AYL: Making Paper
by Karina Le | published Mar. 3rd, 2022
Paper makes up about 70 percent of the U.S.’s office waste. To combat that, here are some steps to making your own paper from used ones!
LARGE CONTAINER TO HOLD WATER (PLASTIC STORAGE BOX RECOMMENDED)
SPONGE (ALT: CLEANING CLOTH, TOWEL, ANYTHING THAT CAN SOAK UP MOISTURE)
BLENDER, POTATO MASHER OR PESTLE AND MORTAR (CAUTION: DO NOT USE BLENDER FOR FOOD AFTERWARDS; DEVOTE BLENDER ONLY FOR PAPER)
COUCHING/CLOTH SHEETS (OLD TABLECLOTHS, BEDSHEETS, T-SHIRTS, ETC.)
MOLD AND DECKLE
Note: This guide assumes you will be using a blender, a sponge and a mold and decker for this guide. If you are using alternative tools, the steps are the same, but will require adjustments when needed.
Step 1: Prep your paper. Take any used paper and rip it into small pieces. Note: stronger paper makes stronger recycled paper.
Step 2: Put the paper into the container and pour water until it completely covers the paper. Leave for at least 12 hours. Note: leaving it for longer will allow the paper to soften, recommended to leave for more than 12 hours if you want to use an alternative tool to a blender, such as a potato masher.
Step 3: Make the pulp! Add about two handfuls of soaked paper into your blender before pouring water into it. Blend until no hard pieces are left within the pulp.
Step 3.5: Place pulp into separate container and continue to blend more pulp from paper until satisfied.
Step 4: Put water into another container, filling it to the halfway mark of the container. Take a handful of pulp and stir it into the water. Keep stirring until no large chunks are found.
Step 5: Grabbing your mold and deckle, align deckle onto the mold. Stir water with pulp until pulp is floating. Then, dip mold and deckle into the water. Move the mold and deckle with a shaking motion, preferably at the bottom of the container, before lifting it from the water. Moving the frame a bit to spread the pulp evenly is recommended.
Step 6: Remove deckle carefully from the mold. You can lay the mold on one arm while detaching the decker. Allow a moment for remaining water to drip out.
Step 7: Putting aside your mold, lay out a cloth sheet. Grabbing the mold, place it pulp-side down onto the sheet. Press down firmly. Use sponge to soak up excess water across the paper.
Step 8: Slowly lift up mold; we recommend pressing down on the mold before lifting it up, with one hand on the cloth. Place cloth with paper onto a flat surface where it can dry. Place them to the side until you are satisfied with the amount of paper you make.
Step 9: Start drying! You can use clothespin on a drying rack, but this can easily damage the paper, but will be dry overnight. You can also set the paper onto a table in the sun but note the alternative will take longer.
Step 10: Once dry, remove the paper from cloth using your index finger to open a gap between cloth and paper. Once edge is made, you can lift paper off! If you do not edge the paper, there might be a chance that the paper would rip, but if it is dry, that will be unlikely.
Ritchie looks happy with his new stack of paper! What will he make next?