When you run out of paper, all you have to do is go to your local art supply store to find everything you need from watercolor paper to sketching paper and more. But mass-produced paper has a dull, sterile quality to it that can detract from the appearance and the aesthetics of your artwork. If you want to take your artwork to the next level, consider making your own paper!
Ten Simple Steps to Make Your Own Paper
Making your own paper is not a quick process, but it can be very satisfying once you finally see the results. To learn how to make your own paper, follow the ten steps below:
1. Gather one or more types of paper to use in making your own paper from recycled materials (ex: newspaper, magazines, toilet paper, paper bags, computer paper, construction paper, napkins, etc.)
2. Tear the paper into small pieces no larger than one inch and place them all in a blender, filling it about halfway full. Save the extra pieces for another batch (you’ll be making 3).
3. Fill the blender to the maximum fill line with warm water then blend on low speed, working your way up to high speed until you have a blended pulp – about 30 to 45 seconds.
4. Prepare a paper-making mold, or make one of your own by stretching a piece of window or door screen over a wooden frame and stapling it in place.
5. Fill a large plastic tub halfway with warm water then stir in 3 blenders full of paper pulp – stir in two teaspoons of liquid starch, if desired, to help prevent ink from soaking into the paper.
6. Lower the mold into the tub until it is submerged then make sure it is level – wiggle it around as needed to make sure that the pulp covering the screen is even.
7. Remove the mold, holding it just over the surface of the water and letting the excess moisture drain out – when it stops dripping, carefully set it on a square piece of fabric.
8. Use a sponge to remove as much excess moisture as possible then carefully lift the mold off the fabric, leaving the paper in place (if it sticks, there is still too much water in it).
9. Repeat the process until you’ve used all of your pulp, stacking the fabric squares on top of each other, covering the top with an extra piece of fabric.
10. Press the stack to remove as much moisture as possible then separate the sheets and hang them up to dry. When dry, peel the paper off the fabric sheets and use as desired.
Whether you are an artist or a crafter, making your own paper can be a fun and challenging project. The more you practice your new skills, the better you will get and you may be surprised by what you can create! So, give homemade paper a try today – you will love it.