative elements to add into the mix, but really all you need is the paper pulp.
Next, place the screen in the container and pour the pulp over the screen, trying to form the shape of the paper you would like.
Keep pouring to fill in any empty spots. You could use a spatula to straighten out the edges. Once you think you have enough pulp on the screen, take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it over the pulp. Use your hands to gently press the pulp. You want to remove excess water and spread the surface as much as you can without creating gaps.
When you are satisfied that your paper is spread thinly enough, move the screen to a towel. Make sure the screen is touching the towel and press the paper to continue removing moisture.
Now you just need to wait for it to dry! I usually leave my paper on the screen to dry so it is easy to pop off. I have found that it tends to stick to a cookie sheet if you let it dry there, but you could try laying wax paper down. Sometimes, when I need the screen to make more, I flip the paper off onto a flat towel.
Eco tip: Let your piece of plastic wrap dry and save it for the next time you make paper! No use wasting plastic while trying to reduce paper waste!
While you wait for it to dry, why not make your own glue too?