Papermaking With Preschoolers {Tutorial}

Recycled Shredded Paper
Shredding paper is one of my boys favorite things to do, so this time around I decided to recycle our shredded paper at home instead of sending it off to the recycling center. It turned out to be a fantastic lesson in reduce, reuse, recycle…perfect for Earth Day!

 

Recycled Shredded Paper in Blender
Fill your blender with the shredded paper and add enough water to cover it all. We knew that we wanted our finished paper to be blueish, so we added a few sheets of shredded old artwork (on construction paper) to the mix.

 

Paper Pulp
Blend the paper shreddings and water into a fine pulp.

 

Adding Recycled Paper Pulp to Water for Papermaking
Add a few blender loads of pulp to a large tub of clean water. We used four blender fulls in a mixing tray that my hubby picked up at Home Depot for a couple of bucks (which we will most definitely be reusing for all sorts of other projects!).

 

Papermaking Pulp and Screen
Here’s the basic papermaking supplies needed: tub with water and pulp mixture and a wood frame with screen stapled to it. My super awesome handy hubby whipped these up for us with scraps that we had in the garage, but you could even use an old picture frame. The screen is just standard mesh window screen…just make sure you get it stapled on tightly with minimal slack.

 

Making Homemade Recycled Paper with Preschoolers
Dip your screen into the pulp/water mix, and allow a thin and even layer of pulp to coat the screen.

 

Making Recycled Paper with Preschoolers
Allow the water to drain through the screen for a few minutes.

 

California Poppy Seeds
We had a ton of California Poppy seeds laying around, so we decided to add them to our paper to make PLANTABLE paper (super cool, right!?!). We just sprinkled them on top of the pulp mixture while it was still very wet.

 

Making Plantable Seed Paper from Recycled Paper
Use a sponge to carefully press out the remaining water, wringing out the water after each pressing. Use caution when lifting up the sponge so that you don’t lift up your paper too. I designated this part as a “Mommy job” since the paper is extremely delicate at this stage.

 

Papermaking Screen
Use a white sheet of felt (colored felt may bleed) to press the remaining water out. Leave the felt in place, and flip your frame over on to a flat surface.

 

Papermaking with Recycled Children's Artwork
Gently tap the back side of the screen and the paper should easily fall off on to the felt backing.
Making Recycled Paper

 

Homemade Recycled Paper
Let your beautiful recycled paper dry in the sunshine. It will take about 24 hours for it to fully dry out. We let ours dry in the sun for about 8 hours and then moved it indoors in the evening.

 

Earth Day Cards with Recycled Plantable Seed Paper
We’re using our paper to make fun Earth Day cards! Of course, you can get way more creative than this basic card (in fact, my boys want to add some watercolored green land to the blue Earth shapes), but I just wanted to give y’all a quick example. When our friends plant their “Earths” they will soon be greeted with bunches of sunny orange poppies!

Make Earth Day Cards with Recycled Plantable Seed Paper


Comments

  1. Katie says

    This is such a fantastic idea! (Especially the seed part!) I think this will be the perfect craft/gift for my preschool class to make into Christmas ornaments! =)

  2. Anonymous says

    I saw this on Bill Nye the Science Guy when I was a kid. For the screen you can also use a metal hanger made into a square with an old nylon over the top of it if you do not have the window screen and wooden frame available!

  3. says

    Here’s an option for doing this without lots of felt sheets to dry them on. I learned to make paper while in Japan, and I was taught to stick the wet paper to a window, pull off the felt (I actually use a flat piece of plastic instead of felt) and let it dry. Once dry just peel it off carefully. Sometimes I have to use a straight edge to start a corner. This way the paper dries perfectly flat, and you get the bonus of “stain glass” windows for a day or so. :o)

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