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Summer Brain Games

Experiment: Paper Making

Instrucciones en Español

Materials

Used paper (notebook or copy paper works well)
Water
Blender
Measuring cup
Tablespoon
Spatula
Colander
Rolling pin
Cooling rack
Cheesecloth
Towels 
Food coloring

Instructions

  1. Rip one or two pieces of notebook paper or copy paper into two-inch pieces.
  2. Place the paper pieces in a blender and add two cups of water. Blend the mixture until smooth. It should be very soupy.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring. Mix with a spatula.
  4. Make a double layer of cheesecloth and place it in a colander. Place the colander in a sink or large tub, and pour the paper mixture through the cheesecloth-lined colander.  The paper pulp should remain behind in the cheesecloth and the excess water should run through. Gently press more water from the pulp using the spatula.
  5. Lift the cheesecloth and lay it flat on a towel. Use a spatula to shape the paper pulp into a square or rectangle if desired. 
  6. Place another double layer of cheesecloth on top of the paper pulp and another towel on top of that.
  7. Press down on the top towel with a rolling pin to get as much water out as possible.
  8. Remove the towels, take the paper out and gently peel the cheesecloth off both sides of the paper. 
  9. Place the paper on a cooling rack to let it dry overnight. You can try using a hair dryer on a low setting to speed up the drying process.
  10. Once the paper is completely dry, you can write, draw and even paint on your paper. 

What's Happening?

Fiber is a key part of making paper. Plant material contains the fiber cellulose, which is like the stringy bits of celery. Copy paper and other types of paper that are think and perfectly smooth are made of small but strong fibers that interlock and stay together.

When you blended paper with water and made pulp, all the fibers got broken up. When you poured the pulp onto cheesecloth and squeezed out all the extra water, the fibers interlocked again and held the paper together.  

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