I was taking a little trip back in the Offbeat Home Flickr pool. I went all the way back to 2011, and found some crafty gold! We had one Homie upload a tutorial for how to make your own paper, and one Homie who covered her fauxidermied deer head with book pages from Chaucer.
Keep reading to learn how to make all things papery…
How to make your own paper
By: Katety Allen
Here are detailed instructions on how to make your own paper. This is a great project for those who like to reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s also great for those who like to make nice homemade gifts, or for those who like to save on money. I am making invitations for my wedding!
Set out a large bin (I use a clean kitty litter box), a frame with a screen stapled tightly across, a second frame the same size, a sponge, and a towel.
Fill your bin up almost half way with warm water. (Cold water is fine too, but warm water feels better!)
Rip up lots of little bits of paper, about one inch small. The smaller they are, the easier they blend up. I find that ripping opens up the “pores” in a way that cutting does not, allowing the paper to reconnect better.
Fill your blender up (I use a Blendtec, the best blender on the market!) half way with the paper and then finish filling it up with warm water (again, cold will work but warm feels better). Let is soak for at least five minutes.
Add any other ingredients that you’d like in your paper. I suggest you make one batch plain while you get used to the process. Here, I added rose petals, bergamot scent, and orange glitter. I learned quickly less is more! In this batch, I am not making paper to write on, so I can handle this much extra.
Blend it all up! Again, I cannot tell you how awesome my Blendtec is. I blend mine for about 30 seconds, but most blenders need to run for a few minutes. The mixture should be lumpy, but you should not be able to pick out bits of separate paper. (It’ll basically look like soggy paper.)
Pour your mixture, called a slurry, into the bin of water. Mix it up with your hand (this is why warm water is nicer). You’ll need three batches of slurry to add to your water. It’ll still look lumpy, but that’s okay. As you make paper, you’ll notice that it gets thinner each time. When it’s too thin to use (you’ll know), add another batch of slurry.
You are going to hold the frame with the screen with the screen on top. You will then place the empty screen on top of that, so that the screen is in the middle. Hold these tight and dip them into the water, leveling it out and lifting it up. The quicker you do that, the less slurry will have time to spill in and the thinner the paper will be. The longer you take, the more slurry will spill in and the thicker your paper will be.
Set the frames on the side of the bin to drain the water out. Here i also added a dried flower to the corner, but it did not adhere well.
This is what your slurry mixture will look like in your frame. Make sure you let the water drip out for a minute.
Next you will take your sponge and begin pushing water through the screen. At the same time, water will be sucked into the sponge so you will want to wring it out into the bin of slurry mixture every time. Do this until you cannot wring water out of the sponge.
Now you will take the top frame off leaving the paper on the screened frame. Soak up any water that might be left on the edges. If you like a clean cut look, now is the time to trim the excess slurry off the edges. I like the homemade look, so I never do that.
It’s time to flip your paper onto the towel! It seems scary but it’s not. Use your sponge to soak up any water that you can through the screen. Just to clarify, your paper will be on the towel with the screen on top. Your sponge will be against the screen.
Be very gentle here. Grab a corner of your paper and begin to slowly lift the screen off. Make sure you do not tear, as your paper is very vulnerable right now. Let your paper dry on the towel for about 10 minutes.
Take your paper and press it flat against a window. This way your paper dries flat, and dries evenly with the sun in the window and the air on the other side. We are re-doing our bathroom and the window was not accessible this week, so I’ve used the bathroom mirror. My paper still dried rather flat.
The paper takes anywhere from 12 hours to a day and a half to dry — depending on the temperature and what not. Once it’s completely dry I like to press the paper in another heavy book for a few weeks for a super-flat look.
Have fun, and reduce, reuse, recycle!
How to make a paper-covered fauxidermy
Once you’ve made your own custom paper with glitter, and flowers, and all kinds of awesome, consider turning that paper into a fauxidermy project. As promised, here’s Casa Sugar’s tutorial for making a paper-covered mounted deer head. I covet.