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How to Make Your Own Recycled Paper

Don't throw away your old newspapers. Try making your own recycled paper!
Recycled paper can be made from old newspaper, following the instructions below. Recycling paper uses cellulose (plant fibers) over and over again, it uses less electricity, less water, a lot less pollution, and it saves trees from being cut down!

You will need:

  • a food processor or an old blender
  • an electric iron
  • an old wire hanger
  • an old pair of panty hose
  • newspaper or other paper, torn into 2-inch squares
  • white glue
  • water
  • an insect screen or strainer (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • a big sink or tub filled with 4 inches of water
Make sure you have a place to work where you can make a big mess!

Step One:
Make a frame out of the coat hanger. You'll need a frame for each piece of paper you make. Stretch the hanger and bend it into a rectangle/square shape. Take one leg of the panty hose and stretch it carefully over the hanger frame. Make sure it is tight and flat.

Step Two:
Put a handful of the torn up paper and some water into the food processor or blender. Blend the mixture on high until it becomes mushy. Keep adding paper and water until you have a big gray blob. You may have to add a little more water to keep things moving smoothly. Keep the food processor on until all the paper has disappeared. Then leave it on for 2 minutes.

For some color, add a handful of brown or red onion skin (not the onion itself, just the papery outer skin).

Step Three:
Put 2 tablespoons of white glue in the sink water and add all of the paper pulp you just made. Mix it really well. Use your hands.

Step Four:
Scoop the frame to the bottom of the sink, then lift it slowly. (Count to 20 slowly while you are lifting.) Let the water drain out for about a minute.

Step Five:
Hang the frames on a clothesline or put them out in the sun. Wait until they are completely dry with no dampness at all. You can then gently peel off the paper.

Step Six:
Use the iron, set on the hottest setting, to steam out your paper. You can keep making paper until the pulp is all strained out of the sink. Mix up the sink every time you make a new piece.

Try other things like using in insect screen over a wood frame, or a strainer instead of the pantyhose and hanger. Try adding lots of food coloring, for colored paper, or try adding lint or leaves to the food processor. Your paper will have an interesting texture.

Making your own paper can be fun, and it's a great way to re-use old paper. You can recycle all kinds of paper for re-use. Sometimes paper printed from color-inkjet printers will run, that is, the color will bleed off and become part of your new paper, but that can make for an interesting effect!

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