Using this technique to make new paper from old is ideal for creating decorative paper – perfect for gorgeous bookmarks, cards, envelopes and gift tags.
Make the mould and frame Before you begin, you will need to make a paper mould and a frame: the mould is covered with netting. The size we made will give you an A4 sheet of paper.
You will need
• pine: four 330 x 20 x 20mm pieces (sides) and four 210 x 20 x 20mm pieces (top and bottom)
• waterproof wood glue
• curtain netting
• eight L-shaped frame braces with screws
• electric screwdriver
• staple gun
1 First make the mould section. Use two 330mm and two 210mm pieces of pine to form a rectangle, with the two short pieces fitted inside the two long pieces.
2 Use waterproof wood glue to stick the pine pieces together, then screw an l-shaped frame brace in place at each corner to strengthen. Wipe off any glue that seeps out with a damp cloth.
3 Cut a piece of netting to fit the mould, allowing some extra all around to fold over the sides and to staple to the top.
4 Place the mould in position on the netting, with the frame braces facing downwards. Pull the netting tight as you fold it over the mould, then staple it to the top of the mould using a staple gun. make sure there are no folds in the netting before you staple it. cut away any excess netting.
5 Make the frame in the same way as the mould, but do not cover it with netting. You are now ready to make paper. Note the paper we are making is not really for writing on. Use it for gift tags, envelopes, cards and so on.
Variations for basic paper
Rose paper Dried rose petals were added to make the rose paper. Pulp plain white paper, brown paper and newspaper. tear the rose petals as fine as you want (we left ours reasonably coarse) and then add them to the pulp.
Leaf paper Choose paper with natural colours. we used unprinted newspaper and cream-coloured paper. Pulp and then add finely chopped, dried leaves. submerge the mould and frame into the pulp, lift up and scatter dried herbs over the pulp. gently press the herbs into the pulp, then place the linoleum on top to press out the water.
Seed paper Let your children make paper that will germinate later – it’s great fun. make the paper, then sprinkle seeds over the pulp layer and leave it in the sun to dry (this will help to stop the seeds germinating at this stage). if you dampen the paper later – for example, on cottonwool on a windowsill – the seeds will germinate.
Basic method for making paper
You will need
• mould and frame
• recycled paper, such as plain white paper, brown paper, unprinted newspaper, and so on
• rubber linoleum, as large as the inside of the frame
• pieces of white felt larger than the frame
• large plastic basin
• paper towels
• hand blender
Remember The colour of the ink will influence the appearance of your paper. Soak different types of paper separately and then mix them together later, if you prefer.
1 We used mainly plain white paper, brown paper and unprinted newspaper, but you can also use other paper, such as giftwrap or printed newspaper. Cut your paper into small pieces and leave to soak in a basin of water for 24 hours. The basin must be big enough for your mould to fit into it with ease.
2 Use the hand blender to pulp the paper in the basin in which it has been soaking. Remember, the finer you make it, the finer the texture of your paper will be. In the same way, the thickness of the pulp will determine the thickness of the paper – add more water if you think it is too thick and more pulp if it is too thin.
3 Take the frame and place it with the frame braces facing upwards on top of the mould. The netting must face upwards and the frame braces of the mould downwards, as in the photograph.
4 Stir the pulp in the water in the basin so that it is evenly distributed. Grip the frame and the mould firmly together and insert them with a rolling movement (not straight down) into the basin.
5 Lift the mould and frame out of the water and shake gently backwards and forwards. Check that an even layer of pulp is lying inside the frame and that it is the correct thickness. If not, toss the pulp back into the basin, stir again and repeat the process.
6 Once you are satisfied with the result, lift the mould and frame and hold them up over the basin so most of the water can drain out.
7 Balance the mould on the edge of the basin and place the sheet of rubber linoleum onto the pulp inside the frame. Press your hands over the linoleum to get more water out of the pulp.
8 Carefully remove the frame from the mould and place it to one side. Turn the mould over, with the linoleum still in place, onto a piece of white felt so that the linoleum is at the bottom. Use paper towels to press more water from the pulp.
9 Lift the mould carefully off the layer of pulp – the drier the pulp, the more easily it will come away from the netting.
10 Turn the linoleum and pulp over onto another piece of white felt and carefully roll the linoleum off the pulp.
11 Leave the paper on the felt to dry completely before you handle it.