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Homemade Paper

Save those old scraps of paper! You'll give them a new life with this children's art activity.
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Homemade Paper

Age: Elementary and up
Time: An afternoon
Type of activity: Arts and Crafts

Making your own paper is fun, easy, and a great weekend project. Your homemade paper will add a wonderful touch to any card or letter.

Materials needed:
· Scrap paper (Plain, loose-leaf, or even construction paper)
· A blender
· Nylon screening
· Plant and vegetable scraps (for color)
· Staples, tacks, or waterproof glue
· A wooden picture frame (8"x10")
· Stapler
· White glue
· At least two kitchen cloths
· Large wooden or plastic spoon
· A wash basin
· A sponge

What to do:

Step One: To make paper, you must first make a paper mold. To do this, take your wooden frame and staple a nylon screen to it tightly.

Step Two: Tear the scrap paper into small pieces and soak them in hot water for 30 minutes.

Step Three: Fill a blender about three-quarters full with clean water. Take a handful of scraps from your pile and put them into the blender. Close tightly and blend on medium-high for a few seconds, until you can no longer see pieces of the paper.

Step Four: To add color to your paper mixture, add small amounts plant or vegetable scraps (such as orange peels, carrots, or flowers) and blend again. Pieces of foil from leftover holiday paper and colored thread also add a special touch.

Step Five: Fill a basin or bathtub about halfway with warm water. Add a few drops of white glue to the water and mix thoroughly with the large spoon.

Step Six: Pour the pulp into the tub or basin and distribute it evenly throughout the water.

Step Seven: Dip the wooden frame into the water and scoop up some of the pulp. Gently shake the frame back and forth to get an even layer of paper pulp on the screen.

Step Eight: Let the water drain through.

Step Nine: Lay a clean kitchen cloth on a flat table. Lay the screen face down on the cloth.

Step Ten: Lift off the screen carefully. The paper should drop out easily onto the cloth. If it sticks, gently tap the frame.

Step Eleven: Let the paper dry completely. When it is fully dry, pull gently on either side of the cloth to stretch it and carefully peel the paper off.

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