Paper making

Why not make your own paper? You will need scrap paper, water, a basin, an electric blender or your own pulping device, starch (if you are going to write on the paper with felt tip pen), a few lengths of small-gauge timber, and a small piece of cheesecloth (or muslin cloth).

The first step is making the mould. You will need timber (flat picture framing timber is ideal). Two identical moulds/frames need to be made. These should be made in the same way one would make a picture frame. We suggest that, at least initially, you make a frame with the inside measurements of a normal A4 sheet of paper (210mm x 300mm approx.)

Next, take one of the frames and stretch cheesecloth (also known as mutton cloth) across it. Pull the cloth tightly over the frame and secure it firmly to the other side of the frame using staples or tacks. Do this to one of the two frames only. Once your moulds have been completed you are ready to begin.

To make a pulp collect a quantity of scrap paper. Avoid using newsprint -the ink runs – or thick glossy paper which does not pulp well.

Tear up the paper into small pieces about 40mm square. Throw these into a blender and add water. Keep adding water and paper pieces until the mixture forms a paste. Tip it into an open basin (a roasting dish is ideal).

Next, place the covered frame on a flat surface, with the cheesecloth-covered side face up. Now place the uncovered frame on top of the other frame. Holding the two frames firmly together, dip them into the slurry mixture so that the pulp forms a thin layer over the cheesecloth. Keeping the frames in this position, place them to one side to drain.

While they are draining, place a towel on a flat surface and on this place a kitchen wipe. When most of the water has dripped away from the frames, take away the top frame and flip the bottom frame over so that the pulp comes away from the cloth and onto the kitchen wipe. Place another kitchen wipe on top of this and repeat the process until up to six layers of paper have been built up, each separated by a kitchen wipe.

To squeeze out the excess water, place a breadboard on top of the stack and compress it. Standing on it will do the trick. Next peel away the stack and leave the paper in the air to dry.

There you go; it’s as simple as that. Instead of using waste paper, most organic material (like rose petals or green waste) can be turned into paper.