Making paper with kids is a rewarding experience, and today I’m going to share how to make paper with kids. These steps work for anyone interested in learning how to make paper, and I give specific tips and advice on how to make paper with kids (even toddlers!)
Papermaking with kids is a fun and creative activity that can be done with common household items! Making paper teaches children how one of our most commonly used materials — PAPER — is made, and it’s also a fun sensory project for kids of all ages. You will need a blender, water, a few sheets of paper or paper scraps, a screen, and a large container.
TLDR > How do you make your own paper?
First, rip the paper into small pieces and put them in the blender. Add enough water to cover the paper, then blend until the paper is completely broken down into a pulp. Place the screen over the container. Pour the pulp into the container, and then use your hands to spread it out evenly. Press the pulp with a towel to absorb moisture. Finally, flip the paper over, remove the screen, and let the pulp dry on the towel.
Supplies: How to Make Paper
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- Paper: newspaper, tissue paper, magazines, etc. Be sure that it’s staple and tape-free
- Window Screen. This sliding window screen is economical and reusable.
- Washcloth, towel, rag, paper towels, o a large piece of felt to absorb water
- Small seeds, plant fibers, flower petals, or food coloring (optional)
Making paper with kids 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 created a sensory bin full of paper and water, I saw an opportunity to upcycle that mushy paper pulp to make our own paper. We had most of the materials handy, but had to make a trip to the hardware store to buy a small window screen (affiliate)
Mr. Rogers shows us how paper is made
To get into the spirit and expand our knowledge of paper making, we watched a Mr. Roger’s episode about paper making. You can watch it, too! If you like this video you’ll also love learning about how crayons are made.
What is the best material to make paper?
Almost anything goes. Just make sure it’s staple and tape-free. Also, no plastic! See if you can gather one or a few of the paper products from this list:
- old newspapers
- printer paper
- junk mail
- wrapping paper
- paper grocery bags
Other Materials for Papermaking
- flower petals
- food coloring
- small seeds
- plan fibers
- hemp or cotton pieces
Instructions: An Easy Way to Make Paper with Kids
- Tear the paper into tiny strips, about 2″.
- Place your window screen on top of one of the plastic tubs
- Fill the blender about three quarters with water. Add a couple handfuls of paper to the blender. Run the blender on a low speed. You don’t want to burn the motor, so be sure the paper is covered. Since you will squeeze all the water out of the paper pulp, you can’t really have too much water. If the blender doesn’t move easily, add more water.
- Run the blender a little bit faster until the mixture is a nice, smooth pulp. Ours is kind of chunky because my kids wanted it that way. Yours can be smoother.
- Pour the pulp thinly and uniformly across the screen. Place a towel on top to absorb the extra water, while also pushing the water through the screen into the tub. Get the kids involved.
- Place one hand firmly on top of the cloth while you flip the screen over onto a table or countertop that can handle water.
- Remove the screen and put the cloth with paper pulp in a spot where it can dry, undisturbed, for about a day. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to dry.
Let’s start with the materials…
1. Mix paper with water to make a slurry. You can skip this step and just add dry paper to the blender, but it’s fun for kids to swoosh the wet paper around.
2. Place the screen over a pan or bin
3. Fill blender about three quarters full with water, or as much water as you like. You can’t overdo it. Add paper to the blender.
4. Blend the paper until it’s smooth. Ours is intentionally chunky because that’s how the kids wanted it. Who am I to say otherwise?
My toddler wanted to play with the pulp right away. She squeezed it, scooped it, and carried bowls full of pulp into the living room. Fun!
5. Spread the paper pulp over the screen
6. Press the pulp down and squeeze out the excess water. You can see the extra water falling into the bin below.
7. Place the towel over the paper pulp and flip it over. Allow the paper to dry. This could take a day or two depending on humidity and thickness of the paper.
8. Remove your paper and cut it into pieces, draw on it, or use it in art making.
Because our pulp was on the thick side, the paper doesn’t look like typical thin paper. As a result of this, your child may wonder if they really made paper! This is a great opportunity to discuss and question how paper manufacturers might get such thin paper.
What can you do with homemade paper?
You can do so many fun and creative things with homemade paper! You can create cards, scrapbooks, banners, origami, collages, and so much more!
We haven’t done much with it yet, but we’ll probably write on it with permanent markers or paint with watercolors.
You could also make Seed Paper: We decided to embed seeds in the pulp, so we could cut these up and give them away to friends with the invitation to plant them in their gardens!
Can you do this without a screen?
Yes, you can make paper without a screen! You just need is a blender, scrap paper, a piece of felt or a towel, and water. Start by blending the scrap paper until it turns into a pulp. Then, spread the pulp over the felt with a spoon and your hands. Once the paper is dry, you can add color, designs, or other decorations. Have fun!
More Handmade Paper Inspiration
Allison of No Time for Flashcards used and Immersion Blender to make Recycled Paper Hearts.
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.