Basic Papermaking from Recycled Materials | May Babcock | Skillshare

Basic Papermaking from Recycled Materials

May Babcock, Papermaker, Artist, Teacher

Basic Papermaking from Recycled Materials

May Babcock, Papermaker, Artist, Teacher

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8 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials Needed

    • 3. Make a Mould and Deckle

    • 4. Process Pulp

    • 5. Pulling Sheets & Pressing

    • 6. Drying the Paper

    • 7. Optional - Surface Sizing

    • 8. Final Thoughts & Next Steps

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About This Class


Make handmade paper --- the quick and cheap way

Papermaking at home can be a pretty simple process. It’s also a fantastic way to use up your old receipts, scrap papers, junk mail, and copy paper that you were about to throw in the recycling bin, and instead create a thing of glorious handmade beauty.

Have scrap papers hanging around? Some sort of plastic tub, and a kitchen blender? With a few free/inexpensive supplies and these instructions, you’re well on your way to creating a supply of unique handmade papers for drawing, writing, printing, card making, bookmaking—you name it!

May Babcock, papermaking artist and founder of will teach you how to:

  • create paper pulp from scrap paper
  • make a simple mould and deckle for forming sheets
  • pull, press and dry your handmade paper
  • optional surface sizing*

This approach to papermaking is arguably the quickest way for you to start making paper with minimal setup, investment, and especially if you have limited space. Using recycled paper scrap for your fiber may not be as strong as traditional fibers (such as cloth rag, which requires heavy and expensive machinery), but they're just as beautiful, artistic and multipurpose!

Material List

  • Scrap Papers**
  • Plastic storage tub or vat
  • Kitchen blender
  • sponge
  • rolling pin
  • cloth, towels, blankets or other absorbent material
  • clothesline & clothespins
  • Mould & Deckle
    • 2 picture frames the same size
    • window screening
    • duct tape
    • staple gun and staples
    • optional: weatherstrip for the deckle (I'm dumb and forgot to mention this in the materials video section!) 
  • Optional Surface Sizing
    • Egg whites
    • Soft bristle brush
    • Small measuring cup

Download this class PDF.


Check out for more papermaking awesome-ness.

Want to take a workshop in-real-life? Find your local hand papermakers on the papermaking map.


* Sizing makes your handmade paper more water-resistant, so you can use watercolor, ink, and water-based media without the ink 'bleeding'. This class shows you how to inexpensively surface size your paper with egg whites. Advanced surface sizing options include wheat or rice starch and rabbit-skin glue, which this class does not cover.

** Drawing, printmaking, and watercolor papers are best because they are generally made from stronger fibers. Your fiber/scrap choice and its characteristics dictate the quality of the final sheet. Avoid newspaper and magazine paper, they will make weak and brittle paper.

Meet Your Teacher

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May Babcock

Papermaker, Artist, Teacher


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1. Introduction: Hey, my name is made that pop. I'm artist in a teacher and I make inmate paper. I run the website paper slurry dot com, which features papermaking tutorials. I interview other artist's studio tours. I use him a paper for my own part work. But for this class, we're gonna be using recycled paper scrap and turning that into a beautiful handmade papers . So these papers that you use or writing, drawing, watercolor, painting, finding or printing really anything that you could think of scrapbooking, car making holiday. What have you class is really? Or beginners? You don't have to have any experience whatsoever. A point of this is to teach you how to make Hammett papers from materials that are either really cheap or free, like you already have them, and you get it done quickly in whatever space you. So once you've got a taste of how you might make for, you can experiment and try stronger, more traditional fibers, baby investment that our tools and equipment. But this is really with their 2. Materials Needed: materials will have to gather for this project. Are one some sort of job upward dinner? This is actually a concrete, you awesome deviated paper, wood pulp and some cotton scrap paper. Whatever you have around, I often wonder you'll need something hot. Latin orbit using just old tracks cut up into squares. You can use towels. Any old wool blankets work as well. You sham wows those. You also need a sponge and then some sort of boulders off. Well, that is something that you need to take any paper is something all the old home. So this is and will heard that helps for many are two frames of the same size. So these air just two crappy picture grains also used campus structure bars. Your Andy and woodshop make your own brings. You also need some type of screening, so I'm using your just some fiberglass produced. You also need a space able gun, and finally we 3. Make a Mould and Deckle: the first thing you need to dio it is hot, the windows screening just about the size of And then you need Teoh. Secure the screening to your frame. So this is where your staple gun comes in. Candy. I usually start in the centers. Okay, Uh, so now you go to the opposite sign, Theun e. Just want to get This is tight, Todd. And then you're gonna continue outwards from each staple. Maybe about, like, right here. - Okay . All right. You're last up. Just toe. Protect the staples from resting is get yourself a little bit of duct tape. Privet. Just about the link edges. You lay that down press and then bowled over a little wide, okay? And then you go all the way around for each judge. Okay, So now you have your molds and you have your Decca, which sits now. This is the optional step. Didn't mention this in the materials video, but you get window stealing. So the kind that you step across your windows and doors once did Decide what you want to create, like a really nice meal around there. This is what it's spring 4. Process Pulp: flavors. That is to rip up your paper choice into about postage stamps. There is good with Colorado under B. Somewhere between these you tones. Okay, you're under. You gonna fill it? About 3/4 seconds Will do another 10 seconds. 20 seconds at this point. Depends with that. Our whole see that That it's not too many big chunks or let it snow let satisfactory to me . So 12th pulses, 20 seconds total. The reason why. Don't put more than a handful of paper scrap into the blender. That's too much of a load for your blunder, voter. And you will burn out this blunder. I also don't recommend using a blender for your smoothies or whatever. After I mean clean it out. Really? Well, I tried that. Okay, so I'm dumping whole straight also left and it lunch for more cult. You're putting into your fat with your paper paper. You look less. I'm putting about five lender calls of cult into this. That and then I'm gonna fill the rest toe water about halfway. It's home slide rooms of Coulson sheets 5. Pulling Sheets & Pressing: The first is you fix up the pope in the water, as you believe you can. This is also called Hong, that it looks like this under the surface theme. Paul tends Teoh, settle to the bottom. So you want to be doing this every time you're ready to make a sheet of fever? I think this is where your golden devil come into play. Always hold your goals. Hold this. Indebted psyops. People eventually side up, Donald, Right on the tops that hold our paper in streets that just are fever. We're going at a 45 degree angle to the bottom of what it rained and you'll notice as just dreaming. I'm giving it a shape that's too right front, back. And when it's really close to being fully drained, you notice I stopped, she todo and our paper is forming on the mold surface where the screen is catching all our And then you wanna hold this at Dad? No. One corner stripping was screamed on a drip, drip drip that tells us ready to transfer onto our clock. So you wanna remove your call? This is really what she paid for it here. You know what over crustacean here. So this is just set up with you Folded Jersey cleared up this process called Eugene. So you're setting this right edge down first, pushing it face down your edge is also pressed the middle. And then you're gonna lift up fast on that initial edge that's transferred. Or Rhett she onto this surface unit that is past you. Grab another, Brad. Here, play this down, Sponge. Do you want to start really jumping At first, you're gonna try to pick up much water, and gradually you're building up pressure and putting your weekend so more pressure that you get stronger and less lucky. Your I don't drive once you feel like you are picking up anymore water. From this, you can get even a stronger press, Rulers just like rolling so gently at first. Trust too hard. It pushes out and then you want to build for sure. Okay, 6. Drying the Paper: next you want to draw your paper, so just peel up top cloth, Good diagonal helps. And then we're gonna take this, walk over to our clothes line and let it dry right on the clock. Your other option to drive and want your paper. Have a really flat, smooth services to find a window are aboard a metal table for McCall. All those work and you want to take your paper started at one corner. Are you lifting up? You can actually handle it pretty well if you made it thick enough when it's wet, we're gonna walk over window. Yeah, usually start the top two corners then either with a sponge or if you have a really soft bristle brush. I just wanna press from the centre outwards, so make sure there's no air bubbles, making sure that press the edges to the surface so that will dry. But to actually pick up make this moon surface of the black butter, making more shades will notice. You might notice that she's a little thinner than the last one. So if you want assistant D A thinks of your paper, you want to add a little more old uh, with my five. Wonderful Zaid, I think I'm gonna get around 10 sheets. Ah, six by nine, TV. Um, if I was gonna make more than that, I would make another wonderful people dry, different, drying it and leaving it on the block first is drying it on a flat surface. The paper that was on the clock is a little more bumpy and texture. And you can see that actually a slightly smaller size because paper wants to shrink up a little bit as it dries. Is this something nice texture? Last trying on a classroom. Want to get this latter just 7. Optional - Surface Sizing: the purpose of this really make any paper from almost nothing and not having your purchasing reels and just really reused way on what this side may have a class about is sizing. So you're intending to use watercolor and you wet water based media on your neighbours, such as calligraphy or, um, you want to do some sort of sizing in or on top of your fever? There is a product you can purchase from making suppliers is it's like a little liquid that UNIX hope that is sizing or you coated externally basically start deciding which is what I'm like you. If you don't size your paper and you're doing a watercolor, what happens is that it just lease right through the uber. Some alerted out in my act on the paper, really adds like our pieces. What a reason. These whites, almost you you must certainly you're just using the egg. Wait, he attacked a It's a big farrago. You're tossing the back or just get that links. Okay, I'm gonna crack to coat the sheets. Um, I should also say there's a lot of different ways you can service eyes. Your paper. You can use rabbits in glue. Just let gelatin. You've been use wheat starch to coat your peepers, so you want a 3 to 1 ratio. So we have three tablespoons of ed. Wait, in a way, add one more tablespoon water, three parts egg white, one part water and then you can choose the code. You know, just one side of a deeper way to see the difference between a surface that is quoted and unquoted does change a little. So I just have a soccer's brush and just coat it as evenly, like six loss or anything, right? 8. Final Thoughts & Next Steps: Now that you have a beautiful staff and the papers, you should know one. This was Western style papermaking. There's a whole world of different traditions out there. Different approaches and related techniques. A lot of artists who are really pushing the boundaries of what you could do with paper pulp working with it, like painting, also working culturally. So I and my advice is to take it step by step. So you want to invest in a that may be purchased a nicer one. B Wanna work? It's stronger fibers. You purchase fiber as well that higher phone. So I encourage you to visit my website paper slurry dot com, just to get a sense of what's going on right now in the papermaking world, I also invite you to subscribe to my other classes, which there may not be live right now. If you're lucky than they are, and also on my website, you'll find a hand papermaking that so this is a map of all the different papermakers use around the world. So I really encourage secret out and try to take workshops with them because everybody teaches making it has. That's it. Congratulations