Did you know that you can make paper yourself? For many years paper was made by hand and therefore was very expensive. People treated it with great care, and never threw it away. They always saved it after they used it, and made new paper from it. Paper can be made from wood, cotton rags, linen fabric, grass, and many other natural products. It can also be made from old newspaper. Here’s how.
- Pulp – small pieces of paper mushed up with water
- Set up: 45 min
- Activity: 24 -48 hours
You will need:
- Two and-a-half single pages from a newspaper
- A whole section of a newspaper
- A blender — Ask one of your parents or your teacher to help you use the blender.
- A measuring cup
- Five cups of water
- A big square pan that’s at least 3 inches deep
- A piece of window screen that fits inside the pan
- A flat piece of wood the size of the newspaper’s front page
Here’s What You Do:
- Tear the two and-a-half pages of newspaper into tiny pieces.
- Before you use the blender, ask your parents or teacher to help you. Don’t use your blender from home without your parents’ permission!
- Drop the pieces of paper into the blender.
- Pour five cups of water into the blender.
- Put the top on the blender. (You don’t want to have to scrape newspaper mush off the walls!).
- Switch the blender on for a few seconds. The paper will mix with the water and become what is called “pulp.”
- Turn off the blender.
- Open the newspaper section and spread it on the floor or table top.
- Pour about one inch of water into the pan.
- Put the screen on the bottom of the pan.
- Measure one cup of blended paper pulp into a measuring cup and then pour over the screen.
- Spread the pulp evenly through the water over the screen with your fingers. Feels mushy, doesn’t it?
- Lift the screen so that the pulp stays on top of it. Let the water drain.
- Place the screen with the pulp on top on half of the spread out newspaper section.
- Close the newspaper section so that the edges meet again.
- This next step is very important. Carefully flip over the newspaper section so that the screen is on top of the paper pulp.
- Place the board on top of the newspaper and press to squeeze excess water out of the paper pulp. The newspaper section will absorb the water.
- Open the newspaper and carefully lift the screen . The pulp will stay on the newspaper section.
- Leave the newspaper open and let the pulp dry for at least 24 hours.
- The next day, check to make sure the pulp is dry.
- If the pulp isn’t dry, leave it until it is.
- If it is dry, it is paper again. Carefully peel it off the newspaper.
- Now you can use it to write on!
Questions to Answer
- Was it easy to recycle paper?
- How could you use the paper you made?
- Next time you go to the store notice what paper products are made from recycled paper.
- Are there any recycled products that you can use for school?
- Does your family use recycled paper products?
- How many trees are used for every person in the United States every year? (The answer is in this web site somewhere!)
- How many things can you do that will save trees?
Extension Activity – Learn more about recycled paper. What is the difference between pre-consumer recycled paper and post-consumer recycled paper?