Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recycled Paper - Hand Made Paper 101 - Part I

YES! It was a wild day (we moved & set a chicken coop) but I still had time to get the first half of this recycled technique finished :)

Of course by reading the title you know it's making Hand-Made paper. I don't know how you all handle scraps but I can't throw anything away....I keep it all because of course I might "NEED" it for something ;) So I have a big basket under my desk that I place all of my paper (treasures) scraps. Every so often I sort out what's been in there forever and give some to my mom but for the most part OR.... I make paper!

I know it sounds complicated, time consuming and sometimes expensive but it's really doesn't have to be. I whipped up 7 sheets of hand made paper in a little under 1 1/2 hours. That includes tearing all the paper in bits AND taking photos AND making a new frame. Now, dry time is another story but all you have to do is hang it up and forget it. I'm getting ahead of myself though so let's start at the beginning.... I'm going to split this up into three posts because I've got lots of photos so here we go ~

Hand Made Paper 101

(Recycling Paper Scraps)


(note - these are the supplies you'll need for the entire process)

Scrap Paper

Bowl (to soak paper)

Blender or Mixer

Hot Water

White Glue

Large Tub

Strainer Frame (Wood Frame, screen, thumb tacks)

Handi-Wipes - aka - Jay Cloths

Dish Towels (to absorb excess water)

Rolling Pin


Cloths Pin or other Clips

Part I - Making Paper Soup!

1. Gather your scrap paper and determine what color you'd like your paper to be. I seem to generate LOTS of blue scraps ;) so that's what color my paper is going to be today. That's not to say you should only use one color of paper. You can mix it up or just use everything. I'm a bit anal about getting too wild with colors so I used mainly blue and white. I threw in some cool pattern paper as well as a couple bits of fuchsia and green as well for good measure.

Now I know a lot of people say you can only use certain types of papers but I use it all...bazzill, DCWAV, Club Scrap, water color, pattern papers, etc. The only type of paper I don't use is glossy paper.... it tends not to bind together as well as uncoated papers do.

Recycling Paper Scraps 001

2. Tear your paper up into bits...this is a great stress reliever. Trust me after the day I had yesterday it was a welcome job - LOL!! As for how much to tear up, it's up to you. I tore up I'd say approx. 3 cups of paper (torn bits). The more you tear up, the more paper you can make.

Recycling Paper Scraps 003

3. Now that you've got your paper torn up, pour just enough HOT water into your bowl to cover the paper - at this point you don't want too much water.

Recycling Paper Scraps 005

4. Mix the paper and hot water...make sure all of the paper is saturated. Let this mixture set for approx 5-10 minutes to ensure that the water has a chance to soften all the paper.

Recycling Paper Scraps 006

5. Now it's time to pulverize your paper. Most directions state that you HAVE to use a blender for this step. I don't have one...never have sooooo I use my hand mixer. Works just fine and it's not another piece of equipment setting around taking up space. So it's up to you ~ you can either pour your water/paper mix into a blender or use a hand mixer in the same bowl.

Beat the heck out of your paper for 3-4 minutes until you have a goopy mess. It should be the consistency of thin oatmeal as shown.

I like to leave larger bits of paper mixed in with the mush...I like the look myself but if you want a finer paper, keep mixing until you like what you see.

Recycling Paper Scraps 007

6. (optional) Now is the time to add "stuff" to your paper if you so desire. I know they sell all this fancy stuff to add to your hand made paper but it's not necessary. I'm sure you have enough goodies in your stash to really add some zing to your paper without the added expense.

You could add things like flower petals, leaf bits, Mylar glitter, glass glitter, bits of metallic or regular thread, leafing flakes, bits of mica flakes or powders, pigment powders, etc.

7. Add some white glue to the mix. I normally just eyeball it but I'd say anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup depending on how much you've made. It's not critical, it's just to give it some added stability when it dries.

End of Part I


  1. Roni u are so funny! Ok..I think I can do step off to read step 2...and of course I have boxes of scraps too! and the stuff to throw in so Im thrilled this tutorial wont cost me! LOL

  2. Hmm...never thought to add white glue to the mess. I use my husband's office shredder to cut up my paper...that's what it's for, right?!?! I'll have to try adding the glue to see the difference.

  3. Oooh its funny, I've gotten all the supplies together to do this months ago but never got round to as I thought I'd have to dedicate several hours to it (didn't have em :)).. this is great though, I am going to give this a try!

  4. Ooooooh wow! Roni - is there ANYTHING you can't do?????

    (psssst... when I saw that pic of the paper scraps I thought - noooooo, I can USE THOSE! LOL I am a total paper addict and geek! *grin*)


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!