With 85 million tons of paper waste produced per year, and 1 billion trees being destroyed for the paper industry, reusing paper is a great way to save resources. With a few easy steps, used paper can have another life. While there are many techniques and processes used for paper making, most have these simple steps.
A few items are needed to make recycled paper. Start by collecting any used paper in your possession. This can even include pages with images or ink markings on them. A fancy tool called a mold and deckle can be used, but can be substituted with picture frames and window screening. The mesh, or any sort of screening, is used to filter out water from the paper pulp. A blender, paper towels, and a tub of water are also needed.
First, begin ripping the paper into smaller pieces—this will make for easy pulp-making later. Fill the tub with water, and place all of the shredded paper in the container to soak until it reaches a crumbly and soggy consistency. Once it reaches this stage, transfer the paper mush to a blender. Once the paper has been blended to a pulp, the mold and deckle/screen come into play. Pour the shredded pulp back into the water container, and stir it around. Hold the strainer, and move it around in the mixture of shredded paper and water. Once there’s enough pulp caught in the screen, raise it from the water and transfer it onto a paper towel. Put another screen over the top of the newly formed paper (making the paper in a sandwich of screens) and dab it with a paper towel to remove excess water. Remove the top screen, and flip over the mold and deckle to remove the paper from the frame. Additionally, an optional step would be to sandwich the paper in between two paper towels and roll the paper flat, in order to ensure the paper dries flat.
After allowing the paper to fully dry for many hours, the paper will be ready to use. DIY paper is textured, and is off-white with flecks of color from previous pen marks. You now have entirely unique stationary! To have even more fun, add food coloring to the pulp mixture in the bender to make different colored paper. Even items such as small flowers can be integrated into the pulp, and will dry in the paper. This paper can be written on, printed on, or drawn on! Do your part and have a little fun—homemade paper is for everyone!