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Making Paper

You start with scrap paper. In my limited experience, you must be very intentional or scrap paper will turn out grey. So I focused on bright yellow papers and collected the gold foil off Hershey candies. In the service of my latest adventure, I ate a lot of Hershey candies.

I'm such a selfless person
I’m such a selfless person!

I ripped the paper into shreds, whereupon I discovered I’d eaten more candies than I thought, so I added them in too

Tearing paper
Tearing paper

I then filled the blender ¾ full of water

Getting the blender ready
Getting the blender ready

and arranged my other tools. This is a screen, an old picture frame, and switch plates I bought at the Green Project for a couple of dollars.

Recycled paper-making tools
Recycled paper-making tools

The screen is positioned over the sink for drainage purposes. The frame et al are to provide shapes for the paper to conform to after you whir up the watery bits, pour it in the molds, and press it around to smooth it out, a step I forgot to take a picture of so we will cut to a commercial.

The paper I made at Uptown Craft and Needleworks, whom you can follow here
The paper I made at Uptown Needle and Craftworks, whom you can follow here

After using a towel to press out as much water as possible, I removed the to-be-paper by turning the screen upside down while holding a hand on the paper to gently ease it onto a towel which I had arranged on the window sill.

The slightly damp paper
Slightly damp paper

You will note one switch plate and the small circles didn’t make it into the picture. That’s because they were so small the end product was gonna be blobs, and I abandoned that choice—as always for me, this is a learning process. Also, I don’t know if you can tell, but the large square is fairly thick. This is because I intend to use it as a mat for a something-or-other I made from paper clay and want to frame.

Finally, I folded the tail of the towel over the paper and smoothed it out again, leaving it to dry

The drying paper
The drying paper

only to back up a step the next morning. I’d been monitoring the paper, smoothing it out, but overnight as it dried it curled a bit. So I sprinkled water on the paper to re-wet it and laid heavy blocks of paper clay on it to make it lie flat, hoping this correction would work. If not, I’d put it all back in the blender and start over, seeing if THAT would work.

a slight do-over
A slight do-over

As we wait for the final product, because I’m the person who cleans up the kitchen, I’m always interested in how much mess an activity makes. Not a lot:

An easy cleanup job
An easy cleanup job

The spatula I used because I failed to blend the paper enough the first go-round. When I poured the results into the molds, I realized it was too watery and not pulpy enough—the lumps weren’t going to smooth out into a cohesive sheet of paper.  So I lifted the pulp off the screen with the spatula, put it back in the blender, and found a better setting (Grind). If I were to take up this hobby in earnest, I’d probably buy a cheap blender so as not to be using the same blender to mix both ink of unknown origin and foodstuff, but this time I simply washed the blender out well.

And—ta-da!—my paper.

The final product
The final product

I was wondering how much color the paper would lose as it dried. The answer is not much. The dry paper has more of a matte finish than when wet but it retained the bright yellow . . .  thanks to all my Hershey chocolate eating.

So that’s it. They call it “handmade paper,” but it feels more like reconstituted paper to me. You basically break down various pieces of existing paper and re-mold it into a new unit. Maybe reincarnated or resurrected paper is better. But you get the idea.


craft paper, crafts with Hershey chocolate wrappers, handmade paper, how to make paper, making paper in the blender, the Green Project New Orleans, Uptown Needle and Craftworks

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