You can make recycled paper out of shredded paper and junk mail. It’s pretty simple to do, and a lot of fun, too. Once you learn the basics of how to make recycled paper, you’ll enjoy getting creative with the process.
The finished product will be somewhat coarse and thick with uneven edges, but you can definitely write on it or use it for scrapbooking. This is a great way to make use of old junk mail or magazines. You can use this handcrafted paper for thank you notes, homemade birthday cards, or a journal. You can also make really beautiful designs with this – for example, make two sets of pulp, one whitish and another darker, and swirl the darker around in the lighter before pressing.
As you experiment, you’ll find that glossy papers and pulpy papers yield different textures. Color is somewhat difficult to predict, as the dyes in the original pages stay in, but it’s hard to guess how one dye will affect the other. This is part of the fun, though. Every piece you make will be pretty.
This is definitely a great project for kids. Young kids may need help with the blender, but pre-teens and up will be able to do this by themselves.
How to Make Recycled Paper
You can buy a paper making kits that contain everything you need. This is how I got started, and it does make things easier. The kit I linked here comes with a wooden frame with a screen, and that makes it very easy to make your pages square and dry them quickly.
- Shred some paper. This is a perfect way to use up any shredded paper you have. I don’t know about you, but I shred anything with my name and address on it that I’m not filing to prevent identity theft.
- Put the shredded pieces in the blender with some water and blend until it’s pulpy. This is a trial and error process, depending on the texture of paper used.
- Spoon the pulp over a flat surface as thinly as possible. An old window screen is idea. Now is the time to add any decorations to it, such as pressing a dried leaf into a corner.
- Dry the paper as much as possible. Press a towel against it, or press something porous like a screen over it to squeeze out the water.
- Dry it in the sun or with a hair dryer, or bake it in the oven for a few minutes.