AUSTIN ASKS: How do you make paper?

Dear Austin,

Your question about making paper came to me and I am happy to share this creative artistic way to recycle paper scraps into textured paper. There are many many ways to use the paper that you make and making paper is so fun!

An adult or teen could help you gather materials. I hope you will try it.

To make paper, you will need:

● One piece of paper, or many small pieces of paper

● 2 tablespoons of liquid starch

● A flat strainer (called a deckle)

● A blender

● A small tub (a deep rectangle pan will work)

● A sponge

● A cloth

● An iron

Start by finding some computer paper, newspaper or colored paper that you don’t want and ripping a bunch it into tiny, tiny shreds. You will use these shreds to make paper ‘pulp,’ which is kind of like the pulp in your orange juice.

To make the pulp, rip up about one full sheet of paper and put it in a blender with four cups of water. (You should have an adult help you with this) Let it soak for 10 minutes and then blend it together in short spurts no longer than 30 seconds until it starts to mix together and get clumpy.

Add 2 tablespoons of liquid starch and pour it into the tub or pan until the pulp is at least 4 inches deep, you might have to add water.

Dip your flat strainer into the tub so there is a thin layer of pulp on the strainer. Let the water drain out of it and flip it over and lay it on a cloth on a flat surface, so the paper is touching the cloth. Use a dry sponge through the screen to remove as much water as possible. Remove the strainer and cover the paper with another cloth or two. Iron the cloth until the paper is dry and formed.

Place the finished paper under something heavy and flat like a brick to keep it from curling.

When it is finished, you can use it for many things! I’ve used handmade paper into a picture frame, made it into a bowl by putting Vaseline inside a paper cup, shaping it and letting it dry, made a bookmark and even made cards and pictures.

Austin, it was a pleasure to share an answer to your question. You and any other readers may give me a call at (231) 743-2739 if you wish to share your experiences with paper or have any questions.

Bonnie Neuman Retired Evart Teacher

Bonnie Neuman is a creative, retired teacher from Evart. She began teaching in 1957 and soon became the art teacher for Evart Elementary, Middle and High schools. After 30 years, she retired and helped found the Osceola League for Arts and Humanities. She learned to make paper on Sanibel Island one winter. She has demonstrated paper-making at a summer musical at the Evart Depot representing OLAH and also at the National Night Out in August, sponsored by the Evart General Federation of Women’s Clubs. At each, visitors made a piece of paper to take with them.