This tutorial should enable anyone interested to make paper at home from recycled materials and put them to good, green use.
“Recycle paper, save a tree” is motto that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. It is used to raise awareness and stimulate more people to care and protect the environment. Taking our old newspapers to the recycling paper container is surely a great start, but it is not the only thing we can do.
We would like to show you how easy it is to use simple tools for making the piece of paper and then recycle it over and over.
Now, what do we need?
- Two picture frames of the same size
- Fiber glass or a mesh, such as the ones you place on windows to keep mosquitos away in summer.
- Duct tape (any one will do)
- Nails, a stapler and a hammer
- Tub, which can fit both frames horizontally
- Blender or a pestle to mash the paper
- An old blanket that you are willing to sacrifice- could be either woolen, acrylic or made from polyester
- A spray bottle and a sponge
- Something heavy to press the paper- a pile of books will do the job perfectly well
- And of course- something to cover the surfaces, because it will not be the cleanest thing you have ever done.
And now, let’s do this:
1. Modify the frames so they are suitable for the purpose
Place the frame onto a flat surface with the smooth side facing up. Then place a piece of the mesh or fiberglass on top of the frame, making sure that its size matches the one of the picture frame. Use the nails and staples to pin it straight onto the wood, avoiding wrinkles.
Remove excess mesh from the side of the frame and use the duct tape to cover the sides of the frame. Do this for only one of the frames and leave the other one unnetted. Cut out a piece of the blanket so that it can cover the entire frame and then proceed to shredding the paper that you will recycle and reuse.
2. Making the paper pulp from recycled paper
For this step, you need to put the shredded paper and some water in a blender, or mash it using a pestle. If you could leave the paper to soak over night, it will break down easier, however it is not a necessary par of the procedure. Stop blending when the consistency is smooth and there are no clumps of paper. Place the mix into a large tub and add enough water to cover the mold and deckle.
3. Turn the recycled pulp back into paper
Place the piece of blanket that you cut out on a flat surface and spray it with water, so that the transfer of the paper pulp onto the blanket is easier.
Place the frames inside the tub. The mold should go at the bottom, and the netted side of the frame should be facing up. Then place the unnetted frame on top. Check if the mixture is evenly distributed, by rocking the frames, and when the water is homogeneous, lift both frames up. The pulp should be now stuck onto the mold.
Let all excess water drip for a few seconds and remove the unneted frame.
4. Attach the frames to the blanket
Transfer the mold onto the blanket, with the pulp side facing down.
Using a sponge, press it down, so that the water is absorbed by the blanket.
Once this is all done, lift the mold up. The paper pulp should be stuck to the blanket, while the frame is perfectly suitable to be used again.
5. Repeat the process to make more paper
Take another piece of blanket and place it over the one that was just used. Place the heavy pile of books on top, so that you can remove as much water as possible.
If you want to make more paper, you might have to add more pulp to the tub, but the important thing here is that you can just pile all pieces of paper on top of each other and then place the heavy books on top. In a few hours you can remove the blankets, lay the pieces of paper onto the blankets and leave them to dry completely for about a day.
And voila, you just made yourself a brand new notebook from unwanted and old newspapers.