Basic Papermaking from Recycled Materials

May Babcock, Papermaker, Artist, Teacher

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8 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:37
    • 2. Materials Needed

      1:50
    • 3. Make a Mould and Deckle

      3:14
    • 4. Process Pulp

      3:06
    • 5. Pulling Sheets & Pressing

      3:58
    • 6. Drying the Paper

      3:52
    • 7. Optional - Surface Sizing

      5:16
    • 8. Final Thoughts & Next Steps

      1:40
23 students are watching this class

About This Class

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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 Paperslurry.com 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.

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Check out paperslurry.com for more papermaking awesome-ness.

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

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* 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.