Making Paper with Kids


Easy step for making paper with kidsHave you ever made your own paper?
  It requires some patience and preparation, but it’s not tricky and the process is worth exploring with children or anyone who’s curious about how to make paper.

After my toddler, Baby Rainbow, created a sensory bin full of paper and water, I saw an opportunity to upcycle that mushy paper pulp into some new-to-us paper. We had most of the materials handy, but had to make a trip to the hardware store to buy a small screen.

The hardware store happens to be across the street from an ice cream parlor, so my kids were okay with that.

Two ice cream cones later, we returned home, put my youngest down for a nap, and got busy with some paper-making…

Let’s start with the materials (full printable recipe at the end of this post):

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Screen (we bought a $10 sliding window screen)
  • Large Tub
  • Washcloth/rag/burp cloth/large piece of felt
  • Water
  • Torn paper from newspaper, tissue paper, magazines, etc. Be sure that it’s staple and tape-free
  • Blender
  • Small seeds (optional)

how to make paper with kidsWhile Little R napped, big sister N and I talked about how paper is made while we shredded the paper up into little pieces (roughly 2″ square). She was non-plussed by the texture and asked me to finish the job.

how to make paper with kids

To get into the spirit and expand our knowledge of paper making, we watched a Mr. Roger’s episode about paper making. If you like this video you’ll also love learning about how crayons are made. Alternatively, here’s the video-free step-by-step (all from PBS Kids).

how to make paper with kids

After watching the film, N messed around with the supplies, inventing her own way to use them. We also picked up the gloves for gardening, and I suppose they were part of the paper-making costume.

I enjoyed watching her imaginative game, but back to paper making…

how to make paper

We added paper to the blender, covered it with water, and ran the blender on a low speed. Since we’re about to squeeze all the water out of the paper pulp, you can’t really have too much water, so if the blender doesn’t move easily, add more water.

how to make paper

Run the blender a little bit faster until you get the paper mixture into a nice, smooth pulp. Ours is kind of chunky, mostly because Baby R was sleeping and I didn’t want to push my luck!

She woke up anyway.

how to make paper with kids

When Little R woke up, she wanted to play with the pulp right away. She squeezed it, scooped it, and carried bowls full of pulp into the living room.

how to make paper

Once she was done playing with the pulp, we spread it thinly and uniformly across the screen and then layered a cloth diaper on top to absorb the extra water, while also pushing the water through the screen into the tub.

how to make paper

I placed one hand firmly on top of the cloth diaper while I flipped the screen over onto a work surface. 

how to make paper

I removed the screen and put the cloth with paper pulp in a spot where it could dry, undisturbed, for about a day. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to dry.

how to make paper

Later the next day, this is what it looked like. Not your typical paper, but beautiful nonetheless. We haven’t done much with it yet, but I’m thinking some Sharpies or watercolor paint might be a good fit. And with the seeds embedded in the pulp, we could cut these up and give them away to friends, with the invitation to plant them in their gardens.

How to Make Paper with Kids
Author: 
Recipe type: Sensory, DIY
 
Making paper teaches children how one of our most ubiquitous materials -- PAPER -- is made, and it's also a fun sensory project for kids of all ages.
Ingredients
  • Screen (we bought a $10 sliding window screen)
  • Large Tub
  • Washcloth/rag/burp cloth/large piece of felt
  • Water
  • Torn paper from newspaper, tissue paper, magazines, etc. Be sure that it's staple and tape-free
  • Blender
  • Small seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Shred the paper up into little pieces (roughly 2" square)
  2. Add paper to the blender, cover it with water, and run the blender on a low speed. Since you'll squeeze all the water out of the paper pulp, you can't really have too much water, so if the blender doesn't move easily, add more water.
  3. Run the blender a little bit faster until you get the paper mixture into a nice, smooth pulp. Add more water if your pulp is still chunky.
  4. Spread the pulp in a thin and uniform layer across the screen
  5. Cover this with a rag or cloth diape to absorb the extra water, while also pushing the water through the screen into the tub.
  6. Place one hand firmly on top of the cloth and then flip the screen over onto a work surface.
  7. Removed the screen and put the cloth plus paper pulp in a spot where it could dry, undisturbed, for about a day. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to dry.

 

Any other ideas for us?

More Handmade Paper Inspiration

Allison of No Time for Flashcards used and Immersion Blender to make Recycled Paper Hearts.

Jen of PaintCutPaste made Handmade Blooming Paper.

Rebekah of The Golden Gleam made Recycled Paper Ornaments for Christmas, but you could easily make these with ornaments of just about any shape.

Kristi of Creative Connections for Kids made Wildflower Paper Ornaments (using the same screen as us!).

Melitza of Play Activities made Earth Day Seeded Paper.

Comments

  1. Roopa Shri says

    Thanks for the post!!
    Putti and me have tried making paper at a local wildlife festival last yr. Havent tried it at home. Thanks for inspiration and remainder!! Love all the added links, gives more ideas.

    • Rachelle says

      Don’t you love showing up at community events and having someone else take the kids through a great project? I bet you girls will enjoy this.

  2. M Wall says

    Lovely! I may try this and cut them into small hearts (or just draw some hearts on) to make “Mother Love Seeds”. Then have my son give them to his friend’s moms on Mother’s Day! Will keep this in mind for next Valentine’s Day – I think his preschool friends would like to plant their valentine.

  3. Rebekah Patel says

    You always do such a great job of giving me confidence to do something that I have been too intimidated to try before. After your post, I believe we could make paper on our own. Now, I am regretting giving away our window screens when we moved into a house with installed screens.  
    Thank you so much for sharing our idea!  I am looking fwd to checking out the other ideas too.  

  4. Anonymous says

    Back in mid-March we made a dandelion paper. My son picked lots of yellow dandelions and we added them to the ingredients before blending. So the paper was really pretty light yellow color. Which gave me an idea to make paper each month using different flowers (or leaves or seeds), whatever is in season and easy to find in the yard or at the farmer’s market. We are yet to make paper this month, so your post is a reminder for me. 

  5. says

    I used to make paper all the time! This brings me back.
    Great idea and fun for all ages. My one year old would love the texture and my four year old is into letter writing. How fun would it be to have to make her own stationary. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder on how to do it!

  6. says

    This is a great sensory activity! What an excellent idea. I think we will be trying this out very soon. We’ve never made our own paper before.

    • Rachelle says

      Oh, I’m sure you’ll love this, Didi. The pulp has a nice texture. Squishy and soft, and not sticky or icky. And then you have paper at the end of it!

    • Rachelle says

      We’ll do that! Now that I own the screen, I see a lot of paper making in our future. Thanks for the great ideas. 

  7. lily cuellar says

    Hey! Great idea! I would try putting more water in the blender, which will make the material lie flatter on the screen after all of the water is pressed out of it. This will make thinner, more traditional paper!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: