Surprisingly easy, the papermaking process takes just minutes and can be fun for kids, too. Then form your paper into all kinds of paper crafts for your home or for gift giving.
Place a lampshade on its side on top of dry handmade paper. Roll the shade along the paper, tracing the top and bottom during one full rotation. Cut out the paper and use fabric glue to secure it to the shade. Glue on trim of your choice.
TIP: Recycle newspaper and discarded mail as ingredients in your paper, but avoid glossy paper; dull finishes produce a better result. (Papermaking instructions start on slide 7.)
Fold dried handmade paper to accommodate flatware and top it with a vellum label. Topstitch the sides to form a pocket.
TIP: Use embroidery hoops to craft a papermaking mold, stapling nylon screen from a home improvement store to the outside hoop. Use the inside hoop as a deckle. (Papermaking instructions start on slide 7.)
Cut dried handmade paper to desired folder sizes. Fold vertical sides of each folder accordion-style to form gussets. Attach labels, then glue folders inside a large picture frame. (Papermaking instructions start on slide 7.)
Cut dried handmade paper to fit inside a clear switchplate. Glue desired flowers and leaves to the paper, and sandwich the paper between the top and back plates.
TIP: To help keep some inks from bleeding, add two teaspoons of sizing (from crafts stores), glue, or liquid starch after blending the paper ingredients. (Papermaking instructions start on slide 7.)
Paper (we used white copy paper and construction paper)
Dried flowers and herbs (optional)
Mold (a wooden frame with a screen on one side). Deckle and mold kits are available at crafts stores.
Deckle (a wooden frame without a screen)
Nylon screen the size of the mold
Cotton tea towels
Gather 1-1/2 times as much paper as the desired finished sheet size. Tear paper into 1-inch pieces.
Place half the pieces into the blender. Cover with 6 inches of water; blend.
Add the remaining paper and blend until the pulp is soft.
If you'd like, add dried flowers and herbs; this will give your paper a nice fragrance. Blend again.
Place the mold screen side up in a tub filled with 3 inches of water. Top the mold with the deckle and hold it down so the water rises to about 1 inch from the top. Pour the pulp into the deckle, using your free hand to evenly distribute the pulp over the screen.
Pick up the deckle and mold, tilting gently to allow excess water to drain. Remove the deckle so you're left with a layer of wet pulp on top of the mold screen. Place the unattached screen over the pulp.
Press a moist sponge over the screen to remove excess water. Squeeze the sponge and repeat as needed. Turn the mold over onto a damp tea towel and press the sponge on the mold screen until you're able to lift the mold off the sheet of pulp.
Flip the screen and pulp over on another tea towel and roll over the screen with a rolling pin, transferring the sheet of pulp to the towel. Carefully peel the screen from the pulp. Top the pulp with another tea towel and roll until it is nearly dry. Place the pulp sheet between two blotters, top with a heavy book, and let dry.