Saturday, April 23, 2011

Making Paper

Oh, I've wanted to make paper for the longest time! I bought a book like fifteen plus years ago, and had never done it.

What a lovely process.

Yesterday Maddie and I went through her paper box, and tore up copy paper that had been drawn on (both sides), and a few coloring book pages that were in there, as well.

We put our bits in a five gallon bucket, and set it in the bathtub, and filled it maybe a third of the way with hot water.

We let the paper soak for three or four hours,

then we dumped paper and water into our blender, blending it into tiny bits.

When the blender got stuck, we just added more water.

As the batches finished blending, we poured each one into a large , shallow box.

When all of the paper that we had soaked had been pureed, we stirred it up with our hands.

I dipped our smallest screen into the plastic box, and then swished the fibers over the screen.

When it looked like it was full, we lifted the screen straight up, and set it on the edge of the box to drip.

After a couple of minutes, I took a towel, and blotted and rubbed the water off of the bottom - the screen side.

Then we turned the screen over onto pieces of felt.

Our 'papers' didn't come off automatically, so I started the edges, and lifted the screen as I went along, and the weight of the fibers eventually started pulling itself off of the screen.
I had to watch for tears, and use my fingers sometimes to pull it off a little.

We placed cloths over the paper, and rolled over it with a rolling pin; to get rid of excess water, as well as to further bind the fibers.

We started with the plain fiber solution for the first piece - which was done yesterday, and left overnight on the screen to dry a little. (It just didn't look stable enough to try to take off the screen, and I had no experience making paper, so I left it until this morning.)

This morning I tried making one with tiny flowers and blossoms, it turned out lovely.

We colored some by spraying them with a watered-down watercolor solution.

Maddie added flower petals to hers.

For my last one, I wanted more plant fibers in it, so I tossed some dandelion heads into my blender with water to mix them up, then poured it into the large box.

We were impatient to see how our papers would turn out today (and it's pretty cold and dark outside) so we put the pages (in turn) on cookie sheets and put them in the over on the lowest setting (170 f) and cracked the door and let them sit for just a few minutes.

We took them out of the oven and placed them between heavy books to flatten them nicely.

plain, dandelion, Maddie's pink. golden with dandelions, lavender, peach, and plain white with blossoms and flowers.

They are beautiful.
We've made seven sheets, and I'm crazy about every one of them.

Sending this one to Saturday's Artist for April 23.... and Playing at Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions for July 8, 2011.


  1. Oh they're lovely! I was hoping you'd do a how-to post after seeing that you'd made some. I don't have a screen, I wonder if one can be homemade easily enough? Off to google (or phone my mum, I'm sure she probably still has a screen lurking around from the 70s when she used to make it lol). I have quite a bit of tempura paint powder, so I reckon that would sprinkle over quite nicely too.

  2. They ARE beautiful. Very inspiring. :)

  3. I've been wanting to do this forever too - since highschool - oh yes, that's a good 20 years. Time I get on it. Yours look LOVELY. xo

  4. OH these are wonderful!! I have always wanted to do this too and now you have given me some extra inspiration :).

  5. We love to make paper! It really is fun to see what the different papers will end up looking like. If you use news paper, or magazines for instance, you might find letters randomly throughout your new paper. If you can get your hands on flyers in fun colors, you papers will be pretty exciting. I thought I had more posts on my blog about paper, but I don't. Might have to fix that this year.

    We like to make our paper pretty thick. Makes for great cards or notebook covers.

    Can't wait to see more!

  6. Oh wow! This looks like fun... I would love to do this project with my daughter... Thanks for the inspiration!! :) Your papers are beautiful...

  7. Those look fantastic. Try seeds next time for plantable paper :)

  8. Yeah, we thought about it today, but we'll do it some time! :)

  9. They are so beautiful, Stephanie. I, too, have been meaning to make paper for years, but just have never gotten around to it. Oh, you have inspired me to try. So, so lovely!

  10. These came out great. Yeah for making beautiful flowery paper!

  11. They are gorgeous! We will have to add this to our list of things to do! Maybe when the little little is a wee bit older! Truly, they are gorgeous Stephanie! You and Maddie must be over the moon!

  12. The paper came out fantastic. Such an array of colours! I love the white with the petals. It has been some months since we made paper. Last we made was nettle paper. A good time to make some more. You guys have inspired me to suggest we do another batch.
    Happy weekend.

  13. This is beautiful, Stephanie! I love love love to make paper—we haven't done it in years, so now I'm re-inspired.

    When we did it last, I cut up some of my stories and blended them, so we ended up with paper made from my own words—they carried my creative energy inside them and that felt so special. I love the choices you all made to make your paper your very own, too. How lovely every sheet is! Thanks so much for posting this.

  14. I love this! It's so inspiring! The papers are beautiful.

  15. It came out beautiful!! Love it:)

  16. We tried to make paper not so long ago, and it didn't really work out, think I made it too thick.

    So, I am going to try your way, see if I can get it right this time!

    It looks so pretty, and would make lovely note cards.

  17. Just exquisite. Seeing this brings back happy memories of making paper in my own childhood. Thank you for sharing :)


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!