“Making” Paper

“The colonists had to make their own paper for important documents. Every sheet of paper was made by hand.  Paper is made from fibers such as weeds, bark, wood pulp, corn husks, rags, sawdust and wood shavings. These fibers must be mashed, melted and reduced to pulp by some method such as pounding, boiling or beating.”

– Oak Meadow 5th Grade US History and English.

1. Build a small frame that will fit into a cookie sheet. We used paint sticks and plastic mesh.  (Wood glue will not hold the mesh together – we ended up just having to make do with the plastic mesh)

2. Tear up old newspaper.  Soak it, beat it, or blend it into water.  We used 3 sheets of newspaper and about 4 cups of water.

3. Once it is mush – or slurry – empty the bowl into a pitcher so it is easier to pour.

4. Place your frame into the pan and slowly pour the slurry onto the screen.

5. You want to press out as much water as possible and spread the slurry evenly (and thinly!) over your screen.

6. Once you’ve gotten as much water out of the slurry as possible, turn the screen over onto a blotter made of dry newspaper sheets opened wide.

7. Close the newspaper over the screen and flip the whole thing over so that the screen is not on top of the slurry rather than beneath it.

8. Press to remove as much moisture as possible. (You may need to do this with two sets of blotters).  The slurry is now called wet-leaf.

9. Place the wet-leaf onto a dry blotter and carefully remove the screen.  You can use an iron to dry out the wet-leaf further.

10. Leave the wet-leaf to dry for 24-48 hours.

11. Once dry, carefully remove it from the blotter so as not to damage it.  When it is completely dry, it is ready for use.

Travis: I liked how the pulp felt.  I’m excited about the paper drying.

Emily: This was squishy but it was fun. I am excited about seeing how it turns out.

Lindsay: It was a lot of fun. When I was squishing the paper it was slimy.  I can’t wait to make it again.