Making paper from scratch is easier than you might think, and there are several simple ways to do it using things you probably already have lying around the house. In addition, making your paper can be a great project to do with your kids – not only does it give them a valuable skill, but they’ll enjoy being able to show off their creations later on! So check out these four simple ways to make paper from scratch and see which one suits you best!
1) Making Homemade Newsprint
Homemade newsprint can be a fun project for beginners, and it makes a great gift. To get started, you’ll need one white cotton T-shirt (retro shirts work best because they’re thin), baking soda, three plastic trash bags, two egg whites, water, scissors.
First things first – bake your shirt. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees F and layout one layer of trash bags on your oven rack—line two cookie sheets with wax paper. Spread about 1/2 cup of baking soda over each cookie sheet so it’s evenly distributed—then place your T-shirt on top of that—Bake in your preheated oven for an hour.
After an hour, remove the cookie sheets from your oven and let them cool completely. Then remove your T-shirt from its pan and break it apart along natural seams.
Next, mix three egg whites, three tablespoons of water, three teaspoons of fabric softener, and two cups of salt until all ingredients are well combined.
Next, carefully dip your homemade newspaper into the egg mixture—letting excess drip off—and then transfer it to another cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Let dry overnight.
Once dry, you should have some pretty lovely homemade newsprint!
2) Making Card Stock
Whether you’re writing a novel or penning journal entries, book cover stock is an ideal choice for bookbinding. You can purchase book cover stock in prepackaged sheets; otherwise, it’s relatively easy to make yourself using cereal boxes and other readily available materials at home. Be sure to choose 100 per cent acid-free paper if your craft will involve books.
To begin making cardstock, all you need are two pieces of cardboard—the heavier the weight, generally speaking, means more durable covers—and glue. Simply glue one piece of cardboard onto another with a good craft glue like Mod Podge or Elmer’s Glue-All by smearing a liberal amount onto each piece and placing them together so that they overlap slightly as they dry.
Once you’ve made several pieces, stack them together (preferably under something heavy) to dry overnight. Done! You now have perfect-bound blank book pages or cardstock for cards.
3) Making Parchment
Parchment, also known as skin or vellum, is paper that’s made using animal skins. You can make parchment for your homemade paper by placing deerskin (you can find it in most art supply stores) between two sheets of glass and rubbing it with fine-grit sandpaper over an entire weekend.
Peel off the top layer of skin when you’re done; you should have enough parchment for hundreds of pages. If you want a different type of paper, try soaking sheepskin in water for 24 hours then wringing out any excess liquid before moving on to Step 1 above. That should give you rawhide instead—perfect for greeting cards!
4) Making Corrugated Cardboard
Making your corrugated cardboard isn’t as hard as you might think. All you need is some corrugated cardboard, a sharp knife, and a sturdy iron surface.
First, cut the cardboard into equal squares or rectangles. Then, stack them up. Place another sheet of clean paper or craft paper on top of your layers of cardboard and cover with an ironing board or any other flat surface—steam over it for about ten minutes. Repeat if necessary.
The more layers of paper you add, and the longer time you steam it, the flatter and smoother your homemade cardboard will be!
Making Paper From Scratch is Fun
If you love paper and books, it can be gratifying to try your hand making your paper. Many of these methods are very simple and fun for all ages. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about running out of paper again! For homemade paper ideas that are both cute and useful, read on!