How To Make Paper at Home (Recycling)

Paper is a fantastic material suitable for numerous uses, including manufacturing notebooks, books, calendars, and magazines, wrapping gifts, and wrapping items in stores. Paper is widely used in offices for writing, printing documents, and photocopying. At home, paper is used to clean, to dry things, and for many other purposes. In short, paper is one of the most versatile and common products of modern societies.

Ancient Egyptians invented the first substance like the paper we know today called Papyrus. Papyrus scrolls were made by taking slices of the inner part of the papyrus stem, flattening then pounded into a hard, thin sheet. The word “paper” comes from the word “papyrus”.

Getting these fibers from a trunk is possible, but it would take too much time and effort. Therefore, we will use newspapers, from which it is easier to extract fibers. In this manner, we will also experiment with the possibility of recycling paper.

Materials needed:

  • wooden frame
  • sieve with holes of about 1 mm (available in a hardware store)
  • Formica sheets
  • rectangular bowl/container large enough to fit the frame
  • mortar with pestle
  • jug
  • hairdryer
  • newspaper
  • green and dried grass (optional)
  • flowers (optional)
  • flat sponge
  • water


  1. Soak some of the newspaper in water (it’s better if you let it to set for a day or two)
  2. Squeeze out the excess water.
  3. With the mortar and pestle, crush a little bit of paper at a time until you get a homogeneous paste, consisting of fibers isolated from each other (Fig. 5).
  4. Repeat this until you have enough paste.
  5. Fill the bowl halfway with water.
  6. Put the paper paste in the bowl and stir it to separate the fibers.
  7. Remove any resulting clumps (a dense suspension of fibers must remain in the water).
  8. Immerse the frame in the watery suspension in the bowl (the sieve should be facing the bottom of the bowl).
  9. Slowly remove the frame from the suspension keeping it steadily horizontal; eventually move the frame to even out the layer of fibers (Fig. 6).
  10. Wait for the water to drain.
  11. Place the smooth side of a sheet of Formica on top of the sheet of paper still soaked with water.
  12. Press on the Formica a little to drain the water, taking care not to deform the sieve (Fig. 7)
  13. With a sponge, collect water from underneath and squeeze it away every so often.
  14. Carefully remove the sheet of Formica so that the sheet of paper remains attached to it (Fig. 8).
  15. Let the sheet of paper dry. To do this more quickly, you can dry it with a hairdryer (Fig. 9).
  16. Make other sheets of paper, introducing to the suspension some grass crushed in the mortar.
  17. (Optionally) later introduce some flower petals (without crushing them).

[click image to enlarge]

Finished product:

The presence of green and brown vegetable fibers from the grass will give your sheets a special charm. Also, the addition of petals will contribute to make the sheets more beautiful. You can even use the paper you will have made to write a letter.

The paper you make using this procedure (Fig. 10) will be bright on one side and opaque on the other. The bright side is more suitable for writing. This paper is highly permeable by ink, but it is possible to write on it using a ballpoint pen. If you want to reduce the absorbency of the paper you’ve made, soak it in a solution of water and gelatin and then let it dry again.

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