Museum of Science and Industry

Make Recycled Paper

Step 1 of 9:

Here's the Materials You'll Need:

White and colored used office paper
Embroidery hoops (or make a frame yourself)
Window screen or nylons
Large container or tub
Plate or cookie sheet
Decorative items such as glitter, dried flowers or pictures (optional)

Step 2 of 9:

Cut the screen into a piece large enough to fit into the embroidery hoop with a quarter-inch overhang. Cut another piece of screen the same size – this will be used for blotting.

Step 3 of 9:

Secure a piece of screen in an embroidery hoop by sandwiching it between the two hoops and tightening the screw. Trim the screen so about an inch hangs over the edge of the hoop. This is your paper-making mold. You will need one mold for each piece of recycled paper you want to make.

Step 4 of 9:

Tear three sheets of white paper and one sheet of colored paper into one-inch pieces and place in a blender. Fill the blender halfway with warm water. Blend to create a pulpy mixture called slurry.

Key Terms Defined

A pulpy mixture of paper pieces and water

Step 5 of 9:

Pour the slurry into the large container. Add extra water if needed so the water is a few inches deep.

Key Terms Defined

A pulpy mixture of paper pieces and water

Step 6 of 9:

Place the mold into the slurry. Use your hands to scoop the pulpy slurry over the mold so the entire screen is covered. Gently shake the frame back and forth so the pulpy paper fibers are collected on the screen. Slowly lift the mold from the tub. 

Step 7 of 9:

Place the mold on the tray and cover with the extra piece of screen. Gently press the sponge on the blotting screen to remove excess water from the paper. Squeeze the sponge back into the slurry container. Continue blotting until most of the water is removed.

Step 8 of 9:

Place the mold on a plate or cookie sheet in an area where it can be left to dry for 24 hours. Once the paper is dry, unscrew the embroidery hoop and remove the new paper.

Step 9 of 9:

Make several slurries using different colors of paper. What happens when you mix two or more colors of paper together? You can also add items to the slurry, such as dried flowers, glitter, or pictures cut out from newspapers. Make your own frame for the paper-making mold by cutting out cardboard or a sturdy paper plate. Use frames in different shapes and sizes to make different shapes of recycled paper.

Key Terms Defined

A pulpy mixture of paper pieces and water

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