Photo: burke wicker
Despite what you may think, paper making technology is really quite simple, so simple that you can do it yourself right at home.
How Paper Is Made
All paper is made from pulp: a mixture of water and ground up plant or tree fibers. This pulp is poured into a thin layer, then pressed dry. As the pulp dries, the plant fibers stick together, forming a single sheet of paper. All paper is essentially dried up plant fibers, clinging together in a flat sheet.
You can make pulp at home by using the plant fibers already existing in junk mail or scrap paper. It’s safest to use blank pieces of paper, or paper that has been printed with black ink only. Some colored inks contain toxins.
To begin your project, tear up the scrap paper into small pieces. Put these in a blender that is about half full of water. You can also add lint from the dryer for extra fibers. Blend this mixture until it becomes soupy and even. You have just made paper pulp.
Pour this pulp carefully over a piece of fine, nylon screen which can be purchased at any craft store. You could also use a piece of loosely woven fabric, such as cheesecloth, which is held taut in a frame.
After the water has drained away, cover the new paper with a second screen or cheesecloth. Press this with a dry sponge to soak out as much water as possible. Finally, remove the new sheet of paper and set it out to dry.