Handmade Paper

With a few simple tools you can make handmade paper in your classroom or home.
Tear up scrap paper and soak overnight in water. Small amounts of color paper mixed with white will make pastels.
Blend one-fourth cup of soaked paper with a quart of water.
Pour the slurry into a large pan. It should be at least three inches deep.
You will need a frame. Window screening in a small window frame works well. You could also use screen attached to a wooden frame. A piece of screen can have tape put on the edges to protect the fingers. An embroidery hoop with netting stretched across it will also work.
Stir the slurry to evenly distribute the fibers.
Lower the frame into the slurry using a scooping motion.
Level the frame and raise it out of the slurry.
Rest the frame on the edge of the pan and let the excess water drain back into the slurry. After a minute or two, if you are using a hollow metal frame, tip it to drain water from the inside of the frame.
Carefully lay a clean cloth over the wet leaf.
Flip the frame onto some newspapers or old towel. Use a sponge to remove excess water from the screen side.
Squeeze out the sponge and continue blotting out excess water until the sponge does not absorb much water.
Gently lift the corner of the frame from the wet leaf and lightly tap the screen. If the wet leaf does not release easily, you may need to remove more water.
Your wet leaf is now ready to dry. Lay it on a flat surface. Or you may cover it with another cloth and iron it on both sides to speed up the drying. It may take up to a day to dry. When it is dry, peel off the cloth. You may wish to iron your paper flat, or press it under some heavy books.
Your piece of paper is now ready to make into a card, a photo background or mat, wrapping paper, or art project.
Page maintained by Franice Stirling
Last update on September 6, 2007